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5 Convincing Reasons That Pushed Netflix Teams To Adopt Spinnaker

Adopting Spinnaker

Over the past few years, Netflix teams have gradually adopted Spinnaker to the point where it now deploys over 95% of all their cloud-based infrastructure. But this wide-scale adoption process had to be approached strategically. 

They couldn't just stroll into work one day and tell everyone, "Hey, so you know all those well-established processes for software delivery you guys have worked so hard to put in place? Trash them. You're using Spinnaker now."

There's a good chance if you took this my-way-or-the-highway approach with your own team, they'd revolt. So what Netflix wisely chose to do instead was "make Spinnaker irresistible" and let their teams decide whether to adopt it or not. 

Here are the main reasons why each team ended up welcoming Spinnaker with open arms. (You can then use these same reasons to nudge your own team to adopt the platform.)

1. Automated Canary Analysis (ACA) 

Before Spinnaker, teams over at Netflix would formulate their own methods to leverage the canary engine for testing software before it reached production. 

Typically, teams had to oversee every step of the process, from launching the clusters to tearing them down. It was a repetitive and time-consuming process that was inevitably prone to human error. 

Also read:  Automated Canary Analysis and How Netflix Uses It For Better Software

Enter Spinnaker, a centralized platform that democratizes ACA and makes it simple to use. With Spinnaker, teams could iterate quicker since they no longer had to deal with infrastructure setup and teardown. 

2. Secure by default

Aside from making complex best practices easy to adopt and use, Spinnaker also enforces default security measures. 

Netflix teams warmed up to Spinnaker when they realized it automatically sets security groups and IAM roles to ensure all infrastructure aligns with the security team's recommendations.

Furthermore, Spinnaker signs the clusters it creates so they can verify themselves and get credentials from Netflix's internal credential management system, Metatron.

3. Consistency across cloud providers

If you deploy to multiple cloud environments, you'll be familiar with the headache involved with crafting a specific deployment for each one. 

Spinnaker abstracts away the complexities of each cloud provider and provides a standard interface for straightforward deployments — regardless of the target. This consistency ultimately results in increased productivity for the team and also facilitates the creation of tools that support the cloud landscape. 
 

4. Reuse existing deployments

Spinnaker was designed based on micro-services with a high level of modularity and pluggability. This makes the platform flexible enough to integrate with existing workflows while also meeting specific business needs. 

Most Netflix teams already had Jenkins workflows put in place, so it was a relief to find that Spinnaker could simply be plugged into their existing Jenkins jobs. The fact that adopting Spinnaker doesn't mean teams must completely replace existing deployments is a major benefit for developers everywhere. 

Also read: Getting Smart with Spinnaker Pipelines

5. Robust and dependable support

When Netflix teams first started with Spinnaker, the engineers who worked on the platform were readily available to help teams throughout the adoption process. Even now, many of these contributors are active users on the Spinnaker Slack Channel, along with over 5,000 other developers ready to help.

Migrating existing deployments and customizing Spinnaker to your organization is becoming increasingly simple thanks to, what the Spinnaker ebook describes as, "the passionate open source community dedicated to making deployment pain go away."

Bring the benefits of Spinnaker to your organization 

With more and more teams adopting Spinnaker worldwide, it would be wise to get to know what this CD platform can do for you. You can catch the insightful Webinar: Get to Know Spinnaker for a brief 101 and a list of resources on how to get started.

To truly understand why Spinnaker is the most powerful CD tool on the market today, join us at the Spinnaker Summit this year (and every year!). From keynotes led by Netflix Engineers to a Google-sponsored lounge party with the entire Spinnaker community, this is the event of the year for anyone working in software.

Register for your ticket here

Continuous Deployment, Spinnaker, Continuous Delivery, Teams

J. Medeiros

Written by J. Medeiros

Jenny is an engineer turned tech writer. She has hands-on experience in VR, AR, video game development, and UX-focused web design. Nowadays, she partners with tech companies to create content that helps people understand new technologies. In her spare time, she hangs with Netflix and tests her Alexa's patience.

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