A Low-Code, No-Code Platform Approach from Virtusa for App Modernization and Engineering Optimization on AWS

A Low-Code, No-Code Platform Approach from Virtusa for App Modernization and Engineering Optimization on AWS

By Kalyan Kuppuswamy, Sr. Director Technology – Virtusa
By Hussain Shabbir, AWS CoE Lead and Sr. Director – Virtusa
By Néstor Gándara, Principal Partner SA – AWS

Virtusa

One of the key objectives of any transformation program is to find a novel way to achieve results in the shortest possible time, with speed and accuracy. Significant opportunities exist in application modernization and cloud-based deployments to infuse efficiencies.

Digital transformation looks to automate tasks at an unprecedented scale and reach. Across verticals, organizations face challenges from competitors and these challenges necessitate a response, both agile and smart.

In the current transformation landscape, legacy applications challenge the emerging demand of omnichannel customer experiences. They are prime targets for global companies that need to modernize. As developing countries drive inclusive growth by embracing non-digital business activities into the mainstream, they feel increasing pressure to refactor their existing technology landscape.

Machine-generated engineering assets, in the form of a low-code/no-code (LCNC) capsule, meet those needs. They are a must-have for IT departments looking to satisfy their companies’ demands for on-time deployment. Customers want a significant reduction in DevOps cycle time, with elevated diagnostic and triaging capabilities that reduce system downtime.

Companies may have other digital transformation requirements. A technological shift may inspire further modernization, perhaps in the discontinuation of frontend desktop application software from OEM support. Thus, LCNC takes center stage in any application modernization and cloud-led transformation pursuit of customers.

Virtusa Corporation has been doing lot of work in the automation-led transformation space and has collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help realize business benefits for customers across globe. Virtusa is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and global provider of digital business strategy, engineering, and IT services and solutions.

Virtusa’s Perspectives

This post is intended to share Virtusa’s perspectives on the low-code/no-code approach and to talk through a homegrown LCNC solution framework called FAST (Framework Assisted System Templates), which is a templatized method to put engineering on fast track.

Transformative endeavors in modernization and cloud-powered deployments can challenge the engineering community with repetitive efforts that have common patterns across frontend user interface (UI) and server-side backends. These are the areas of interest for FAST to bring in disruptive benefits in terms of eliminating mundane tasks, thus saving time, effort, and cost.

While the need for modernized legacy applications is felt across industries, verticals that engage customers more frequently will have amplified transformation needs. Banking and financial services companies, for example, want to engage customers with omnichannel touchpoints while also fast-tracking the modernization of internal downstream applications to meet the demands of customer experiences.

LCNC strategies are becoming the keystones of transformation journeys. These strategies must have a commitment at the executive level and deploy a top-down approach that democratizes grassroots-level adoption.

Solution providers should offer appropriate interfaces to help the developer community use the services through “extensions” or command line interfaces (CLIs). The tools must also engage with DevOps custodians by facilitating an API-driven interface with continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) and other custom-made deployment capabilities.

An intriguing aspect of LCNC platforms is that sources can guide the generation of code and related engineering artifacts in an automated fashion. For instance, in a modernization effort that addresses legacy systems, a metadata-driven LCNC strategy is ideal for customers, as it reduces human intervention and helps achieve “near-total” automation.

A guided approach that uses metadata empowers cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to learn from the source system at depth and identify reusable and redundant pieces of code, which otherwise could infect the target ecosystem.

Therefore, any legacy modernization should begin with the metadata-led discovery and assessment of the source landscape, as it has may have been many decades since the applications were built. This scenario would result in the lack of documentation and a shortage of legacy-system knowledge, as many subject matter experts are retired or nearly retired.

With most industry verticals that are highly regulated, compliance requirements necessitate an audit trail and traceability for business application deployment and management. The tool should facilitate traceability between change managements and track the history by providing excellent audit-trail capabilities.

A LCNC overhaul should not be limited to UI, backend, microservices, and other API-based server-end engineering needs. It must also mature and embrace different technology landscapes in an enterprise. For example, companies should consider areas of SQL/PLSQL generation to be extensions of the LCNC pursuit of application modernization. SQL/PLSQL automation will have a positive blanket effect across the database layer.

Investments in LCNC platforms are already yielding dividends. Industries are aligned with these efforts, evidenced by customers looking for differentiators in the market.

Virtusa’s Approach to LCNC Platforms

Virtusa has made significant strides in maximizing the impact of low-code/no-code platforms to accelerate digital transformation and related cloud initiatives. Today, automation-driven optimization is widespread across various engineering efforts.

