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BelTech 2020: Cloud Native and what it means for business

  • A platform piece by Dr Peter Farrell, Technical Architect at Kainos Software

    Cloud nativity is not a checkbox for businesses interested in tech; rather, it is a broad range that covers the extent to which any organisation uses cloud services to improve their processes from cost and performance perspectives.

    Consider an organisation that deploys software to virtual machines running in the cloud. Previously, the same organisation deployed their software onto physical machines on their office premises. Are they cloud native?

    Well, yes. They have used cloud services to improve their business processes. They no longer have to physically maintain those servers - mechanical failures and the expense of secure server rooms are now no longer a concern.

    However, contrast the same organisation with one which deploys serverless architecture. The serverless business have all the benefits of the VM organisation and more - they do not need to install security patches, benefit from vast horizontal scale, and are only billed when their software runs.

    RELATED: BelTech 2020: Focus on cloud native computing, AI and cybersecurity

    Of course, not everyone can go straight to serverless. There may be significant engineering challenges in rearchitecting existing platforms, which require time, money, and upskilling in the necessary expertise. Travelling across our spectrum can appear to be a daunting task.

    I find the best approach to adopting the cloud is in small steps rather than giant leaps.
    An iterative approach whereby elements of solution architecture are swapped out with cloud services based on risk and value, and never biting off more than you can chew. Continuously improving your processes and lowering your running costs.

    BelTech 2020 is covering a range of topics in detail to help you think about many of the different ways your organization can harness the power of cloud technology to drive your business forward.

    RELATED: BelTech conference to go virtual for the first time and will be free to attend

    The first session of the software engineering track takes a look at the future of infrastructure - we would like you to consider what your organisation looks like in a post VM world. Speakers will laud and demystify topics you may have heard of, or even dismissed as “buzz words” - Kubernetes, Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Serverless architecture - outlining how to adopt and why you should do so. Each topic has its own space in the industry, meaning that your organisation has plenty of options to consider depending upon your needs and timeframe. The cloud is about much more than infrastructure though.

    Our second session outlines some of the vast array of services and tools the main cloud providers offer to empower developers, reducing the amount of bespoke code that needs to be written, or the need to integrate with third party components. Functionality such as optical character recognition (OCR) of documents or even speech recognition is now available on a pay as you go basis costing pennies to use - a decade ago this role would have been fulfilled by an off the shelf product with expensive licensing and support costs.

    The cloud is limitless.

    The final session of the software engineering track will discuss what fields of work are made accessible to us within cloud computing. We will dabble in artificial intelligence, the internet of things and quantum computing among other things. Future possibilities with cloud computing are not limited to what you are doing in the present.

    RELATED: Tech Craic: Tom Gray - BelTech 2020 and NI's tech sector

    BelTech 2020 is continuing virtually over four days, from today 22 June - 25 June. You can still register for free here

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