Pivotal Cloud Foundry enables WWT’s continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline

World Wide Technology (WWT) internal IT development teams were struggling to rapidly deploy new applications using our legacy technology stacks and deployment methodologies. Code deployment could take weeks due to manual handoffs between IT groups as well as the troubleshooting processes involved once code was deployed.

The IT group set a goal to enable our business by delivering differentiating software with the correct features and functionality in a timely manner. To support this goal, the IT team began to embrace a DevOps mindset. To further enable this goal, we decided to make significant digital transformations within the technology stacks.

Cloud Foundry competitive analysis

Substantial effort was put into a discovery process, initial rollout and deployment of open source Cloud Foundry. This journey helped develop the teams’ skill sets within the Cloud Foundry stack, but also introduced complexity along the way because of the integrations with different open source technologies. While the open-source forums and support guides were available to the team throughout the deployment, we decided that the enterprise support and capabilities delivered using the Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) stack would be the better long-term strategic direction.

The move to PCF enabled the team to deploy a fully functional Cloud Foundry stack faster and more consistently than the deployment using the open source version. PCF offers a smaller barrier to entry on several fronts, but one of the most important was the team did not have to spend cycles learning BOSH, a tool used to deploy open-source software. PCF also offers streamlined methods for ongoing upgrades and deployments which reduces our continuing operational costs for the platform.

Changes to Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment Pipeline

The key components of our Continuous Integration pipeline are:

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The following outlines the workflow for the Continuous Integration (CI) portion of the pipeline. It is a practice for repeatedly integrating, building and testing software.
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The following outlines how we move the developer in the Release & Deployment cycle. A release is a collection of individual deployments that occur together, moving changes through to the TEST and Production environments.

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By enabling these workflows our development teams have increased the speed of deployment and enabled our developers to self-provision and deploy applications. Today we are averaging over 140 builds and deployments daily compared to weeks for deployments in the past.

Engaging with Our Partner Network

The WWT CI/CD pipeline has been deployed by integrating multiple enterprise-leading technology platforms.

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Our CI/CD deployment pipeline provides WWT with a highly available environment across multiple data centers for disaster recovery purposes. To accomplish this, we leverage F5 Viprion devices to provide both LTM and GTM capabilities for our application stack. We are continuing to iterate on offering self-service capabilities for developers to provision VIPs that can be consumed by new applications.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry allows our CI/CD pipeline to function by enabling developers to rapidly provision and scale applications on demand without concerns for the underling infrastructure. Our entire PCF stack has been deployed on virtual machines running on dedicated VMware instances, which in turn is running on Cisco UCS infrastructure. The combination of technologies provides our IT Operations teams with a flexible and highly redundant environment because of the infrastructure-focused software-defined capabilities within the stack.

As we deployed the CI/CD pipeline, we quickly recognized that access logs in a container-based environment was more challenging than it had been in a traditional server-based application environment. To overcome this shortfall, we deployed Splunk as a centralized logging platform for both the PCF infrastructure stack as well as the applications that are running in PCF. This has given developers the ability to write custom logs that allow them more visibility into the day-to-day operations of their applications.

In the end, the integration of technologies has allowed the WWT IT group to quickly rollout out differentiating software as demanded by a high-growth business with shifting demands.