Bringing Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) to the Federal Government & Beyond

August 20, 2020

NewWave and Kubernetes: Becoming the Azure Helmsman at the Federal Department of Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: NewWave offers Kubernetes-as-a-Service (KaaS) to provide you with ongoing support for planning, deploying, and managing your Kubernetes initiatives.

Kubernetes is Greek for “helmsman” or “pilot” or “governor” and this appropriately describes the emergent role NewWave is playing in the deployment of Azure for the federal government. Our Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) capability has been showcased in the largest instance of Azure on the civilian side the U.S. federal government.

What have we accomplished:

  • NewWave created the path for Microsoft Azure for Government (MAG) at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
    • First to Cloud Optimize workloads across multiple programs (utilizing PaaS/SaaS, microservice and serverless architecture) at CMS in MAG
  • NewWave is the main driver behind bringing in Databricks (as a Managed Service), as well as Snowflake & Looker, into Microsoft Azure Government (MAG) cloud
    • We worked closely with Microsoft & each product vendor partner to ensure the tools are ready in MAG on time for CMMI Enterprise Data Management Platform (EDMP)
    • Showcased thought leaders in big data & AI
  • Developed the Security and Architectural framework for the MAG at CMS
    • Assisted Microsoft in getting its Azure services FedRAMP’d in CMS MAG
  • Successful track record of DevOps implementation across multiple customers using Azure DevOps for Agile Planning, CI/CD to AKS, Source Control & Artifacts Management in the Azure Commercial Cloud
  • Successful migration of multiple commercial customers from other collaborative platforms into Microsoft 365.

NewWave has achieved this success as Microsoft’s Trusted Federal Partner with five Gold Competencies (Cloud Platform, DevOps, Data Analytics, Datacenter & App Development) and two Silver Competencies (Cloud Productivity & Security). In addition, we are also Microsoft’s Azure Gov CSP & Manager Partner.

Additionally, we achieved this with our established AKS, fully leveraging the open-source managed container orchestration capability that allows us to deploy, scale and manage Docker containers and container-based applications in the complex cluster environment of the Azure for Government Cloud.

We have used AKS for provisioning, scaling, and upgrading the resources of the federal government precisely because they did not bring deep knowledge and expertise in container orchestration but needed that capability.

NewWave’s Azure Kubernetes Service Benefits to the Federal Government

  • Efficient resource utilization: The fully managed AKS offers easy deployment and management of containerized applications with efficient resource utilization to elastically provision additional resources without the headache of managing the Kubernetes infrastructure.
  • Faster application development: Developers can spend most of their time on bug-fixing. AKS reduces the debugging time while handling patching, auto-upgrades, self-healing and simplifying the container orchestration. It saves a lot of time, so developers can focus more time on developing their apps and be even more productive.
  • Security and compliance: Cybersecurity is one of the most important aspects of modern applications and businesses. AKS integrates with Azure Active Directory (AD) and offers on-demand access to the users to greatly reduce threats and risks. AKS is also completely compliant with the standards and regulatory requirements such as System and Organization Controls (SOC), HIPAA, ISO, and PCI DSS.
  • Quicker development and integration: Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) supports auto-upgrades, monitoring, and scaling and helps in minimizing the infrastructure maintenance which leads to comparatively faster development and integration. It also supports provisioning additional compute resources in Serverless Kubernetes within seconds without worrying about managing the Kubernetes infrastructure.

NewWave Azure Kubernetes Service Use Cases

  • Migration of existing applications: You can easily migrate existing apps to containers and run them with Azure Kubernetes Service. You can also control access via Azure AD integration and SLA-based Azure Services like Azure Database using Open Service Broker for Azure (OSBA).
  • Simplifying the configuration and management of microservices-based Apps: You can also simplify the development and management of microservices-based apps as well as streamline load balancing, horizontal scaling, self-healing, and secret management with AKS.
  • Bringing DevOps and Kubernetes together: AKS is also a reliable resource to bring Kubernetes and DevOps together for securing DevOps implementation with Kubernetes. Bringing both together, it improves the security and speed of the development process with Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) with dynamic policy controls.
  • Ease of scaling: AKS can also be applied in many other use cases such as ease of scaling by using Azure Container Instances (ACI) and AKS. By doing this, you can use AKS virtual node to provision pods inside Azure Container Instance (ACI) that start within a few seconds and enables AKS to run with required resources. If your AKS cluster is run out of resources, if will scale-out additional pods automatically without any additional servers to manage in the Kubernetes environment.
  • Data streaming: AKS can also be used to ingest and process real-time data streams with data points via sensors and perform quick analysis.

NewWave’s AKS Value Proposition: The Helmsman of Azure Success

NewWave is the partner that can modernize any application to make the most of the Azure cloud, or modernize your infrastructure using technologies like Azure DevOps, GitHub or AKS. We are here to help. A typical NewWave Kubernetes deployment on Azure includes the following services:

  • Full landing zone deployment (VPCs, subnets, security groups, routing rules, NACLs, etc.)
  • Enforcing authentication best practice for AKS Deployment by enabling Role Based Access Control (RBAC) with Azure Active Directory (AAD)
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC) using Azure BluePrints and/or Terraform
  • Customized Kubernetes cluster on AKS
  • Pod and cluster auto-scaling configuration
  • Automated DNS configuration based on deployment settings
  • Automated certificates for every endpoint
  • Automated Health Check enablement in AKS through deployment files
  • Secure secrets management using Azure Key Vault
  • Automated deployments using Azure DevOps Pipelines and/or Jenkins
  • Azure Monitor for cluster monitoring in PROD environment(s) & Prometheus and Grafana for lower environments.
  • Docker image scanning and security on Azure Container Registry (ACR)
  • Enhanced Security by automating Docker Image retrieval from Azure Container Registry (ACR) to Azure Kubernetes service (AKS) using secret authentication
  • Sample deployment manifests

Our clients have seen remarkable results in speed, flexibility, security, and cost management from their use of containerized microservices on Kubernetes. Let’s give it a try for your organization. We believe that once you experience the benefits of Kubernetes yourself in your first deployment with NewWave, you will want to do it again for other segments of your environment or new initiatives.

NewWave offers Kubernetes-as-a-Service (KaaS) to provide you with ongoing support for planning, deploying and managing your Kubernetes initiatives. Eliminate the learning curve and avoid pitfalls by injecting our experience into your engineering team.

Vignesh Rajan

Vignesh Rajan

Vice President, Engineering & Microsoft Solutions

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