The Standard: One Pipeline to Rule Them All

| July 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

XL ReleaseIn just one year, The Standard Insurance Company automated and deployed over 300 applications into Production using a single XL Release template.

The software delivery stakes are high in the financial services industry. To remain competitive, organizations in this space must constantly deliver software improvements to meet customer needs. But in doing so, they must also account for and adhere to the constantly shifting industry requirements for governance, compliance, and security.

The Standard, an Insurance Services and Asset Management company with more than $26B under management, knows this tricky balancing act all too well.

And thus, they set a mandate: Improve the cycle time of delivering IT solutions to the business by improving the quality and speed of execution in Path to Production (P2P) processes.

To meet this mandate, The Standard knew they needed to automate their software delivery processes. Automation would help them:

  • Eliminate error prone and time-consuming manual tasks
  • Provide stronger traceability of what is deployed
  • Deliver higher quality products that reach production faster
  • Enable packaging and deployment of related technologies

Yet the tools in their delivery pipeline that drove automation created a variety of technology dependencies and other complexities that needed orchestration and control across teams and systems. They also needed visibility into the myriad processes.

Build and Release Engineers Karen Peterson and Fritz Staats recently shared their secrets to success during a XebiaLabs-hosted a seminar called, Setting the Standard for Scalable DevOps, held in Portland, Oregon, with XebiaLabs partner, Datical. Peterson and Staats took the stage to share how the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform helped them solve their orchestration problem and meet their delivery mandate.

Check out the video below to watch their entire presentation.


Video Highlights: “Build Once, Deploy Many”

Using the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform’s release orchestration solution, XL Release, The Standard solved their orchestration problem by creating “One pipeline to rule them all,” allowing them to automate their automation tools and processes.

“In XL Release… we have one template for all our customers. There’s not a hundred templates, or a template for every technology. We’ve strived really, really hard to have one template that we use for one release process that all of our release managers use for all the technologies,” said Staats.

Using a single XL Release template across the dozen technologies used in the pipeline significantly cut down on the time The Standard’s Build and Release team spends on maintenance work.

“As soon as you have two templates you have twice the maintenance work. As soon as you have a template for every technology you have 10 times the maintenance work. As soon as you have a template for every application, you have a hundred times, or a thousand times, the maintenance work.”

The team controls Jenkins, Maven, Gradle, MS Build, and Bash Script builds and more using this single XL Release pipeline, which orchestrates the multitude of different types of applications all the way to Production, including:

  • 49 JBOSS applications
  • 5 WAS (IBM WebSphere Application Server) applications
  • 3 Angular applications
  • 11 microservices
  • 57 SSRS (SQL server reporting services) projects
  • 131 DataStage projects
  • 3 database scripts using Datical

Once the build becomes a release candidate, XL Release controls release processes to all environments.

The Standard also uses the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform’s deployment automation module, XL Deploy, to generate scalable and repeatable deployment plans that allow them to automate and standardize deployments to any environment.

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The Standard’s Streamlined Success

In just one year, The Standard’s Build and Release team automated the release of hundreds of applications into Production using standardized processes in a single XL Release template.

With only a small team supporting a dozen Development teams across a large organization, creating standard, repeatable processes and enabling self-service was crucial. The XebiaLabs DevOps Platform gave them a platform that the entire business could rapidly adopt and use to onboard their processes.

“Today, across a dozen technologies, across 300 different applications, we still have one template and we have not run into any roadblocks in terms of our business processes, nor our abilities to support our customers… But it has to be a goal, it has to be a design intent in order to do that,” said Staats.

By using the XexbiaLabs DevOps Platform to automate deployments and create “One Pipeline to Rule Them All,” The Standard was able to meet their mandate and achieve:

  • Faster cycle times for delivering quality IT products to the business
  • Strong traceability of what’s been deployed
  • Automated rollbacks to previous deployments
  • Higher iteration rates

For more…


Chris Griffin

About the Author ()

Chris Griffin is Content Marketing Manager for XebiaLabs.