Advertising By 2024, global fintech turnover will reach 175 billion euros. 5000 new startups appear in the sphere every year.
Due to this competition, modern technologies are widely used in fintech. One such technology, app containerization, allows you to quickly test and launch new opportunities, grow and modernize services and platforms. But it also has a drawback: the split structure is more difficult to manage, which is critical for fintech apps. Fortunately, there is a solution and it’s called Kubernetes. In this article, we’ll tell you how it enables faster and easier development and how it helps improve and support fintech apps, with specific examples.
Why fintech companies are switching to containers
Containerization is a method of testing and launching separate elements of an app independently, through the core of the operating system. In a more traditional approach, hardware virtualization, development continues within virtual machines, each of which must emulate the virtual hardware and launch a separate operating system. Containers are better for businesses as they waste less production capacity and develop and test products faster.
Kubernetes is a software solution that provides automatic management of such containers. It allows the creation of deployment models, the simultaneous launch of containers on a large number of hosts, and groups them by logic, distributing the load among them. In addition, another important feature of Kubernetes is error tracking: when one of the containers stops working, it is automatically replaced with another and there are no errors in the functioning of the app.
How Kubernetes Simplifies the Work of Online Business and Fintech Startups
Due to its open source nature, Kubernetes quickly became popular with large organizations and projects. For example, in 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation was one of the first to use this platform instead of an internal container management system. Currently, Kubernetes is used by over 45% of companies. The convenience, speed and reliability of this solution have been appreciated by financial companies such as HSBC, Capital One, Monzo, Starling and ING. Let’s take a closer look at why large companies and fintech startups choose Kubernetes.
1. Data security and security operations
Security is particularly crucial for fintech companies as they store the most sensitive data of millions of users. Their protection is ensured by a package of measures, an important role that belongs to the distribution of system components in containers controlled by Kubernetes.
Here is an example of the Chinese fintech firm Ant Financial, which is based on one of the largest payment services in the world, Alipay. When it was necessary to move data from an outdated infrastructure to a new one, managers really started thinking about cybersecurity: during peak loads, the company processed over 250,000 transactions per second and stored payment data for 900 million users.
After studying different technologies, the company decided to develop a container-based platform and selected Kubernetes to manage it. This platform has simplified the processing of huge volumes of customer data and has enabled Ant Financial to implement the following security solutions:
- Real-time storage and processing of sensitive information, including fraud detection recommendations.
- Introduction of security policies at all levels: apps, intermediary software, operating systems and even chips.
“We are seeing at least a tenfold improvement in operations with this cloud technology,”, comments Haojie Hang, Ant Financial product manager. He says the company isn’t even interested in optimizing Kubernetes during the rapid growth phase.
Combined with cloud solutions, Kubernetes offers online business even more security and convenience. For example, the G-Core Labs cloud, along with virtual machines and Managed Kubernetes, offers flexible and efficient protection of servers, websites, apps and APIs from DDoS attacks, as well as a web application firewall. With its help, customers will be able to protect their products from app errors caused by intruders.
2. Automatic and secure resizing
Developing fintech apps requires rapid scaling as new customers and partners join them every day. And of course, it is also important to ensure the security of user data in the process.
Figo is the first European online platform for the standardization of banking services. In 2019 he partnered with Finreach Solutions to create a SaaS solution – an API platform for financial products. The company’s solution supports operations such as analyzing financial sources, transfers, bank data retrieval, checking the user’s account balance, and classifying transactions. Figo’s partner banks use the platform to automate the provision of services to their customers, as well as to verify their financial responsibility.
The platform was not well known in the beginning, but gradually many partners have joined it. This entails an extra hardware expense and technical limitations. To optimize his expenses, Figo decided to upgrade the IT infrastructure and move to the cluster architecture, with Kubernetes as the orchestrator.
The platform is now automatically scaled: Kubernetes loads the deployment templates. Meanwhile, user data is securely protected as Kubernetes uses secure connections between nodes.
3. Quick and economical operation of the apps
Fintech apps process thousands of trades per second, including transactions, credit scores, and user complaints. All these operations must be performed quickly and accurately. This becomes a real problem when it comes to the daily processing of millions of transactions. However, the American banking company Capital One has successfully handled this problem.
The company has already used the platform based on its test and development containers. For the efficient functioning of cloud apps that detect credit fraud and assess the creditworthiness of borrowers, the company has decided to automate the work with containers. A foolproof and efficient solution was needed, and it was Kubernetes.
“Kubernetes significantly improves productivity”, comments Keith Gasser, chief software engineer at Capital One. “Without this solution, our expenses on cloud services would be three or even four times higher. We have also reduced the time to market. Now, when a team of developers comes to us, we can launch their decision service within two weeks, whereas previously it took at least 3 months. “
4. No downtime and convenient interface
Financial apps need to run uninterrupted, even when developers are creating a new distribution. At the same time, specialists should also feel comfortable managing the platform.
Several years ago, the American financial firm Northwestern Mutual bought the fintech startup LearnVest and decided to merge their developments with the startup’s innovative platform. This proved to be quite difficult – the existing IT infrastructure was out of date, it took weeks to deploy the updates, and the entire development process had to be suspended for 6 hours every Sunday to monitor them. Furthermore, failures could arise at that time, which paralyzed the functioning of the apps for an even longer period.
“We needed to build a scalable but at the same time much more flexible platform, so that we could transfer data to the client’s website faster and to make sure our end users got what they expected.”says Brad Williams, Northwestern Mutual’s head of UX design.
Kubernetes enabled the team to create a cost-effective architecture, which became the basis for the self-employed teams that rapidly developed and continuously provided new solutions. Previously it could take weeks to deploy the infrastructure, and now it’s a matter of minutes. The number of deployments has grown dramatically – from 24 per year to over 500 in early 2017 alone. Additionally, the company has been able to eliminate downtime for development monitoring: Kubernetes now automatically displays faulty containers.
The convenience of Kubernetes can be experienced with G-Core-Labs: the management of virtual machines, platforms or other cloud products is done through a single dashboard or API. This helps customers avoid problems with isolated solutions and instead use a complex ecosystem of cloud services, ready for efficient and cost-effective operation.
5. Easier to develop, update and restore apps
Great fintech apps are developed by several developer teams at the same time and it is important that they are able to build and test their products independently of each other.
Chinese financial group CreditEase has grown so much over the past 12 years that it has felt an urgent need to modernize its apps. Previous solutions could not handle the current flow of information and were too complex to scale and develop further.
The company decided to move to the development of containerization. It worked, but the tens of thousands of containers in Credit Ease’s production environment needed a management system. For this, they used Kubernetes, which allowed the developers to save a lot of money.
To make it easier to update apps and roll them back to previous versions, CreditEase began packaging microservices and used Kubernetes. Thanks to this, the teams had the opportunity to introduce changes in their apps independently. Additionally, Kubernetes has eliminated downtime: Previously, the whole app could fail due to a small error in one part of the code, and now the platform automatically replaces the faulty container with another.
Managed Kubernetes from G-Core Labs is a reliable solution to simplify the development and maintenance of fintech apps. The company offers convenient setup and round-the-clock technical support, as well as attractive pricing. This solution enables container management by paying only for virtual machines, disks and load balancers.
Sponsored by G-Core Labs