Driving principles of Virtusa’s LCNC strategy include:

  • Left-shift development for technology-specific best practices and code consistency to reduce technical debt.
  • Stable, tested, and bug-free code that works the first time, with minimal errors.
  • Increased reliability of auto-generated assets.
  • Attention to building business logic.
  • Template-based development approach.
  • Embracing newer technologies by spending relatively less time on learning and adaptation.
  • Democratization of platforms to create greater consumption and engineering harmony.
  • Mash-up engineering methodology up front in the design phase itself, with a well-thought-out left-shift approach.
  • Maximized utilization of junior talent and reduced dependency on the skillset of experienced senior team members.

Intangible benefits that emerge from this approach include savings of cost, time, and effort when identifying and troubleshooting issues. The approach also increases adherence to internal IT security policies, procedures, and governance measures.

Virtusa built a robust LCNC platform called FAST as a disruptive means of optimizing application development. It’s a novel way to accelerate engineering via code automation at the client and server sides, whether through a UI or app modernization effort or an engineering orchestration on the cloud.

Virtusa collaborated with AWS to offer modernization and cloud implementation services, using FAST as its propellant. The LCNC platform is structured to suit customers’ changing needs during the development lifecycle, and the AWS suite has been provisioned to enable the democratization of LCNC across enterprises.

The FAST solution provides CLI and visual studio code extension interfaces for effective use of the platform.

Reference Architecture

The metadata from source systems is fed to FAST automation framework in the form of project templates, components and configurations. Using its DSL engine, FAST works on those inputs to generate code in the desired target technology. The generated code can be in the UI front, server side, or wherever repetitive patterns are found.

Once the target codebase is generated, it’s pushed into a Git-based repository using AWS CodeCommit, a fully managed source control tool.

Using AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodePipeline, continuous integration and delivery of software packages onto the desired Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance can be achieved.

Figure 1 – FAST on Amazon EC2 overview architecture.

FAST’s technical aspects and architectural flow are almost similar as in EC2, with the exception of continuous integration and deployment converging on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS). Using FAST, required Terraform scripts can be generated to enable infrastructure and environmental provisioning to suffice auto scaling needs.

Figure 2 – FAST on Amazon EKS overview architecture.

The LCNC solution is offered to customers as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) and an AWS container. Once the provision is successful, end-to-end deployment can happen in the allocated Kubernetes environment.

The joint value proposition for FAST includes:

  • Assisted by project templates and business element configurations, FAST optimizes and eliminates all mundane project-specific CRUD operations on the server front and repetitive UI work on the client side.
  • A metadata-driven, function-templatization approach further adds impetus to engineering optimization.
  • Centralized configuration allows developers to define project-specific layouts and replicate the same in other environments to improve productivity.
  • High degree of democratization of the LCNC platform by way of CLI and visual studio code extensions.
  • Provides levers to automate the deployment process, speeding up the software delivery cycle using the AWS Kubernetes engine.
  • FAST uses a defense-in-depth strategy backed by AWS-managed security with pre-built compliance templates and operational efficiency to internally lower risk and accelerate f cloud deployments.

Benefits

The platform helps code generation for most CRUD operations, microservices and API development, and repetitive UI work on the client side, leaving developers free to focus only on the business logic and other sundry engineering reinforcements.

Adherence to coding standards and the weaving of security and privacy-related safety measures can be accomplished with greater efficiency and speed. Following summarizes the benefits in a nutshell:

  • 35-50% reduction in software development cycle; 25-40% reduction in defects.
  • Standardized and consistent code across applications, reducing MTTD (mean time to diagnose) and MTTR (mean time to resolve).
  • Fail-fast strategy that helps lessons to be learned quickly.
  • Acceleration of time to market.
  • Greater organizational agility and increased per-person productivity.

Conclusion

Digital transformation efforts are increasingly customer-centric, and this reality has forced many businesses to modernize their customer experience touchpoints.

These transformations generate a shorter delivery cycle time and do not compromise quality, speed, or accuracy. Automating mundane and repetitive activities is the only way to achieve faster time to market. While the assets generated are meant for direct deployment, a periodic quality check on those artifacts is critical to the stability of application deployments.

With the technology landscape in flux, platforms need to exist in parallel with the evolution of new technologies. If companies want to remain relevant, they must stay alert and make choices that take advantage of automation and deliver maximum benefits.

A one-size-fits-all strategy for automation should be avoided. Every organization is unique and warrants individual customization. Virtusa’s low-code/no-code (LCNC) solution is prepared to evolve in parallel with the progression of technology.

Visit Virtusa’s website to learn more about the FAST solution and other technologies.

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Virtusa – AWS Partner Spotlight

Virtusa is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and global provider of digital business strategy, engineering, and IT services and solutions. Virtusa accelerates clients’ cloud adoption through technical, training, and GTM investments.

Contact Virtusa | Partner Overview

This content was originally published here.