AWS Developer Acceleration (DevAx) enablement program

Bringing cloud native concepts through DevAx to accelerate cloud journey for Big Red Group

DNX Solutions delivered the AWS Developer Acceleration (DevAx) enablement program to Big Red Group (BRG). The program is aimed at increasing the customers’ developer skills for cloud adoption and building developer cloud native fluency across their organisation. A major focus of AWS DevAx is the developer patterns and practices of modernisation and distributed system design, to break down and rearchitect monolithic application architectures.

The DNX team delivered the AWS DevAx enablement as a structured program by running a structured enablement program, working directly with BRG’s development teams for six weeks. A comprehensive curriculum taught through workshops and co-development sessions resulted in the upskilling of BRG’s internal development community.

What is the “Monoliths To Microservices” Program?

The migration from a monolithic architecture to microservices requires both a willingness on the part of the developer and the business as a whole, as well as a thorough understanding of the way in which architectures such as microservices design patterns can be used and the tools that can be utilised in order to deploy them.

The AWS DevAx “Monoliths to Microservices” program aims to increase developers’ knowledge and experience in distributed system design patterns, or to assist developers in gaining more experience in developing on AWS in general. The program takes a theory and patterns-first approach, then introduces the AWS developer tools. It, therefore, targets experienced developers looking to increase their skills, which perfectly reflects the BRG team that undertook the program with DNX Solutions.

Over the 6 weeks that DNX delivered the program, BRG developers started with a Java Springboot Monolith with a large RDBMS backend and methodically broke the monolith into a series of decoupled microservices. The DNX team rehosted the application in AWS, and then refactored the application architecture to utilise application release automation, bounded context based microservices, refactor and rearchitect the databases, implement an event driven system, implement authentication and authorisation systems, and create AI driven services. 

Topics like microservices security best practices are covered as a cross-cutting topic across all modules.

  • Module 1: Lift & Shift – Migrating The Monolith
  • Module 2: Application Release Automation
  • Module 3: Create a Microservice
  • Module 4: Refactor Your Database
  • Module 5: Microservices Decoupled Eventing & Messaging Architectures
  • Module 6: Creating an Authenticated Single Page App
  • Module 7: Creating Immersive AI Experiences

What is the value of the AWS DevAx program to BRG?

The DevAx enablement contributed to a mindset shift in the BRG Java developers, where they received the knowledge and tools required to alter their way of working from monolithic applications to a microservices-based architecture. This gave them the chance to understand the new technology, the different opportunities it provides and why it is worth adopting. For a company that is dealing with multiple brands all with unique infrastructures and functionalities, merging the data was a mammoth task that required an open-minded and educated developer team. As stated by the BRG Head of Engineering, this complexity is the reason “Devax Academy was extremely important in changing our team’s mindset, encouraging them to get involved with the project”. In addition, the deep understanding and insight into the patterns BRG’s teams need to break the monolithic across different types of architectures at speed will allow developers to reuse those same patterns in the future.

To move from monolith to microservices was a breakthrough for BRG. By moving away from long-running environments and drastically altering the development life cycle, teams can begin doing development with whatever the code repository is, allowing developers to spin up the environments. In addition, the cost of non-production is massively decreased by maintaining production and changing non-production as development is undertaken. In BRG’s case, the new confidence in breaking up and re-architecting monolithic applications that cannot be easily rehosted in the cloud has opened up many more doors, such as making it possible for them to build a secure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) that is simple to use and maintain. An additional benefit of microservices is the ability to implement Straight-Through Processing (STP). STP uses automation to increase the speed of financial transactions, which not only simplifies financial processes but its implementation at BRG has also saved them a huge amount in operational expenditure.

Upon completion of the program, the BRG team had gained a thorough foundation of knowledge and insight, meaning they are not only willing but also able, to strive for continual improvement. These benefits are just some of those gained by BRG due to the move from monolith to microservice technology, all of which can be achieved by any business willing to commit to the change.

DNX Solutions values sharing knowledge and is proud to be able to deliver comprehensive programs through the AWS DevAx enablement. For businesses that want to take control of their assets without having to rely on external resources, completing enablement through DevAx is a straightforward and valuable way to increase in-house skills. To see how your business can benefit from this program, contact DNX today.

DevOps is contributing to CreditorWatch’s Digital Transformation

How DevOps is contributing to CreditorWatch’s Digital Transformation

We live in a Digitally Transformed world where technology allows new forms of work in a rapidly changing environment. Traditional businesses are challenged by start-ups and tech companies with innovative and disrupting business models. New apps and services are created and become obsolete in the blink of an eye.

