Delivering a container platform on EKS

About

  • A fintech startup that offers banks a cloud-based platform to integrate value-added services seamlessly into a single merchant offering.
  • The first Australian fintech that has developed a proven bank grade platform, running at scale, honed through its partnership in Australia with Westpac.

mx51 is seeking global growth through offshore bank partnership opportunities, while also continuing to enhance its products and services to deliver a market-leading merchant experience and deepen relationships with Point of Sale (POS) partners onshore.

Overview

  • Delivered a new PCI compliant container platform to uplift internal capabilities for faster, safer, cost efficient application release, supporting mx51 to expand its presence in market
  • Project delivered within two-month window; business as usual operations maintained

mx51’s legacy environment was not able to meet the growing demands of the business. Load balancing was complicated and did not provide complete situational coverage. Updating infrastructure was a tedious process and only centred on AWS services. The company was also de-merging, creating an opportunity to rebuild infrastructure from scratch.

After vetting multiple vendors, mx51 appointed CMD Solutions to deliver a container platform on EKS with best practice tooling and application release management.

The challenge

The platform needed to address five core business requirements:

  • Portability – flexibility to take the platform to different banks
  • Cost – ability to scale and up and down in a regular manner and better manage costs accordingly
  • Hiring – latest and greatest tooling to attract the best developers and engineers
  • Seamless communication between clusters – PCI compliance requires multiple clusters; smooth communication between applications running across clusters is essential
  • Resilience – flexibility around application updates, termination, etc.

The solution

mx51 engaged CMD to partner with their team on the build and configuration of a modern container platform based on AWS EKS to provide mx51 with a scalable, secure and automated platform to enable business growth. Features included:

  • Multiple environments to follow a deployment lifecycle
  • Zero downtime releases for application containers
  • Security ingrained into the platform to facilitate PCI compliance
  • Infrastructure deployed and managed as code
  • Infrastructure deployment orchestration and automation via Terragrunt and Azure DevOps pipelines
  • Operational visibility to both infrastructure and application components
  • Built-in autoscaling in workloads to dynamically respond to end-user demand
  • Service Mesh implementation to deliver mTLS and load balancing within cluster

Services deployed

  • AWS organisation and accounts as code
  • Kubernetes
  • Terraform
  • Terragrunt
  • Github + Azure Devops Pipelines

The mx51 technical team was brought along for the journey to ensure complete knowledge transfer and hand over at the completion of the project.

“We are different to the average company who wants help in IT. We are highly technical with exceptional engineers. We needed to supplement that bandwidth and subject matter expertise. CMD ‘bootstrapped’ our knowledge so we could run with it ourselves.” – Steven Hadley, CPO, mx51

The result

mx51 was able to take full ownership of the new container platform within two months, including the discovery program of work and prototype testing.

mx51 has achieved:

  • Zero downtime releases – application roll out reduced from 20 minutes to 1 minute
  • Push code and features all day, every day
  • Complete automation in the roll out of white label accounts – infrastructure provisioning reduced from several days to one day
  • Improved developer experience – DevOps now a company-wide, rather than specialist, capability
  • Cost savings – agile, scalable system to expand faster and cheaply

mx51 can now pursue different markets around the globe with confidence. The company is deploying products and services cost-effectively and at speed, with flexibility to support multiple cloud providers.