CASE STUDY
DevOps with Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment Leads to Operational Efficiency Gains
Background
Companies large and small are faced with competitive and other challenges to deliver value to their customers in a timely manner and without loss of quality. Many companies are also realizing that cloud technologies are enabling fast value delivery with pay only for utilization benefits. Customers are comfortable with SaaS models if security, privacy and performance are covered. Crosslake is a technology leader with experience in DevOps, CI/CD architecture and tools, test automation strategy and cloud technologies.

Objective
A global leader in application delivery networking with 2 billion dollars in annual revenues approached Crosslake for help. The company was planning a major micro-services cloud enabled product offering over the next twelve months. They needed help in getting their CI/CD pipeline running and capable of scaling to support ~100 developers working in parallel.
Challenge
The company's internal team was having challenges with implementing effective automated quality gates for the Continuous Integration portion of the CI/CD pipeline. Differences of opinion between various groups in the organization slowed down decisions relating to tooling choices. Limited experience with cloud orchestration tools like Kubernetes and effective test strategies further contributed to project delays. Developer onboarding was taking several days, systems were often misconfigured and there was no persistent documentation on what to do.
Crosslake has demonstrated expertise in implementing agile development and QA practices and was instrumental in rolling out a new, enterprise class development model for us.
Jerry L.— Bob Dylan, Director of QA
Approach
Crosslake performed a situational analysis which consisted of a 3-day onsite session followed by remote analysis of the overall CI/CD strategy and identified key issues which included:

  1. Gaps in vision & strategy of CI/CD pipeline.
  2. Manual process of onboarding new developers.
  3. Continuous Integration gaps.
  4. Gaps in overall test strategy.

Crosslake provided the following actionable recommendations:

  1. Phased CI/CD pipeline implementation with success milestones.
  2. Solution for automating developer onboarding.
  3. Improved Continuous Integration implementation.
  4. Improved test strategy.

Results speak louder than words. To demonstrate improvements in Continuous Integration due to automated quality gates with static analysis, Crosslake developed a proof-of-concept (POC) with a Golang micro-service, SonarQube and hooked it to a Jenkins pipeline script. Once the POC was approved, the team implemented it for widespread use.

The team also initially documented the developer onboarding process and subsequently developed the automation for it.

To ensure efficient execution of deliverables, Crosslake embedded themselves with the company's DevOps team, conforming to the company agile process and Sprint rituals. They refined the requirements in partnership with the company Product Owners, created and implemented the user-stories in conformance to committed timelines, Acceptance Criteria and Definition of Done.
Benefits
Crosslake's high-level phased roadmap for the CI/CD pipeline implementation with incremental milestones gave clear guidance to the company's leadership and development teams on what to develop and in what order – reducing uncertainty and risk.The developer onboarding automation reduced the onboarding time from ~3 days with a lot of waiting to ~15 minutes and with proper documentation readily available. Considering that the company was looking to hire more than 70 developers, this was a significant improvement in their operational efficiency.

Integrating automated static analysis quality gates early in the development cycle ensures higher quality and self-service and scalability for developers who are building micro-services. All code check-ins will be checked for code smells, improper usage of language structure, bad formatting etc. and the build is "failed" so that it can be fixed before moving further.

Proper test strategy plays a key role in successful implementation of a streamlined CI/CD pipeline. The Crosslake team reviewed the test strategy of the company and provided feedback and guidance on layering the tests to conform to best-practices. In addition, the Crosslake team is hands-on helping the company teams to implement proper test automation suites and tie them to the CI/CD pipeline.
Summary
From identifying gaps in strategy, tooling and execution to helping accelerate development of key CI/CD capabilities, the Crosslake team delivered value. Realizing this, the company has decided to extend the engagement for another nine months or until their CI/CD pipeline project is complete.

With many years of experience leading commercial products to success in various domains and technologies, Crosslake's experienced leaders and technologists strive to be results oriented and strategic partners to our clients. Our focus is on understanding the problem and providing best-practice solutions whether it is advising on what to do or hands-on implementation, whatever is needed to get the job done!

Modernize=Survive.