The traditional development, test, production, and operation models no longer serve our high-speed, connected world, but rather create bottlenecks and friction between departments. Each of the technology areas ends up becoming a silo with strict interaction rules.

On one side of the ring, we have development, trying to answer in the best and fastest way it can through the use of business insights, agile methodologies, and modern architectures and languages. In the other corner, there is IT operations, on a quest for stability and control of the production environments. IT operations is tasked with creating processes and procedures to ensure that every piece of released code is stable enough to avoid incidents, all the while continuing to protect what is already running.

And between them? A huge abyss. This distance separating Development and Operations results in clashes, increasing the time for delivery and problem resolution.

To reduce the friction and allow business ideas to become features to service consumers, the DevOps concept was forged around 2010. It is a concept that continues to grow and, in recent years, has begun changing the IT landscape.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is work culture, bringing software development closer to IT operations, allowing the business as a whole to reap the rewards of collaboration.

DevOps is not a methodology or a tool, but a set of practices built on automation, communication and shared objectives, changing organisational cultures to bring to life a new way to deliver IT. DevOps includes the whole Design, Build and Operate IT lifecycle, unifying these processes with governance and security serving as its basis, sewed up with automation, and an agile way of working.

How is DNX assisting CreditorWatch to evolve and implement a DevOps culture?

All DNX projects use DevOps practices, which provides us the ability to deliver higher quality solutions to clients, with faster and continuous delivery.

Clients are often so impressed by these results that they wish to deliver the same level of quality, knowledge, and efficiency to their own clients.

After completing a successful data modernisation project with DNX, CreditorWatch wanted to continue its digital transformation by implementing a DevOps culture in its IT operations. The DNX professional services team delivered a series of hands-on workshops where developers learned about configuration management, infrastructure as a code, and the whys of the platform. This gives developers the ability to transform into a DevOps team.

The learning curve is decreased considerably through DNX’s pattern and template creation, allowing CreditorWatch’s developer team to recreate their own means to act as a platform.

What is CreditorWatch obtaining with its Digital Transformation?

By adopting DevOps practices, CreditorWatch, represented by its CTO Joseph Vartuli, is building a culture of shared responsibility, transparency, and faster feedback as the foundation of every product and feature developed by its team. This gives them:

  • Increased competitive advantage
  • Decreased risks 
  • Decreased costs
  • Continuous delivery and deployment

Continuous delivery is an ongoing DevOps practice of building, testing, and delivering improvements to software code and user environments with the help of automated tools. The key outcome of the continuous delivery (CD) paradigm is code that is always in a deployable state.

  • Reduced downtime
  • Reduced time to market
  • Increased employee engagement and satisfaction, through the use of the latest technologies

Adopting a DevOps work culture means different teams within the business collaborate in order to reach a shared goal. Products and services are delivered to your end users at a faster rate with a higher level of quality. As technology becomes integrated with every aspect of our lives, work silos only get in the way. Just like CreditorWatch, you too can benefit from DevOps practices, transporting your business to the future.

The Unique Value DNX brought to the CreditorWatch Project

DNX Solutions utilised its knowledge on DevOps, Cloud, data, and Software Engineering to provide CreditorWatch with a secure environment that continually meets ISO and other compliance standards. The diversity of experience integrated within the DNX team allowed for instant identification of areas for improvement in CreditorWatch’s systems. In addition, DNX assisted CreditorWatch in bringing about a cultural change by transferring its DevOps mindset approach. Not only was the goal of agility and efficiency reached by the close of the project, but significant storage cost reductions were made enabling CreditorWatch to compete to a higher standard and continue to expand.

How to Attract and retain IT Personnel

How to Attract and Retain IT Personnel

Attract and Retain IT Personnel

Finding and retaining IT personnel can be challenging. Tech companies are the new black, and everyone is always on the lookout for the next big thing. The tech industry is constantly changing, meaning you not only need an employee who is competent and has the right skills for the job, but you also need someone adaptable. On top of a very specific skill set, you’re searching for the right fit for your team. Often, after a long but successful search, your IT personnel up and leave as they get a better offer. Now you are back at square one. If you’re not in Silicon Valley you may feel as though the best talents are passing you by, so how can you make your company more attractive to IT personnel, and furthermore, how can you keep them interested? Read on to learn what attracts and retains talent in tech.

