This article describes how Oracle Verrazzano is helping public sector organizations modernize their traditional services to run on a cloud native platform.
Public sector organizations often struggle to modernize services for a variety of reasons. One of the key challenges faced by the public sector is the sheer size and complexity of the systems that underlie the services, making it difficult to implement changes on a large scale.
These systems may have been in place for many years and have become deeply embedded in many organizations’ infrastructure and compliance requirements, which can make it difficult to modernize with new technologies. While these regulations are designed to safeguard the security and privacy of citizens’ data, they can also create significant barriers to innovation.
In addition, public sector organizations often face financial constraints that limit their ability to invest in new technologies and initiatives that could improve the delivery of services. As a result, modernizing services in the public sector often requires significant resources, careful planning, and collaboration between different stakeholders. This article explains how Oracle Verrazzano helps organizations overcome the challenges often seen in the public sector.
Rolling out new services quickly and securely
A new streamlined application that unifies the government’s service delivery ecosystem was developed in Helidon as a microservices architecture hosted on Kubernetes. By modernizing the welfare system with this new application, the customer can deliver new services from finance, banking, and insurance services to public welfare benefits, through one unified channel.
The customer learned that the approach they used in the management of traditional applications could not be used in a cloud native solution. Traditional application management involves centralized deployment of a monolith architecture, while microservices management involves smaller, decentralized deployments that require precise coordination across multiple microservices. As a result, managing microservices requires a new approach to application management and observability with tools for metrics and log collection. Some of the challenges the customer identified were:
Application Lifecycle Management: Microservices architecture is more complex than traditional monolith architecture. While microservices offer the benefits of independent deployment and scalability, they also created challenges for the customer in terms of service independencies and versioning. The customer had to carefully manage the microservices to help ensure the correct functioning of the overall system. This required additional effort in managing multiple services, overseeing their deployment, and scaling operations.
Monitoring and Logging: With multiple microservices running independently, monitoring and logging can be challenging – especially when different logging frameworks or monitoring tools are used in different services. It was important to have a proper monitoring and logging mechanism in place to identify and resolve issues quickly.
Service Discovery: In a microservices architecture, services can be added or removed dynamically. Keeping track of service availability and location can be challenging and had resulted in issues with service discovery.
Security: Due to the distributed nature of microservices architecture, securing each service and communication between them posed a significant challenge. It was crucial to implement access controls, authentication, and authorization to guarantee the overall security of the system.
The customer initially considered building their own container management platform with a complex stack of tools for managing and monitoring microservices across multiple Kubernetes clusters. But this required a lot of effort with integration and maintenance, which can be costly and time consuming. As a result, the customer searched for a complete solution leveraging the best-of-breed tools for application lifecycle management and observability of microservices. They also wanted a solution built from open source technologies to avoid lock-in.
After evaluating multiple container technologies, the customer quickly realized that Oracle Verrazzano delivers a full container management platform with improved security, management, monitoring, performance, and availability out of the box.
With Oracle’s help, the customer succeeded in modernizing their welfare system and adopted Oracle Verrazzano as its container management platform. The new welfare system runs as Helidon microservices, which are made available through APIs and consumed through an Istio API gateway. A user can now access multiple services from a desktop browser or from a mobile application through a single Istio gateway that comes with Oracle Verrazzano. Istio is also used to manage traffic flow between services, enforce access policies, and aggregate telemetry, all without requiring changes to application code.
Specific benefits gained
According to the customer, the benefits they have gained from Oracle Verrazzano are:
Improved management, deployment, and monitoring: Oracle Verrazzano offered an agile platform to manage applications and services. The customer was particularly pleased with the integration of Rancher as a Kubernetes management platform for streamlining their application lifecycle management. The platform’s built-in observability using Prometheus and OpenSearch allowed them to easily monitor the health and performance of their applications. The simplified installation process of the Oracle Verrazzano stack of components and unified upgrade made managing the whole container platform much easier.
Improved security for application and services: The customer was impressed by Oracle Verrazzano’s out-of-the-box integration, open source stack of components, and the tight integration with Istio for ease of access to services and securing those services. Through Istio, the customer was able to create security policies and a single URL for accessing the welfare services instead of using multiple different URLs.
Improved efficiency, performance, and availability: With Oracle Verrazzano, the customer was able to roll out new benefits or schemes quickly and independently without affecting other modules. They found they could auto scale up or down based on demand, helping to ensure applications remain running and available. The customer has also embraced Jaeger, a component of Oracle Verrazzano that traces transactions between services and helps with troubleshooting microservices. This enabled them to identify performance bottlenecks and optimize the performance of their welfare system.
Writing code rather than managing infrastructure
In summary, Oracle Verrazzano was instrumental in the success of modernizing the welfare system by providing a unified platform to manage and deploy containerized applications. The platform enabled the customer to easily adopt a microservices architecture and leverage the scalability and agility of containers. Oracle Verrazzano’s automated deployment and scaling capabilities allowed the customer’s developers to focus on writing code rather than managing infrastructure.
Oracle Verrazzano’s extensibility and customizability allowed the customer to tailor it to their specific needs and requirements. This enabled the customer to better serve their residents and deliver a much improved user experience.
Riding on the success of the initial deployment, this customer is looking to expand the adoption of Oracle Verrazzano in other projects within the government. They are also looking to explore other Oracle Verrazzano capabilities such as integrating with popular development tools like GitLab and Jenkins for a virtually seamless development and deployment pipeline, or simply turning on Argo CD for continuous deployment.
The challenges this customer faced are not unique, and they apply not only to customers in the public sector but also private sectors. Oracle Verrazzano can help address cloud native challenges across industries.