"Tell Me About Critical Stack"—4 Questions From KubeCon 2019

You can find a Capital One booth at most large tech conferences. Maybe you’ve stopped by and talked to us at one before. This year, we attended a lot of conferences on behalf of Critical Stack, our new container orchestration solution for developers. At KubeCon 2019, instead of simply just running a booth, we also invited everyone to come learn more about Critical Stack at a casual three-hour developer event in San Diego’s Gaslamp neighborhood.

At this KubeCon event, like at most of our demos, we saw a similar set of questions from attendees about the “why’s” of building and the “how’s” of using Critical Stack. They essentially fell into these four buckets:


Question #1 - What is Capital One doing at KubeCon?

Group fo 6 Capital one associates posing at KubeCon 2019 booth

It’s a valid question at a conference full of cloud providers, big name tech companies, and heavy hitters in the container space. At the booth and at the developer event, people wanted to know more about how and why we were using containers; as well as how we were participating in the greater community. The answer is rooted in the story of our tech evolution.

Since our earliest days, Capital One has always been a data-driven company, using tech to drive our core banking and credit card business. We’re now using, contributing to, and creating open source software; we’re adopting DevOps processes in everything we build; and we’re all in on the cloud - all important prerequisites for our use of containers and Kubernetes.

One of our favorite parts of demoing is that “aha” moment where attendees go from “I don’t think of banks as technology companies” to “Wow, the nature of your business means you have to be one.” And with the deeply technical, developer audience at KubeCon we got to experience that moment over and over. Not that we’re complaining.

“Most people come to our booth to grab our awesome t-shirts and socks and then make some playful remark, like “What’s in your wallet?”, or even show us their Capital One credit card. We use this opportunity to ask them where they are in their cloud journey and if they’re using containers. As we talk to them about using Kubernetes to go all-in on the cloud they’re generally blown away that a bank like Capital One is as far along in our journey as we are.”-John Conrad, Customer Success, Critical Stack

This cloud and container journey has given us a lot of experience in running production workloads in the cloud and we’ve been externalizing that knowledge into tools and products that solve for enterprise problems in this space. This externalization started with our open source projects and now continues with our first commercial offering - a container orchestration platform for developers we call Critical Stack


Question #2 - Tell me more about Critical Stack?

Critical Stack can help get Kubernetes up and running faster.

Product demo on computer screen

Critical Stack can help deliver on the following:

  • Orchestration - With Critical Stack you can reduce some of your Kubernetes complexity by creating and deploying new services with a few simple clicks.
  • Performance - Automatically optimize the speed and performance of applications deployed on Critical Stack.
  • Faster - Get up and running with Kubernetes faster by solving the configuration challenges that bottleneck application deployment and maintenance.

Registration for developer accounts are open and can be found on our site, you can get your first 5 nodes for free.


Question #3 - Capital One makes software?

This question makes perfect sense as a follow up to questions #1 and #2.  Yes, we do.  As we’ve progressed along our cloud journey, we’ve developed software that we think other organizations could find value in.

If you’ve paid attention to our tech transformation you’d know this is in keeping with our approach to externalizing innovative technology solutions. From our open source projects to our partner APIs to our first commercial offering, we’re committed to creating and supporting our tools to ensure user success.


Question #4 - Is Critical Stack only for the finance industry?

Critical Stack may have been developed by a bank, but it is not just for financial institutions.  Sometimes when developers see our demo they’re impressed, but have questions about if it could work in their industry. “But you’re a bank and I work in X field, obviously the differences in our industries excludes me from your user base. Right?”

Kubernetes itself can be used across industries, and as a Kubernetes solution, Critical Stack strives to be equally applicable to a wide range of companies and fields. Yes, we’re a highly regulated financial institution but we have a history of designing solutions that think outside the fintech box - just look at our open source projects Hygieia and Cloud Custodian. These projects started out as internal technologies but were general enough to solve larger industry problems. Our approach to building Critical Stack is similar; we thought outside the fintech box when building it, and that should be kept in mind as you evaluate it for your use case.

Also, the standards and requirements of our industry have benefits that other companies can benefit from.

White screen with Critical Stack and Capital One logos displayed

If you had the opportunity to stop by our booth or attend our developer event, thank you for spending part of your KubeCon with us. And if you weren’t able to attend, we encourage you to learn more about Critical Stack check out our site and register for a developer account and get started with 5 free nodes.

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: © 2019 Capital One. Opinions are those of the individual author. Unless noted otherwise in this post, Capital One is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by, any of the companies mentioned. All trademarks and other intellectual property used or displayed are property of their respective owners.

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