From the beginning, Lacerte says, "My idea was: Let’s create an environment where teams can deploy their services faster, and they will say, ‘Okay, I don’t want to build in the monolith anymore. I want to build a service.’" (Lacerte left the company in 2019.)
Working with the operations team, Lacerte’s group got more control and access to the company’s AWS infrastructure
, and started prototyping several orchestration technologies. "Back then, Kubernetes was a little underground, unknown," he says. "But we looked at the community, the number of pull requests, the velocity on GitHub, and we saw it was getting traction. And we found that it was much easier for us to manage than the other technologies."
They spun up the first few services on Kubernetes using Chef
provisioning, and as more services were added, more automation was, too. "We have clusters around the world—in Korea, in Australia, in Germany, and in the U.S.," says Lacerte. "Automation is critical for us." They’re now largely using Kops
, and are looking at managed Kubernetes offerings from several cloud providers.
Today, though the monolith still exists, there are fewer and fewer commits and features. All teams are deploying on the new infrastructure, and services are the norm. AppDirect now has more than 50 microservices in production and 15 Kubernetes clusters deployed on AWS and on premise around the world.
Lacerte’s strategy ultimately worked because of the very real impact the Kubernetes platform has had to deployment time. Due to less dependency on custom-made, brittle shell scripts with SCP commands, time to deploy a new version has shrunk from 4 hours to a few minutes. Additionally, the company invested a lot of effort to make things self-service for developers. "Onboarding a new service doesn’t require Jira
tickets or meeting with three different teams," says Lacerte. Today, the company sees 1,600 deployments per week, compared to 1-30 before.