When Dhawal Patel joined Nordstrom
five years ago as an application developer for the retailer’s website, he realized there was an opportunity to help speed up development cycles.
In those early DevOps days, Nordstrom Technology still followed a traditional model of silo teams and functions. "As a developer, I was spending more time fixing environments than writing code and adding value to business," Patel says. "I was passionate about that—so I was given the opportunity to help fix it."
The company was eager to move faster, too, and in 2013 launched the first continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) project. That project was the first step in Nordstrom’s cloud native journey.
Dev and Ops team members built a CI/CD pipeline, working with the company’s servers on premise. The team chose Chef
, and wrote cookbooks that automated virtual IP creation, servers, and load balancing. "After we completed the project, deployment went from three months to 30 minutes," says Patel. "We still had multiple environments—dev, test, staging, then production—so with each environment running the Chef cookbooks, it took 30 minutes. It was a huge achievement at that point."
But new environments still took too long to turn up, so the next step was working in the cloud. Today, Nordstrom Technology has built an enterprise platform that allows the company’s 1,500 developers to deploy applications running as Docker containers in the cloud, orchestrated with Kubernetes.