Developer Acceleration | Serverless Workshop

Ovis Technologies and the Risk vs. Reward of Serverless in Finance

Ovis embarked on a 2-3 day workshop during which would build out their development pipeline and think about the first functional pieces of their application.

Ovis Technologies provides boutique software solutions to the financial services industry, such as private equity, hedge funds, financial advisors, and family offices. In a highly-regulated industry like finance, rolling out custom, enterprise-grade software takes a deep level of regulatory knowledge and technical ability. Ovis is unparalleled in both regards.

Working in finance software has some unique challenges, which Ovis is always looking for better ways to solve. They are often working on tight budgets and tighter timelines. Since their clients rarely have in-house engineering staff, Ovis must deliver quality software that is easy to secure, run, and maintain for multiple years. To meet these challenges, their engineering team is continually pushing themselves into new terrain and streamlining their existing operations.

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Their ongoing research brought them to the world of serverless microservices—which they realized could be a much more cost-effective solution than the Docker-based monoliths they were using. Ovis had contracts for dozens of custom applications, and with serverless, they could build more quickly and get into production sooner.

With a new client project on the horizon, Ovis decided it was time to push themselves forward into uncharted terrain.

“Ovis was inspiring to work with,” said Joel Haubold, Senior Solutions Architect at Trek10. “Everyone on the team was really on top of it, experts in their field, and incredibly open to bringing new technologies into their repertoire.”

Ovis’ engineering team was excited about working with serverless and wanted to make sure they could onramp, and deliver to the client, as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

“We wanted Trek10 to join us as a natural extension of our team,” said Thomas Hradek, CTO at Ovis Technologies. “Someone to talk through design questions with us and prevent us from encountering any unknown unknowns so our team could keep pushing forward. We got that, and so much more.”

From ELZ to Development Pipeline

The project kicked off in July 2020 with a target completion date of Dec 2020

“Our team was excited and ready,” says Hradek, “we just needed to put our heads down and get it done.”

Trek10 worked alongside Ovis in the early stages of the project via the Developer Acceleration program, a 2-3 day workshop during which Ovis would build out their development pipeline and think about the first functional pieces of their application. “When we design a Developer Acceleration workshop,” says Michael Barney, engineer at Trek10, “we think holistically about what the customer is trying to build and what their culture and development process is like so we can be a natural extension of their team.”

During Ovis’ workshop, the two teams thought holistically about testing and debugging functions on AWS Lambda, designing DynamoDB databases, and integrating 3rd party services into their workflow. The Developer Acceleration workshop also gave Ovis the time and space to sit down and have more conversations about architecture, which helped them move swiftly through design decisions as a united team.

“We walked away from those team discussions feeling like we could do anything we wanted,” says Hradek. “Everyone was on the same page.”

Move Fast, Minimize Risk

With a new deployment pipeline in place, Ovis engineers got to work on the implementation, continuing to work alongside Trek10 for additional support when needed.

“Serverless was new for us and we didn’t want the project to encounter unexpected delays,” said Hradek. “Trek10 was always there for us on Slack if we wanted to talk something through so the team could keep moving. That process worked really well for us.”

An Unexpected, Cost-saving Bonus

Since Ovis’ clients typically do not have their own CloudOps, they look to Ovis to provide it or find someone who can: everything from compliance, security, and workflow integration, to ongoing maintenance via 24/7 monitoring.

Trek10’s 24/7 CloudOps is a site reliability engineering approach that comes with 24/7 monitoring and alerts, plus runbooks and a 15-minute SLA for critical events. They start with 150+ monitors and alerts that have been custom-built by their own crew of experts, the culmination of every best practice they’ve honed in over five years of serverless experience, and additionally build specialized monitors for each client to create a lever of customization.

“It’s a huge all-around win for us,” says Hradek, “that Trek10 has so much monitoring built out of the box. The team that is, besides us, the most knowledgeable about this software can implement the monitoring and SLAs, too.”

For Ovis, the ease of monitoring was a huge upside they didn’t expect. They didn’t have to train an outside team in the system or pay for a suite of Rackspace monitoring services they didn’t need for a serverless application. “Trek10’s approach,” says Hradek, “is much more efficient, so much more aligned to the way the cloud works.” And, adds Hradek, Ovis’ goal in all of this is to do the best they can for their clients, who look to Ovis Technologies as their lifeline into the tech world. “When we go out and sell, we don’t just sell ourselves—we sell our ecosystem of vendors.”

For whatever a client needs but Ovis doesn’t specialize in, they need to be able to provide guidance and bring in someone they can trust; their reputation depends on it. “Trek10,” he says, “is at the top of our list.”

What’s Next

Ovis Technologies continues to collaborate with Trek10 on projects large and small.

“We keep wanting to work with Trek10,” Hradek says, “because they aren’t the kind of people to just do the work and leave it at that. They care about our business, and our clients, as much as we do. There is a total trust there that’s hard to find.”