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How 3 Major Teams Resolved Their Cloud Deployment Headaches With Spinnaker

Posted by Jenny Medeiros on Sep 28, 2018 5:30:00 PM
Jenny Medeiros
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In 2015, Netflix released Spinnaker in an effort to share the joy of predictable deployments. Today, dozens of Global 2,000 companies use Spinnaker to automate deployments across multiple cloud targets with more confidence and velocity than ever before. 

If you're still on the fence about this popular open source platform, here's how the teams over at Target, Waze, and Skuid went from battling deployment headaches to rolling out new software at the click of a button. 


When Target began deploying parts of their website to the cloud, they found that deploying code with their in-house platform was "cumbersome and not adherent to cloud best practices", according to their blog post on GitHub.

As a result, they began looking into other CI/CD platforms and eventually stumbled upon Spinnaker. Once they realized that this particular platform could easily integrate with their existing CI tools and support deploying to major cloud providers while codifying best practices, it was a done deal.

While the Target team met their fair share of challenges while setting up Spinnaker, they were able to configure the platform with the help of Netflix and Google Cloud Platform engineers. Now with Spinnaker up and running, the Target team is able to quickly and reliably deploy to diverse cloud targets across various regions with zero-downtime.


We've already covered how Waze uses Spinnaker to breeze through deployments, but at Google Next 2018, Tom Feiner (Infrastructure Team Lead at Google) revealed more details about how Waze benefits from using Spinnaker.

Feiner explained that Waze, the crowd-sourced navigation tool, generates a "mind-boggling amount of data streaming" through the app, resulting in hundreds of server groups and thousands of instances. This meant developers had to jump through various hoops to deploy a backend service into production and rollbacks were extremely painful.

As the company scaled and moved to the cloud, creating a new instance, deploying to multiple cloud targets, and subsequent troubleshooting would be nothing less than a complete nightmare. Fortunately, Netflix could relate to this problem and kindly introduced Waze to Spinnaker.

Feiner was instantly attracted to Spinnaker's easy, one-click rollbacks and stated that "developers could now ship, get feedback, and monitor the system through a single pane of glass." Furthermore, since deployments had become practically self-service, developers could focus on getting new features and bug fixes out faster for users to enjoy.


During our interview with Armory's Community Engineer Ethan Rogers, he recalled a few things he discovered while working as an Engineer at Skuid: 1) He loved working with Kubernetes; 2) A lot of custom code was needed to make their deployments work; 3) Deployments were downright horrifying.

Rogers explained that they were running multiple Kubernetes clusters across multiple regions and writing hundreds of lines of code was the only way they knew how to deploy code to all of them. Another problem was no one on the Engineering team would know what version was running in every environment, meaning they had to constantly poke the DevOps team for answers.

These problems continued until Rogers attended the Netflix RE:Invent talk in 2016 and realized that Spinnaker was their dream solution. It gave teams access to all the necessary information, easily shipped software the same way for diverse cloud targets, and could also talk to Kubernetes. He rushed back to Skuid with this revelation and the company hasn't looked back since. Rogers said of the platform:

"Spinnaker’s main purpose is to eliminate friction in one of the highest leverage areas of software engineering. The quicker you can deliver meaningful software, the quicker you can innovate. Your customers get the product that they need, when they need it." 

If you're interested in hearing more about what Rogers has to say about Spinnaker and how it measures up against other deployment tools, don't miss his talk at the annual Spinnaker Summit. Spots are notorious for filling up fast so get your ticket here while you still can.


Topics: Continuous Deployment, Spinnaker, DevOps, Kubernetes