A crucial part of the process involved educating Nav’s 50 engineers and being transparent regarding the new workflow as well as the roadmap for the migration. Jeppson did regular presentations along the way, and a week of four-hours-a-day labs for the entire staff of engineers. He then created a repository in GitLab
to house all of the information. “We showed all the frontend and backend developers how to go in, create their own namespace using kubectl
, all themselves,” he says. “Now, a lot of times, they just come to us and say, ‘This is ready.’ We click a little button in GitLab to allow it to release into production, and they’re off to the races.”
Since the migration was completed in early 2018, the results have been impressive: Resource utilization, which led the company on this path in the first place, has increased from 1% to 40%. Launching a new service used to take two developers two weeks; now it takes only one developer less than 10 minutes. Deployments have increased 5x, from 10 a day to 50 a day. And the company is saving 50% in infrastructure costs on the computational side. “Next we want to go in to address the database side, and once we do that, then we’re going to continue to drop that cost quite a bit more,” says Jeppson.
Kubernetes has also helped Nav with its compliance needs. Before, “we had to map one application to one server, mostly due to different compliance regulations around data,” Jeppson says. “With the Kubernetes API, we could add in network policies and segregate that data and restrict it if needed.” The company segregates its cluster into an unrestricted zone and a restricted zone, which has its own set of nodes where data protection happens. The company also uses the Twistlock
tool to ensure security, “and that makes it a lot easier to sleep at night,” he adds.
With Kubernetes in place, the Nav team also started improving the system’s metrics and logging by adopting Prometheus
. “Prometheus created a standard around metrics that was really easy for a developer to adopt,” says Jeppson. “They have the freedom to display what they want, to do what they need, and keep their codebase clean, and that to us was absolutely a must.”
Next up for Nav in the coming year: looking at tracing, storage, and service mesh. They’re currently evaluating Envoy
, and Jaeger
after spending much of KubeCon talking to other companies. “The community is absolutely vital: being able to pass ideas around, talk about a lot of the similar challenges that we’re all facing, and just get help. I like that we’re able to tackle the same problems for different reasons but help each other along the way,” says Jeppson. “There’s still so, so much to do around scalability, around being able to really fully adopt a cloud native solution.”
Of course, it all starts with Kubernetes. With that technology, Jeppson’s team has built a platform that allows Nav to scale, and that “has brought so much value to Nav by allowing all of these new freedoms that we had just never had before,” he says.
Conversations about new products used to be bogged down by the fact they’d have to wait six months to get an environment set up with isolation and then figure out how to handle spikes of traffic. “But now it’s just nothing to us,” says Jeppson. “We’re talking four to 10 times the amount of traffic that we handle now, and it’s just like, ‘Oh, yeah. We’re good. Kubernetes handles this for us.’”