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PPS continues to drive digital transformation with Kubernetes authentication implementation


Johannesburg, 10 Apr 2019
Read time 2min 30sec
Avsharn Bachoo, CTO at PPS.
Avsharn Bachoo, CTO at PPS.

Over the past 18 months, PPS has demonstrated a strong appetite for digital innovation and transformation by rebuilding the legacy enterprise platform of its decades-old insurance company and swiftly moving it to the cloud. As a result, the company is already far more responsive to customers' needs, more competitive in the industry, and has boosted sales.

In 2019, the organisation is certainly not resting on its laurels: PPS is now among the first in the world to move its access management and authentication processes from an on-premises device using Docker to the cloud-based Kubernetes container orchestration system. Sitting at the heart of smooth business operations, these authentication processes are used not just for employees, but also for PPS members.

"This is a brand new initiative which is cutting-edge globally, and it is certainly the first implementation in South Africa," says Avsharn Bachoo, CTO at PPS. "As with other experiences over the past year, there were no existing examples to learn from, so we are proud to be innovation pioneers in this space, together with our partners Siatik, Google, and 2T Consulting, in collaboration with Godonga Technologies and IBM."

Traditionally, most companies use Docker, which enables organisations to bring traditional and cloud native applications built on Windows Server, Linux and mainframe into an automated and secure supply chain. However, proponents of Kubernetes, an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerised applications, claim its benefits are much more advanced.

"Kubernetes is an orchestrator, which allows you to have an auto-scalable environment. If one of your resources runs out, Kubernetes automatically provides them, unlike Docker, and you can't have any shutdowns. Secondly, Kubernetes is also 'self-healing': it checks the health of its components at all times, and will fix issues on its own without any human manual intervention," reports Bachoo. "There are cost savings in terms of human resources and interventions, but also in terms of licensing."

"There is currently no existing documentation on how to configure Kubernetes in this new way, so we're excited to have been part of this implementation," says Brett St Clair, CEO at Siatik. "We had to build up the containers, manage this with Kubernetes and then manage the whole environment in the containers to get it up and running. This required close collaboration between multiple parties."

In terms of advice for other companies looking to adopt Kubernetes, Bachoo emphasises that a prerequisite for the adopting company is to have a clear directive and a progressive approach to cloud. In addition, he says: "There are few people around with this kind of knowledge or experience, so be sure to choose the best people to support your transition."

PPS

Founded in 1941, PPS is the largest mutual financial services company in South Africa. The 78-year-old insurance business migrated its enterprise platform to Google Cloud in under nine months, completely transforming the company while continuing to be a leading innovative South African insurance brand. PPS has more than 200 000 members who enjoy access to a comprehensive suite of financial and healthcare products that are tailored to meet the needs of graduate professionals. PPS is the largest South African company of its kind that still embraces an ethos of mutuality, which means it exists solely for the benefit of its members. Thus, PPS members with qualifying products share in the profits of PPS Insurance via annual allocations.

Siatik

Siatik is Africa's leading Google Cloud Platform Partner. Siatik focuses on migrating enterprises to Google Cloud. It is a specialist in Google's machine learning and big data when managing your data, and Google's IaaS and containerisation for your workloads. Siatik prides itself on its independent thinking, and its ability to make ideas a reality and to successfully realise its customers' vision. Siatik's customers span both the public and private sectors, and its engineers are regularly engaged in the media, retail, financial and technology industries.

Editorial contacts
PPS for Professionals Julie Taylor (076) 294 5332 julie@gunsandrain.com
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