Scaling your Cloud Application: Quebec City’s LE CAMP Hosts CENGN Learning Session

On January 19th, CENGN collaborated with tech incubator and accelerator LE CAMP to host a Lunch & Learn on the scaling up of cloud applications. Attendees got to learn directly from CENGN’s Shawn Kahandaliyanage, Director of Solutions Engineering, and Alex Edwards, Business Engineering Manager. The event provided valuable insights for cloud developers as they architect, design, and take new products to market.

Where LE CAMP is focused on assisting startups at every stage of maturity, CENGN focuses on providing the infrastructure for commercial-scale solution testing and the expertise needed to technically validate products for market. Shawn and Alex have a combined 40 years of experience in high tech and shared their expertise from their work on over 150 projects at CENGN. They shared informative presentations and encouraged questions to help attendees get the most out of the hour-long event.

Shawn Kahandaliyanage and Alex Edwards deliver the LE CAMP-hosted CENGN learning session.
Shawn Kahandaliyanage and Alex Edwards deliver the LE CAMP-hosted CENGN learning session.

An Introduction to CENGN’s Services

The presentation started with an explanation of what CENGN does and our mission.

CENGN operates a national testbed, specialized in advanced networking, IoT, AI, and Cloud technology to support the commercialization of tech products and solutions from start-ups and small businesses across Canada. Our mission is to drive technology innovation and industry growth. Those less familiar with CENGN were able to learn about the company and determine if our testing services would be useful to them.

Approximately 85% of CENGN’s projects seek to prove scalability, which is a common need among startups looking to enter the market ready to grow their customer base. CENGN also provides the expertise on testing and commercialization best practices to ensure a CENGN project meets its goal. Every test environment is customized to the client’s needs, simulating the customer profiles and size they are targeting in the market.

One common goal for CENGN projects is transitioning the product from a monolithic design to a cloud-native design and then performing tests to validate its usability and scalability.

Check out CENGN’s previous commercialization projects.

Why You Should Consider Going Cloud-Native

Shawn Kahandaliyanage shares the lessons he’s learned from working with tech startups.
Shawn Kahandaliyanage shares the lessons he’s learned from working with tech startups.

Shawn Kahandaliyanage emphasized that there is nothing inherently wrong with a monolithic design. In fact, going that route is ideal for businesses just starting up and focusing on creating their product or service and securing investors. However, once the initial hurdle of actually creating the product is complete, it is important to make sure that your platform can support all of your prospective customers.

Cloud-native designs break down applications into smaller units called microservices, which are implemented as containers and operate independently. A microservice’s ability to operate independently makes it possible to use the best frameworks, languages, and databases for each separate unit. It also makes the software more resilient, since issues that would have normally resulted in an inability to provide the service are replaced by small hiccups.

Additionally, when using a cloud-native design, each microservice can be scaled independently, allowing for the dynamic scalability that will save company money, since they aren’t paying for space in the Cloud that isn’t being used.

Sample spreadsheet for calculating application concurrency.
Sample spreadsheet to help calculate application concurrency and understand scalability needs. A buffer is added to the calculated concurrent user sessions to account for time-of-day peak variances.

Transitioning from a monolithic design to a cloud-native design helps ensure reliable performance when the time comes. While after the initial product development, startups may be eager to immediately push commercialization and seek more customers, it is imperative that they make sure they can support a higher number of users. If you want to scale up, this needs to be reflected in your software’s architecture.

Shawn argues that it’s worth adopting a cloud-native approach early on, even though it will be an initial challenge and slow commercialization. In the end, it will simplify scaling up and pushing production for growth.

He advised businesses to picture where they are going to be in the next 8-14 months, so they can anticipate their needs in the immediate future and stay a step ahead.

Case Studies

Alex Edwards continued the presentation by sharing examples of businesses that have benefitted from our services, the CENGN Testbed, and our cloud network expertise. The first of these examples was Kognitiv Spark, a company that connects front-line workers with expert support using augmented reality task support tools. CENGN helped them verify their multiple server/cloud configurations by simulating the low bandwidth that would be normal on a navy ship.

Next, Alex presented the work of BluWave-ai, which uses AI to optimize energy dispatch. BluWave-ai tested their platforms with a significant customer load and on different hardware configurations using CENGN’s multi-cloud test environment. These case studies provided attendees with an idea of the type of configuration and testing that CENGN can do.

Finally, Shawn closed off the presentation by addressing a comment from the audience about a negative aspect of implementing cloud-network computing: the rarity of DDoS and Cloud knowledge in the field. Shawn acknowledged the truth of this statement and emphasized the importance of investing in a company’s own engineers to develop competencies in-house. This investment is beneficial for businesses, who will need those skills on their team to be able to grow/scale their brand and product, and employees, for whom Cloud computing skills are highly sought out by employers.

CENGN Academy offers courses on cloud native and containerization. Click here to learn more about our courses and how CENGN Academy can help your team skill up!

Attendees of all knowledge levels were able to benefit from the presentation. Diagrams and explanations of cloud computing servers illustrated complex concepts for those newer to cloud network computing, whereas those who were already experts on the topic appreciated the connection drawn between the technology and overcoming commercial barriers.

Chloe Rainville, LE CAMP's project manager
Big thanks goes to our host: Chloé Rainville, LE CAMP’s project manager.

Technological Innovation in Quebec

The majority of the event’s attendees worked for innovative small businesses making waves in the tech industry. They all took the initiative to inform themselves on the next steps in their business journeys and learn from other perspectives, demonstrating the innovation and leadership in Quebec’s tech sector.

Canada’s innovation and tech industry is growing coast-to-coast. The Quebec City region in particular has a rich tech-based entrepreneurial ecosystem featuring hundreds of startups in a variety of sectors. We applaud LE CAMP for the work they are doing assisting startups in this region on their journey to technological commercialization.

Check out LE CAMP’s website for more information on their mentorship programs.

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About the Author

Charline Osborne is a Content Writer Marketing Student at CENGN (Winter 2022). She is an English major at the University of Ottawa, focusing on professional writing and professional editing. Charline believes in the importance of clear, accessible writing, which she puts into practice through her experience as a content writer and student writing mentor.

More by Charline Osborne

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