Category: AWS

Accelerating speed of delivery with cloud devops

A leading sports equipment and student achievement accessory company. Based in the southwest with a diverse portfolio of products including spirit awards, class rings, jewelry and yearbook products.

Location

Dallas, TX

Employees

9000 strong

Industry

School Services & Recognition

Technology Solutions

Cloud Services

Challenge

Our client was facing Product Delivery challenges and deadlines were being missed. While the client had established some tools and Agile delivery practices, the delivery teams were not realizing the full potential that pipeline automation and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) practices can provide. Some specific challenges included the following:
• Specific configuration was required for each application and environment. Variances and human intervention introduced errors.
• Standard application Build, Deploy, and Promotion flows had not been established, making automation difficult.
• Build and deployment processes lacked standard validation steps for code quality and deployment success.

Overall, the challenges created a significant hindrance to delivery and an over-reliance on tribal knowledge and scarce resources. CleanSlate was tasked to overhaul the CI/CD process to address these issues.

Solutions

Introduce a modern, streamlined CI/CD process that aligns with business needs:
• All applications were refactored to leverage configurable, lightweight, standardized Docker containers. The design ensured that applications contained dependencies that were required to operate, and hardcoded configuration was removed. This made applications portable from desktop to cloud.
• Build and deploy processes were defined and integrated with appropriate tools. This included standard and nonstandard flows (such as “Hotfix”).
• Automated deployment processes were implemented for each application suite. This included post deployment validation to ensure applications were deployed and functional. Deployment automation was integrated with operations to provide monitoring and alerting notifications.
• Automated build processes were created for each application type. The build processes introduced quality controls, including static code analysis for code quality and security compliance.
• A self-services website was provided so development teams could launch code builds and deployments on demand and troubleshoot build issues.

Results & Additional Info

A successfully implemented AWS DevOps pipeline provided the following benefits:
• The standard application container model allowed developers to run applications locally and in the cloud without concern of installing all necessary dependencies. Deployment issues that stemmed from environmental differences were virtually eliminated. As a result, development ramp up time improved while also increasing productivity.
• The standardized and automated CI/CD processes made build and deployment status transparent. Productivity metrics provide insight into continued process improvement.
• Automated deployment validation ensured issues with deployments were identified and remediated immediately.
• Self service provided development teams the means to build and deploy at-will. With autonomy, deployments were streamlined from hours to minutes. Because the deployments were automated, Infrastructure teams were ensured environments were protected from unauthorized activities.

With Jenkins running inside AWS, additional CI/CD tools were migrated to centralize services and ensure high availability. New container-based applications run in AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) which enabled the CI/CD process.

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