IT Science Case Study: Connecting Dev Tools for Continuous Delivery

Jobvite had found great tools for continuous integration but was seeking a tool that could connect all the ones they already used in order to release a quality product.

Harness.Jobvite.logos

Here is the latest article in the eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.

Today’s Topic: Connecting Dev Tools to Make Continuous Development a Reality

Name the problem to be solved: Jobvite had a six-week release schedule, during which the release team coordinated all deployments. Heroic scripting and Jenkins jobs made continuous delivery (CD) semi-manual and complex to debug. Jobvite was also using manual performance testing and quality checks across the development lifecycle.

Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: Jobvite had found great tools for continuous integration (CI) but was seeking a tool that could connect all the ones they already used to release a quality product. Harness fit into the sweet spot of connecting monitoring, logging, canary deployments, rollback and A/B deployments.

List the key components in the solution:  The team implemented Harness, a continuous delivery-as-a-service platform that automates the entire CD process, keeps it secure and uses machine learning when deployments fail. This enabled daily/hourly release cycles and consistent repeatable deployments; it also allowed the engineering team to perform complex deployments in production with minimal risk to customers.

Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took and if it came off as planned:

Jobvite VP of DevOps John Stuart said: “Harness was easy to install and setup, we were literally up and running within a few hours.” By the end of Day 1, his team has built and deployed their first CD pipeline. Shortly after, they had built and deployed a pipeline for one of their production microservices. Harness was also able to integrate with Jobvite’s ecosystem of DevOps tools that included Jenkins, AppDynamics and Elastic.

Describe the result, new efficiencies gained and what was learned from the project: Harness reduced Jobvite’s deployment time by 10X. Prior to Harness, a typical production deployment for the team would take 27 minutes; now that same deployment takes just 2 minutes. Jobvite engineers can also now build, deploy and fix their own code.

Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: Stuart reports that it would have taken Jobvite $500,000 to build--let alone support and maintain--Harness each year. For Jobvite to keep its existing manual process would also have required two full-time release engineers, and the team was able to re-allocate those resources to more business-critical needs.

Other relevant information:

If you have a suggestion for an eWEEK IT Science article, email. cpreimesberger@eweek.com.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...