Societe Generale: investment bank moves to cloud 2.0

After a proof of concept, Societe Generale’s Corporate Banking and Investor Solutions Bank decided to embark on the creation of a Docker-oriented private cloud.

The Société Générale was present at the DockerCon Europe in Barcelona on 16 and 17 November. Sponsor of this second edition of the Docker client event on the Old Continent, the bank was the only actor outside the IT sector to hold a stand – alongside many partners of the US publisher. A way for the French group to highlight its interest in Docker’s innovations in the cloud. Is this surprising? Not that much, when we know the history of this bank on digital , and its policy of openness to the digital ecosystem for about two years. Organization of Hackathons, active contributions to technological meetups, involvement in several major meetings on digital ( Competition of the Best Dev of France , Devoxx, Cloud Computing World Expo) … Societe Generale’s participation in the DockerCon Europe is the last initiative of an already long list.

A Pock on Docker that proves conclusive

But behind the presence of Société Générale at the DockerCon Europe also hides, of course, an interest of the group, for Docker. A few months ago, a project of proof of concept (Poc) on this technology was initiated within its branch Large Client Bank and Investor Solutions (GBIS). Alongside the retail bank, it is one of the two main divisions of Société Générale. It includes the corporate and investment banking, asset management, private banking and investor services. “Our Poc on Docker was conclusive,” says Adrien Blind, DevOps coach & Disruptive agitator at GBIS, whom we met at the DockerCon.

Societe Generale stand on the exhibition area of ​​the DockerCon Europe 2015 which was held on November 16th and 17th in Barcelona. © JDN

During this phase of Poc, three cases of use of Docker were defined by the bank. First, this technology is identified as a lever to optimize continuous deployment. Because of its lightness, the container would allow GBIS to manage its production more quickly than conventional VMs. Second case of use in the line of sight of GBIS: the management of the climbs in charge. With its capacity to provision images almost on the fly, the container offers a level of efficiency on this ground, again, well above VM. “In a business environment like the financial markets, some applications have a fluctuating workload, so the size of their computing resources must be able to adapt dynamically throughout the day;

Towards a first Docker platform in production

As a result, the next challenge for GBIS is to build a Docker platform to internally host applications in production. To build such a private cloud, GBIS plans to use one of the flagship technologies positioned in this field. CloudFoundry and OpenShift (Red Hat) are examples. But GBIS will also have to deal with its existing. This division of Société Générale has indeed deployed a vast private cloud based on the VMware offer.

With Docker, the production and development teams will be able to speak the same language

At the same time, GBIS production and development teams will also have to tame Docker to make the most of the benefits. A small challenge in accompanying change. “It would be precisely the role of IT coaches, and especially our DevOps coaches, to deal with this issue,” continues Adrien Blind. “Before being coaches, they often have experience that is close enough to the professionals they now support, which gives them legitimacy, and allows them to speak the same language, using examples that speak to teams.”Finally, the containers could well contribute to move the GBIS continuous deployment process into a new era. Docker technology is a way to build a bridge between GBIS’s IT infrastructure management and application development activities. Missions currently assigned to two very different ISDs. “With Docker, it’s a new point of convergence that is emerging,” says Adrien Blind. Thus, the ISD in charge of the infrastructure could typically ultimately provide basic application images, no longer in the form of “code artefacts”, but containers … Containers on which the development teams could then carry the business applications.