Cloud computing – what are the technical requirements?
Whereas the previous blog articles on cloud computing focused on the pros and cons of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and the economic aspects of various potential billing models, this article examines cloud technology.
Cloud computing offers enormous flexibility
Cloud computing, the dynamic use of hardware and software solutions over the Internet, is a key stepping stone for insurers on their road to industrialising software operation and deployment. A well thought-out cloud strategy makes it possible to increase the productivity and efficiency of application development and operation. This requires both deployment and operation to be highly standardised and automated. The use of cloud services provides companies with great prefabrication and flexibility, because IT resources can be requested and approved speedily as needed. Additionally, legacy systems can be gradually modernised by moving the features of legacy applications into a modern cloud environment in stages.
Companies expect the cloud to deliver flexibly scalable, efficient and agile infrastructure, which will enable them to react to quickly changing requirements without delay. Yet the potential of cloud computing cannot be fully unlocked without a modern, integrated IT landscape. That is why msg insur:it provides cloud-based software solutions that are compatible with all environments. For instance, it has developed its policy management software msg.Life Factory in such a way that the standard application can be operated in various cloud scenarios (on premise, hyperscaler or hybrid cloud).
Cloud technology allows for automated software operation
The solution is based on a cloud-native approach, where the ‘twelve-factor app’ methodology (click here for more details) plays a key role, such as externalised configuration using environment variables, centralised login, DevOps processes and immutable deployment (keeping development, staging and production as similar as possible).
The application has been containerized and isolated with the standard container technology Docker so that everything needed to run the application is packaged in one container. With containerization, applications can be ‘docked’ with any environment. The containers are ready for operation in no time and easy to port because they contain the application and its entire application environment, so the application is able to run anywhere.
These ‘Docker containers’ are controlled and administrated via the open-source platform Kubernetes; a platform that automates the deployment, operation and scaling of containerized applications. It is even possible to isolate the software update process in containers and automate it through the Kubernetes platform. As such, msg insur:it has built a continuous delivery pipeline in a Kubernetes reference environment to ensure flawless and continuous cloud operation.
On premise or SaaS
The Kubernetes environment makes it possible to use the msg.Life Factory runtime on and off the premises. ‘On premise’ means that the policy management software is used on a server in an in-house computing centre or on a rented server. However, the same solution can still be operated on a public cloud provided by a major hyperscaler such as AWS, Google, IBM or Azure, or on a virtual private cloud (i.e. a private cloud environment within a public cloud). msg.Life Factory is already in use in both operating formats. All compliance requirements can be and are taken into account, with consideration for each operating model.
The msg.Life Factory runtime has also been enabled and optimised for operation on IBM Cloud and Open Shift. msg insur:it also provides the solution in the form of an SaaS model with usage-based pricing.
Cloud computing is enabling new business models
According to recent studies, cloud computing is making a significant contribution to the digitisation of companies overall, and is primarily considered an enabler of ecosystems and, in turn, new business models in this context. Cloud computing allows for integration on platforms and thus collaboration with a variety of partners. Entirely new products and services can be developed by combining various services within ecosystems.
msg insur:it provides a high-quality, professionalised, industrialised and standardised operating environment for software – one which is used all over the world and is extremely sophisticated. Insurers can take advantage of an immensely flexible operating environment based on the latest technology and proven methods, which promises to improve both productivity and efficiency – and, most importantly, guarantees high reliability. Thanks to this environment, the conditions are perfect for successful participation in digital ecosystems.