Platform migration for improved deployment, throughput and efficiency
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).
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.
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.
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 production.
The training and capability building within internal teams at reecetech has reduced time and costs associated with previously significant business-as-usual support (estimated to have been 30% of the infrastructure team’s spend), which is now been made available to deliver value.
This project has already built internal team confidence and capabilities, and sets reecetech up for migration to a hybrid cloud platform in the future.