The Accenture Cloud Platform Serverless Journey

Last week at AWS ReInvent, my team presented the architecture of the next generation of the Accenture Cloud Platform which uses a serverless approach.

We started this journey November of last year to solve a set of business challenges which are common to any product group in a large enterprise faced with a fast growing market disruption like cloud.

  1. Speed.  Given how quickly cloud services are evolving the challenge we faced was how to add support and management to these services at speed.  Our traditional approach meant falling further behind every day; AWS claims they are adding three major features a day.
  2. Budget. While cloud services are growing at very high rates, our engineering budget will not grow. We needed to have a way to disconnect cloud growth from cost growth. The only way to do that is to create a true platform that allows other  members of our ecosystem to serve themselves and others. Think of it as Tom Sawyer getting other kids to paint the fence, but in a win-win approach.
  3. Commercial alignment to market needs. It’s no secret that customers want everything as a service and to pay on a unit consumption basis. The challenge is the number “units” of measure is growing rapidly.  Serverless allows us to dial the unit of consumption all the way down to a specific customer function, like “update CMDB” or “put a server to sleep”.  And it’s done at a prices that are fractions of a penny.

As I said to address the speed and budget challenges, we created an architecture that provides room for third-parties to add features and interfaces without needing our team to be involved.  We defined three speeds of delivery and created rings. In ring zero we deploy code multiple times per day and it’s where core multi-sided, multi-tenant platform lives.

In ring one, we bring features out on a monthly basis.  A different engineering creates the standard features and functions users of ACP “see”.

And in ring two is where client projects live. ACP is a platform that can be extended, integrated and tailored for specific customer uses. Besides generic cloud management, it’s always necessary to stich together both new and existing operational models. Roles, access, systems, services, etc all have to be integrated into one control plane to effectively use cloud at scale. Most one-app startups stitch their own; enterprises have literally thousands of apps so we offer our own ready-to-go platform, delivered as a service.

These projects have their own time frames. It’s here that our ACP serverless architecture delivers the greatest value. If a client needs a new service x managed, a simple guide and set of API’s enables our consultants to extend the platform in a secure, stable and supportable manner.

To be clear, ACP is a large platform. There are components that are traditional three-tier apps and others are commercial products.  Our journey is about the components we build to make ACP be a platform.

I suggest you watch the video.  My colleague Tom does a brilliant job

Accenture Cloud Platform Serverless Journey

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