Kubernetes Kase Files, You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Kubernetes Kase Files, a Detective Dash Story

Known as the greatest technology sleuth in the city, Detective Dash has been hired by Legacy Bank to solve the mystery of its troublesome customer portal. Follow the case by reading the all of the chapters in his story: Chapter 1Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 5Chapter 6, Chapter 7 and Chapter 8.

Chapter 4: You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

A quick phone call to Money Meg uncovered which developer Dash needed to talk to. “Old School,” as he was known, had been around for a while and generally led Legacy Bank’s software development efforts.

After hanging up, Dash darted off to find the man he hoped would be responsible for modernizing Legacy Bank’s customer portal.

An older man sat in a high-backed chair staring at a CRT monitor through his thick glasses. He was alone in a dingy room, clack-clacking away at a very old keyboard.

“Wow, I haven’t seen one of those giant monitors in a long time,” Dash wondered out loud.

“Excuse me?” came a deep voice from the behind the computer.

“Old School?” Dash asked, stepping into the room.

Without looking up, the man seated at the desk mumbled, “mmhm.”

“Where’s the rest of your team?” he asked.

Clack, clack, clack.

“Hello? Old School? Where is everybody else? I thought Kate started recently.” Dash looked around the room at empty desks and dusty monitors.

After moments of silence, Old School finally swiveled in his chair and sighed.

“Kate? Who is Kate? It’s just me right now,” he said.

“Are you responsible for updating the customer portal? Surely there are other people that can help,” Dash thought to himself. He asked as much out loud.

“You’d think,” Old School replied and rocked back and forth in his chair.

“Are you still using outdated waterfall methods? And monolithic apps?” Dash asked.

“This is how the bank’s infrastructure has always been.”

He explained to Dash that monolithic apps are built just the way they sound. Every piece of the app, from business logic to API, to user interface, to data layers, is all wrapped up into a single code base. Every time developers make an update to the code they have to take the whole thing offline. Often, a change to one piece of the app changes other pieces and makes it challenging for developers to uncover what new item is broken.

“It’s a whole thing,” Old School said. “Just a whole thing.”

“And what do waterfalls have to do with anything?” Dash asked.

“It’s the way things are done,” Old School replied. “First you figure out what requirements you need, then you design, implement, test, and deploy the app. In that order. Always. Each step is the prerequisite for the next. It all flows from the top on down.”

Old School explained that with waterfall development methods and monolithic apps, making changes is challenging and risky.

“It’s sort of an old school way of software development,” Old School said.

“Yeah, Old School,” Dash finished. “So what’s the new school and how do you get there?”

“I need to turn this monolith into microservices.”

“Micro huh?”

“Modern apps are broken into little pieces,” Old School replied after a long sigh.

He went on to explain how breaking each piece of the app — business logic, API, user interface, among others — into a smaller piece of code, and treating each portion like its own service, is hugely helpful in application development.

“And how do you turn this hunk of code into smaller bits?” Dash asked.

“Well, first, I need a modern application platform based on Kubernetes.”

“Kuber— what?” Dash asked.

“Kubernetes, containers, you know?”

“I do not.”

Old School showed Dash his computer monitor. On a sticky note stuck to the bottom of the monitor he had written “K8s” among a list of other items.

“Oooh,” Dash said. “K8s. Kate. I get it now.”

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Dash replied. “But, if you know what you need, why haven’t you built it?”

“I’m a software developer; if I spend all my time building and maintaining a platform then I won’t have any time to develop and update my apps. Unless we get more people to do that, I have no choice but to keep doing things the old fashioned way.”

“Can the IT department help?”

“I doubt it. They can give me virtual machines, but they don’t know that much about Kubernetes or containers.”

Dash walked out of the room, more confused than when he had entered.

“Huh, Kubernetes, and IT? Could those be the next pieces of the puzzle?”

Dash wasn’t positive he understood much of the conversation he had just had. But he was about to find out.