“I always keep an eye on the latest IT trends” – An interview with cloud architect Candide Orou-Yorouba

Making data processing less complex: As a cloud architect, Candide Orou-Yorouba helps clients to introduce new technologies and supports his colleagues in setting up IT architectures and always keeps an eye on the latest industry trends.

What are your duties as a cloud architect at Lufthansa Industry Solutions?

The business unit, Technology Consulting & Quality Assurance, is based in Raunheim, near Frankfurt am Main, and I have been part of it since January 2018. We work with all of the other Lufthansa Industry Solutions business units, such as Industry & Automotive and Mobility & Transport. We support our colleagues in setting up IT architectures, either by developing them ourselves or advising our colleagues in their work. I also advise clients and support them in introducing new technologies. The IT sector is subject to constant change. That is why it’s important for me as a cloud architect to maintain an overview of the latest trends and to know what is and isn’t possible.

What exactly does that entail?

In my role, it’s often about conceptualizing and implementing analytic platforms for data processing in the cloud on my clients’ behalf. Clients can carry out big data and data science processes on such analytic platforms. Depending on the client’s use case, we use either real-time data processing or batch processing to achieve this. Real-time data processing involves processing the data immediately once they are sent to the platform so that they are available to the client straight away. Here’s an example: Imagine that the client wants to receive an immediate notification if the temperature of its sensors in the production hall exceed a certain threshold. With batch processing, in contrast, the data is gathered over a certain time period, such as a single day, and is only processed and made available to the client at the end of that time period. This method is suited to processing data that is not time-critical.

What is your area of focus in your projects? Could you give us an example?

My current project is about migrating a client’s big data platform from a local data center to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. The migration is not carried out on a one-to-one basis, however, as this is usually too expensive. In general, the cloud offers advantages, such as scaling according to resource requirements, flexibility and, of course, cost savings. Scaling according to resource requirements means that the cloud only accesses the amount of processing power, storage space, and network capacity that the company needs at that point in time. The fact that the company itself can determine when to run the virtual machines and only pays for this time means that it can save money. In order to utilize these advantages, both the applications and the IT infrastructure have to be set up appropriately. So in the project, it’s not about a one-to-one migration of the current IT system, but about implementing cloud technologies like platform as a service (PaaS), such as Azure SQL Database or Azure Data Lake Store, during the migration. Companies pay for these services based on use and resource deployment.

The art of this career is having a feel for what the client needs.

Candide Orou-Yorouba, cloud architect

How did you get into your profession?

I studied computer science and did a master’s degree in Germany and at a partner university in the United States. After I finished studying, I started working for a consultancy firm that is a Microsoft Partner in Germany. I was a data warehouse consultant there for several years and worked with Microsoft technologies such as SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), a platform for creating data integration and data transformation solutions, and with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), a server-based report-generation system. During this time, I advised many companies from a range of sectors. That included small and medium-sized enterprises as well as large DAX-listed companies. It was fun to work on interesting projects and constantly make new contacts. I was attracted to Lufthansa Industry Solutions by the opportunity to broaden my horizons and work on a range of technologies, not just Microsoft platforms.

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What qualities do you need to have to work as a cloud architect?

A desire to learn about new technologies is definitely vital. In the IT sector, you have to be able to deal with constant change and innovation. However, client communication is also at the heart of my work. I have a lot of direct contact with clients when I am introducing a technology or a cloud service on-site at their premises. It’s important to understand that the employees at client companies often respond to changes with reluctance. That’s why I introduce them to the technologies one step at a time and show them how they can work more effectively and efficiently with them. That usually takes place at the beginning of a project, but sometimes I also do it while I’m working on the project. A lot of clients also initially want advice on their actual needs. Identifying requirements usually takes place in a workshop. I also organize proofs of concept (PoC) with the client and for the client. These are small software prototypes to provide evidence of the viability and practicality of the project. There is a suitable IT solution for every client. We use our experience and our knowledge to find it. A good insight into what makes people tick is also important: the art of this career is having a feel for what the client needs.

About Candide Orou-Yorouba

Candide Orou-Yorouba completed a bachelors’ and a master’s degree in computer science and subsequently spent several years working at an IT consultancy firm. He joined Lufthansa Industry Solutions in January 2018 as a cloud architect in the Technology Consulting & Quality Assurance business unit.