First and foremost, technology professionals care about technology

The majority of people who choose technology as a profession, do so because they love it. IT professionals are passionate about their work and they are looking for ways to advance technology usage and types. Passion results in high levels of knowledge and curious minds that never stop researching. For this reason, IT personnel want to know what they will be working with, and how the company will react to new technologies and software as they are developed. By having a detailed technology roadmap in place you can entice IT personnel to take an interest in your business. A roadmap that is up-to-date, data-driven and forward-facing is what will catch the eye of professionals. If your software is behind the times you would benefit from planning to modernise your data. Outdated technology is difficult to upgrade and unable to meet modern day standards. If you are running an old version of .NET or Java, for example, you are unlikely to attract the IT professionals of the future. There is nothing more unattractive than a tech company plagued by inertia. By modernising your data and having a solid roadmap in place you can show the tech community that you are heading in the right direction. It isn’t too late, but if you don’t make the move soon, it may be. Aside from general enquiries, IT professionals may come to interviews with specific questions, and the more specific you can be when answering the more they will know you care about technology too.

Who is interviewing who?

IT personnel face no shortage of job opportunities. When interviewing someone for a tech position in your company, you may see the tables turn and find yourself on the receiving end. Preparing answers to the questions interviewees are likely to ask will give them faith in you and your business. Here are a few questions that an experience IT professional may throw your way:

  • What’s your current tech stack?
  • What are your policies on updating and using current and modern technologies?
  • How do you keep your technology updated?
  • How do you release new versions?
  • How do you adopt new versions?
  • How do you test new possibilities?


Be specific. Ensure you have someone knowledgeable on the panel who can answer these questions with confidence. Having the CTO available to outline the roadmap and dive deep into the softwares used, may win over the candidate. In addition, by letting it be known which softwares and programs you use, you may attract more tech talents who like working with that particular technology.

Catching it and keeping it are two different things.

So having an up-to-date roadmap and modernised data is a way of attracting tech talent into your business, but how do you hold on to them with the ever-present threat of tech giants peeking over your shoulders?

IT professionals are some of the most innovative minds of our times. They like to stay stimulated and they like to move forward. If you want to retain IT personnel, you have to make sure they are being rewarded with more than just a good salary. Empower your employees by embracing a learning environment: invest in education and hands-on training opportunities. Give employees the option of focussing on what interests them and play to their strengths. If an employee is keen to study machine learning, find out if there is room for machine learning in your business and implement it. This way not only are you supporting the growth of your employee but you will likely benefit from what they learn. In addition, consider including your IT personnel in the development or revision of your technology roadmap. Put them on the team and incorporate their insights, allowing them to see that their inputs are valued. Professionals are more likely to stay on a project where they feel they have some ownership. Professionals who are new to your team are also likely to have an idea of what competitors are doing, which is important to know. Using tools such as Tech Radar provides insight into which technology the community is currently excited about and what is on its way out.

We can forecast, but we’re not fortune tellers!

It is true that technology can be unpredictable. There are plenty of examples in recent history where hindsight has taught us a thing or two. Remember when Blockbuster laughed in Netflix’s face at the suggestion of buying them out? Um, does anyone even remember Blockbuster at all? We rest our case: technology can be tricky. There is always a gamble in the future of tech, and not every business is going to get it right. There are entire organisations that can crash simply because of a new technology that disrupted the industry and made certain products or services obsolete. The important thing is to always be prepared as you can be, be agile and flexible. Value the input of your IT professionals and be willing to consider all options. Don’t walk among the dinosaurs, soar among the stars.

Need a technology professional, but don’t work in a technology company? We have news for you.

Technology companies are no longer restricted to technology companies. What? Let us explain. Just because your company is not categorised as being in the technology industry does not mean you are exempt from needing a technological roadmap and structured tech activities. In this day and age, technology is integral to everything we do. The agriculture industry utilises IoT devices and drones undertaking recognition via GPS; the energy industry provides homes with smart meters showing real-time measurements; even the CEO of General Motors referred to GM as a software company for cars back in 2013. If you need to hire an IT professional, you need to consider yourself a technology company.

Know your target.

In conclusion, to attract and retain IT personnel, you need to know what they want. You must understand their desire for advanced technology, a culture of agility, and a learning environment, and then you must implement it. Make your company a place where people can grow so they don’t feel the urge to find growth elsewhere.

DNX has the solutions and experience you need. Contact us today for a blueprint of your journey towards data security.