Founded in the early 1900’s, this major insurance provider administers health benefits to more than 4 million individuals. Because of the types of services this client provides to its customers, they are heavily reliant upon software technology and technical delivery of their services. Throughout the years, they have traditionally been on the leading edge of technology adoption. However, the continual improvement of these systems has been lacking.
This client’s problem started with technology that had “worked in the past.” So, little to no budget was allocated to its improvement or enhancement. Unfortunately, they were relying on technology that was over 10 years old to deliver their services. Because of their reliance on an outdated and unsupported version of IBM Urbancode Deploy, there were lots of manual steps required to get code deployed, which caused the process to be very lengthy. This included taking several days (or weeks in most cases) to get code from development to production. There was also limited testing hardware (2 servers) which slowed down the testing process.
What made this problem extremely challenging was the fact that so much time had passed since the initial installation of this pipeline. The documentation and visualizations that existed when they were implemented were not accurate. No one person understood the entire CI/CD pipeline, nor could they visualize the current process.
The Engagement Model
Although the Client did have newer DevOps tools in use, the Client and SPK and Associates decided to approach this as a new CI/CD pipeline creation project, and integrate with existing systems where possible. SPK and Associates approaches DevOps, and specifically new CloudBees CD implementations in 3 major stages:
Deployments 216x faster
Automated 50% of steps
Custom 1-stop dashboard
Stage 1: Discovery and Definition
Stage 2: Installation and MVP
Stage 3: Integration and Finalization
This engagement spanned roughly 2 months of full-time work with the Client’s team.
Stage 1 included discovery meetings with many stakeholders, engineers, administrators, and developers. During this discovery, SPK and Associates learned about the original visualizations of the pipeline. Many of these visualizations included steps that were either a) not used anymore, b) not applicable because they were not decision points, or c) the business process had changed but the steps were not updated. Within a few weeks, the Client had a “current state” visualization of their pipeline. Through collaborative sessions, SPK and the Client were able to figure out what a minimum viable product (MVP) would look like.
Stage 2 started with the installation of CloudBees CD and the creation of a “skeleton pipeline.” The concept of the skeleton pipeline is meant to allow the Continuous Integration (CI) process to see what steps are involved in the Development, QA and Production environments and to create a production release template. Once this template is in place, the final stage of integrations is much easier to execute and implement.
The final stage in the engagement, Stage 3, focused on integration with other tools and finalizing the project for hand off back to the Client’s engineers. Most of the work in this stage fell into three categories: CD property management, third party tool integration, and training/education. The integrations focused around Git, Jira, Artifactory, and Jenkins. Once these integrations were completed, SPK and Associates documented their work, including a detailed pipeline visualization for engineers and executives, along with custom dashboards in different tools for engineers and developers to review.
Because of SPK and Associates’ approach, the client had the following quantifiable results:
- Deployment time reduced from several days to 10 minutes.
- Automated 50% of the manual steps in their previous CI/CD pipeline.
- Wrote a completely custom CloudBees CD dashboard.
- Completed 2 days of training, which included showing how to code their own pipelines and add new apps.
Get a no-obligation initial assessment
Whether you’re trying to solve technical problems, implement new technology tools and strategies, or improve efficiency, SPK and Associates can be a key part of your strategy. We can provide a free, no-obligation initial assessment on almost any technology or engineering situation. Contact us today at (888) 310-4540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.