Platform migration for reecetech with improved deployment and efficiency

The opportunity at a glance

Cevo partnered with reecetech to help support new ways of working, building internal capability with their team on continuous integration and continuous delivery practices.

Industry

Customer overview

reecetech is the internal technology function of the larger Reece Group – Australia’s largest supplier of plumbing and bathroom products (and eight other allied businesses).

 

Business challenge

As part of Reece Group’s overall strategic objective to create a modern, technology-enabled workplace, reecetech had identified a need to decommission their on-premise legacy Docker orchestration systems and migrate onto Kubernetes.

Specific objectives for this particular piece of work were to:

  • Accelerate the conversion from Genero (a monolithic 4GL) to microservices
  • Deliver a robust, reliable and scalable platform for containerised workloads using Kubernetes
  • Future-proofing to streamline migration to managed infrastructure platforms like Cloud.

reecetech recognised they needed external input and collaboration to identify current bottlenecks and help build internal capabilities around Kubernetes.

Solution

reecetech engaged Cevo to assist with the migration project. The first stage of the project involved working together to design and build an initial test platform.

This was followed by the creation of the delivery teams’ test clusters. reecetech were already using and comfortable with Ansible, so use of this tooling was continued for building a repeatable, testable process and, in addition, providing value in facilitating future updates and enhanced scaling capability. With this phase complete, delivery engineering and application delivery teams collaborated to create a migration pattern for each type of project and moved applications one by one to the new environment. In parallel, the delivery engineering team improved the cluster, taking the feedback given by application delivery teams for each migration.

This incremental approach also allowed resources allocated to the legacy Docker orchestration cluster to be transferred to Kubernetes along the way. The legacy internal cluster has now been successfully decommissioned, and its resources are available for re-allocation to value-generating workloads.

Whilst undertaking the initial project requirements, it was identified that this was also a project in people and change management. Leveraging their skills in building team capability, Cevo helped reecetech reshape ways of working as well as training delivery teams in Kubernetes and CI/CD. Additionally, it was realised that the project scope needed to include observability; monitoring the behaviour and performance of applications, so that delivery teams could support them successfully.

Benefits

By adopting the new platform and implementing Kubernetes, reecetech have achieved a number of significant benefits:

  • The ability to identify, describe and consolidate test processes easily
  • An increase in the speed of deployment by an order of magnitude, thereby improving team throughput, efficiency and productivity
  • Coupled with the above is an achieved decrease in deployment failures caused by the platform from approximately 80% to near zero
  • Due to increased observability and reporting functionality within delivery teams, mean time to recover on any application failures has also been significantly reduced
  • A superior path for continuous updates of the platform, which protects against security vulnerabilities and provides newer functionality
  • The growing community behind Kubernetes and the supporting tools in the ecosystem has enabled reecetech to benefit from open source solutions, reducing the overhead of building and maintaining unnecessary in-house applications. Further, using a more widely adopted and used platform will help attract future talent to the team
  • Increased ability for feature delivery teams to self-service when releasing features and fixes to product