MoneyGram speeds digital transformation initiative with assist from Rafay Systems & Amazon EKS


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Kubernetes operations provider, Rafay Systems, announced today that MoneyGram has selected Rafay’s Kubernetes Operations Platform (KOP) as its Kubernetes provider and Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its global cloud provider. With this collaboration, MoneyGram hopes to build a perfect Kubernetes operations practice and further expand its cloud-native application development and infrastructure modernization initiatives.

Having powered cross-border money transfers, MoneyGram has embarked on a digital transformation initiative to rapidly evolve its business model and deliver innovative financial solutions that connect the world’s communities. Joe Vaughan, CTO of MoneyGram, told VentureBeat in an email interview that MoneyGram wanted an integrated solution that considered the techops lifecycle. He claimed that managing Kubernetes without the right toolsets and overlays is a daunting task, as there is so much more to Kubernetes than the ability to scale and sustain high availability.

Given the intricacies of the Kubernetes ecosystem, Vaughan said, MoneyGram sought a solution that would allow for speedy and automated activity while allowing employees to conduct other tasks. He asserted that the Rafay/AWS solution allowed his organization to decrease complexity and operational pressures, particularly as it transitioned skillsets and technology to the cloud. 

Haseeb Budhani, cofounder and CEO of Rafay, said Rafay and the Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) team at AWS enjoy a close relationship, with the team helping Rafay make better and smarter decisions on product capabilities that directly benefit EKS users such as MoneyGram.

Modernization and digitalization in the financial industry

Financial institutions must transform into flexible digital organizations focused on producing innovative services, products and customer experiences to serve today’s on-demand customers. As a result of these experiences, demand for innovative real-time payment services and payment methods like app-based banking and contactless payments is increasing. From 2022 to 2030, the global real-time payments industry is predicted to develop at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.9%. The market’s expansion can be ascribed to the widespread use of smartphones and the acceptance of cloud-based payment systems.

Furthermore, rising customer demand for faster payment settlements, as well as increasing investments from financial institutions and governments to promote the adoption of real-time payment systems, are likely to propel the market forward. MoneyGram claims to serve consumers through its direct-to-consumer digital channel, global retail network and integrated finance business for enterprise customers by leveraging its modern, mobile and API-driven platform and collaborating with brands like Rafay and AWS.

Expansion of services at MoneyGram leads to expansion of technology

Vaughan said that due to the continuous expansion at MoneyGram, the company got to the stage where managing microservices without an orchestration platform became challenging. High availability was an issue, he noted, and operational performance deteriorated as the number of microservices grew. Autoscaling, he added, was one of the most difficult challenges faced at first, whereas the company already has a large transaction volume and operates 24x7x365.

MoneyGram said it has always desired an integrated solution that considers the techops lifecycle to succeed in its ongoing containerization efforts. Adopting a container-first approach provides financial organizations with an unrivaled chance to improve system efficiency and resource utilization, boost security, automate processes and expedite innovation. 

Vaughan said the company’s personnel would manually scale at peak transaction times, such as the holidays. He stated that this had never been ideal, as doing the tasks manually would result in a lot of administrative work. As a result, they required a platform like Rafay that could efficiently and unobtrusively automate these technological tasks.

The need for Kubernetes

According to Vaughan, the company looked into open-source options at first, but quickly learned that maintaining the components of microservices without a Kubernetes platform was difficult. Kubernetes, as a container orchestration solution, is ideal for automating microservice application management, deployment and scaling. It enables organizations to manage thousands of containers at a time. MoneyGram’s adoption of Kubernetes, as well as the company’s move to the cloud, was prompted by this, Vaughan said.

MoneyGram said it was able to establish a fully effective Kubernetes operations practice using Rafay and AWS, and that it was able to standardize on Amazon EKS. This, the company said, has provided users access to Kubernetes’ flexibility while also providing the security, scalability and resilience of a fully managed AWS service.

Rafay also claimed it has helped MoneyGram to simplify the process of centrally defining and managing clusters and environments across numerous internal teams and AWS regions. MoneyGram affirmed that the agreement has resulted in secure and regulated developer access. MoneyGram claims to have tighter control over developer and operator access to Kubernetes infrastructure, with easier isolation border management across development teams and central auditing of all developer and operator activity.

The collaboration, according to MoneyGram, has also decreased Kubernetes administration expenses. The company said its site reliability engineering (SRE) team can now focus on higher-value product innovation activities, instead of continually dealing with Kubernetes’ administration complexity, by leveraging the Rafay platform. According to Vaughan, the Rafay dashboard allows developers and techops workers to easily change the status of their workloads without having to figure out how to configure multiple tools just to make it function. They may handle troubleshooting, diagnostics, monitoring and other tasks through a single pane of glass, said Vaughan.

While AWS provides a completely managed Kubernetes control plane for MoneyGram, Rafay complements EKS by delivering a fully managed solution in terms of a zero-trust security model, lifecycle management for Kubernetes APIs, backup operations and support for GitOps style deployments, according to Vaughan. From both an app dev and ops standpoint, the end result is a comprehensive solution for hosting and scaling Kubernetes production workloads, he added.

Cross-border money transactions are becoming increasingly competitive. MoneyGram claims to compete against worldwide heavyweights like Western Union, Wise, Remitly and Ria, as well as a variety of smaller industry participants depending on the region. MoneyGram, however, claims to be unique owing to its collaboration with Rafay and AWS, who are assisting the company in providing flexibility and simplicity to its customers.

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