Cloud-First With DevOps Automation
Volusion sought expertise in cloud transformation and DevOps automation to drive efficiency and quality as it modernized its ecommerce platform.
Volusion partnered with NTT DATA to apply Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and data-driven deployment tools to its software development workflows on the Google Cloud Platform.
Cloud-first strategies present enterprises with powerful digital transformation opportunities, including rapid software development environments and on-demand, scalable application delivery. But implementing those strategies can be challenging. Myriad tools from multiple vendors and complex roadmaps have the potential to overwhelm the best of an enterprise’s already busy IT team. That is why Volusion, an ecommerce platform provider, turned to NTT DATA to help it further unlock the power of the cloud.
- Applies IaC tools to the deployment of Kubernetes clusters for secure, repeatable deployment
- Automates quality gate, data-driven application delivery and deployment
- Installs DevOps automation across two microservices in seven weeks
- Shrinks production error rate for greater customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Scales seamlessly to support 180K global companies
- Streamlines CI/CD pipeline for accelerated code development to ensure quality and reliability
Ecommerce: rapid growth, cloud perfect
Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities in the world. In 2020, retail ecommerce sales globally totaled 4.28 trillion US dollars, with projected double-digit revenue growth. To meet that demand, merchants continue to establish and grow their online presence.
Often those merchants seek out third-party ecommerce solutions, relying on a platform to orchestrate the complete shopping experience as well as deliver robust marketing analytics.
Founded in 1999, Volusion provides an all-in-one ecommerce platform that helps over 180,000 merchants create and manage successful online businesses. Volusion has won dozens of accolades for its platform’s ease of use, rich feature set, performance and security.
Volusion hosts its ecommerce solution on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The company actively modernizes its solution to ensure that it continues to deliver the capabilities on which its customers rely and takes advantage of the powerful digital transformation potential offered by GCP.
Volusion sought to apply advanced DevOps software development practices as part of its cloud-first strategy. Though Volusion has an application development team, the company looked for a consulting partner with strong GCP and DevOps expertise for additional support, ultimately choosing NTT DATA.
“DevOps wasn’t new to us. We had already begun implementing those workflows in our development environment,” says Ian Cervantez, director of architecture for Volusion. “But we were looking for a partner to advise us and then empower us with the best practices available. We chose NTT DATA because of its strength in DevOps and cloud transformation expertise.”
Volusion wanted to optimize its continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) software development pipeline with a focus on implementing automated and data-driven code development tools.
Cervantez says, “It was also vital to us that we could be self-sufficient with our CI/CD going forward. NTT DATA was committed to collaboration and knowledge transfer throughout the entire engagement.”
The Volusion and NTT DATA team focused on two Cloud Transformation and Application Modernization automation initiatives:
- Deploying infrastructure as code (IaC)
- Optimizing continuous deployment with system monitoring and quality gates
Infrastructure as code – automated and stable environment deployment
IaC is a key DevOps practice that enables the provision and management of computing environments through machine-readable configuration files rather than through manual workflows.
In the process, IaC ensures that the same environment is reliably provisioned every time throughout the software development cycle, including test and production. Moreover, environments can be deployed rapidly and at scale with less risk.
As a proof of concept, NTT DATA applied IaC to two of the microservices in Volusion’s ecommerce platform. Those microservices are orchestrated in four Kubernetes clusters. By applying Terraform, HashiCorp’s open-source IaC tool, NTT DATA gave Volusion the ability to define those clusters and supporting infrastructure as code.
Volusion can now deploy Kubernetes clusters with a simplified, automated workflow assured that each environment is built with a consistent, best-practice design.
Automated and data-driven code deployment
Debugging code becomes much more complex and expensive as it moves through the software lifecycle from development to staging and ultimately production. Therefore, Volusion sought methods to accelerate its microservices CI/CD pipeline while also identifying quality issues as early as possible in the software development lifecycle.
NTT DATA introduced Volusion to two automation solutions to address that need: the open-source Prometheus toolkit and Keptn from Dynatrace:
- Prometheus is a systems monitoring toolkit that collects performance metrics of applications and infrastructure. It uses that data to generate code health alerts based on user-defined parameters.
- Keptn is an automated central control plane that, when integrated with Prometheus alerts, can be used to establish metrics-based quality control gates through which code must pass before it can advance from dev through staging to production. In addition, it continues to monitor code while in production to identify any problems and help remediate them as soon as possible.
In combination, the two solutions now give Volusion an automated, data-driven system to identify code problems early in the development lifecycle and ensure the health of applications into production. By identifying potential issues early in the process, the team can save hours of troubleshooting time at a fraction of the cost while growing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Committed to knowledge transfer
The companies collaborated continuously throughout the successful IaC and data-driven code deployment implementations, accomplishing both in seven weeks following Agile methodologies. NTT DATA held reviews at the end of each development sprint, delivered live and recorded library knowledge transfer sessions and created “how-to” runbooks and repository readmes.
Cervantez says, “NTT DATA gave us valuable insight into applying DevOps automation to our software development workflows. Now we’re in a fantastic position to apply the learning and tools to the rest of the microservices in our application stack to drive even more value for our customers.”
Volusion automates the development of its ecommerce web application on the Google Cloud Platform.