We recently geared up with Sofico’s existing CD process and the challenges it presented together with its search for a devops solution. Now read the conclusion as Sofico earns satisfaction through its own devops approaches.
Sofico Adopts DevOps Methods / Tools
Today, Sofico uses the Bamboo CI server to perform builds, deployments, and tests. Bamboo automates builds of the backend server, web interfaces, command line interfaces, and a Windows line. Sofico uses Bamboo to deploy its application builds. Sofico runs tests on software using tools such as Selenium for browser testing and functional tests.
Sofico runs Dynatrace monitoring together with the functional tests to gather performance data. “This gives us correlations between the functional outcomes, the performance outcomes, and the expected outcomes of the testing,” says Jan Swaelens, Software Architect and Member of Solution Management, Sofico.
“We actually created a custom Bamboo plug-in for that together with the people at Dynatrace in order to visualize the outputs of that correlation inside Bamboo,” says Swaelens. Sofico also uses JMeter to launch tests on servers and Dynatrace monitors those as well for performance metrics.
Sofico uses application tools to manage its Agile inner workings and to run reports on that. Sofico uses Stash to manage its code repositories where its developers do feature branching for new features. “Developers use the Dynatrace server to monitor their performance metrics for the features they’re building. It enables proactive monitoring of what they create, even before they commit the change to central testing,” says Swaelens.
So the developer does his regular testing and he also enables the agents that do the monitoring to identify errors. Sofico also does load testing using increasing loads for performance metrics, and performs tests for various use cases.
Using DevOps to expedite builds, tests, and deployments significantly decreases the number of times that something will go into production and need to come back for a fix. “We actually manage to stop software with errors before it gets to our customer. This is very critical because in our sector when, for example, we make a major mistake in billing software and the customer actually has that in their production environment, their customers are impacted,” says Swaelens. This is very expensive for the customer and for Sofico because then they have to fix the issue in as little as a day, which is not always possible.
The bumps in the road that Sofico experienced were in rolling out devops and adjusting to the new way of working. “We found that the impact on systems and processes was even larger than we were expecting. We restructured our old company at every layer from management down to the developers and testers,” says Swaelens.
Sofico redesigned every process so everyone could work in devops teams. All of Sofico’s existing methods and processes were analyzed to determine how the company functioned, why it worked that way, and to make sure the end result was still providing the same or better results.
The changes and improvements that devops made were far-reaching. Rather than making devops come to Sofico, Sofico had to gravitate towards devops, change its business culture, and break down all its silos. “We went all in to get to the next level and do more business globally. Because we’re not just one company, we had to spread devops across all our sub-companies around the world,” says Swaelens.
Sofico can draw a straight line between adopting devops and the speed with which it can now grow globally to increase customer uptake of its offerings. The software quality and timeliness of delivery are where they should be. Sofico’s people are happier, too.
Sofico has relocated its teams together into the same space. Consultants, developers, testers, and operations staff are sitting physically together in the same areas. People are working together and talking with each other to derive the best solutions and to improve efficiency. “We actually have cases of people blossoming because they are seeing whole new parts of the business and working in new ways that we could never have imagined,” says Swaelens. Where Sofico’s people once saw only their piece of the development puzzle, they now see the entire process. They know the full value of their work.