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Kubernetes decreases development cycles, enabling innovation in the insurance market

By adopting VMware® Enterprise PKS, Harel Insurance has reduced development costs, improved development times, and reduced time to market for new services.

Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services is Israel’s number one insurance provider. It is building a platform to make formerly niche insurance products commonplace. In the last year it has launched car insurance bought via WhatsApp, and an insurance policy based on the number of days and number of miles driven.

It is not doing this out of the kindness of its heart, of course. As the market leader, Harel is a target for established competitors and every new start-up. Its challenge is to remain relevant and to continue to lead the market.

It must play to its strengths. Harel has a wealth of data on customer habits (it has a 20 percent market share and is a household name in Israel). The business wants to use its rich store of historical and transactional data to create actionable insight on specific customer trends.

For this to happen Harel must transform how the business operates. Where it has traditionally relied on a network of 1,500 independent insurance agents to go to market, it now recognizes it must engage directly with customers. It must go where its customers are to be found: on mobiles and in apps.

Direct engagement, hyper-relevant products

Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized apps, but it is not without its challenges.

VMware Enterprise PKS is built for running critical workloads in production. It addresses a broad range of Kubernetes challenges such as networking, security, storage, monitoring and logging. This is achieved by including VMware NSX-T Data Center and integrating with other VMware products.

Enterprise PKS has been operational at Harel since late 2018. It is a key component in Harel’s drive to create niche products for the insurance market and is helping reduce the time to market for new services from weeks to hours. It means Harel is delivering all the infrastructure a developer might need, software-controlled and automated.

By freeing developers from infrastructure requirements – instead, managing infrastructure as software – it is creating a dynamic, fast-moving development environment. This helps attract the country’s best developer talent, and cements Harel’s reputation for innovation.

Selecting Enterprise PKS is the latest project in Harel’s long-term engagement with VMware. The business opted for VMware to lead its virtualization program more than 10 years ago. Today, 95 percent of its servers are virtual.

This initial engagement has since grown to include VMware NSX® Data Center and VMware vRealize® Network Insight. The former delivers networking and security entirely in software, abstracted from the underlying physical infrastructure; the latter accelerates micro-segmentation deployment, minimizes business risk during application migration and enables Harel to confidently manage and scale its NSX deployment.

There are a raft of ways technology will transform the insurance industry. Harel wants to be at the forefront of this change.

“Digital transformation means we’ve had to change the way our developers work,” says David Ben-Eli, Harel’s head of IT systems. “We’re always looking at new technology – but that technology has to serve a purpose.


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