Luxe: How They Are Leveraging Spinnaker to Deploy to AWS

Jan 21, 2017 by Ben Mappen

Pawel Gieniec (VP Engineering) and Kevin Woo (Software Engineer) at Luxe talk about how they are leveraging Spinnaker to deploy to AWS.

Topics discussed:

  • How long have you been using Spinnaker?
  • What motivated you to try Spinnaker?
  • How did you deploy to production before Spinnaker?
  • What problems does Spinnaker solve for you?
  • What advice would you give to someone who is evaluating Spinnaker?

Here’s a Transcript

Ben: My name is Ben. I am one of the founders of Armory. And I’m here with Kevin and Powell from Luxe. And today we’re going to be talking about Spinnaker. So do you guys want to just quickly introduce yourselves?

Powell: Sure. I’m [inaudible – 00:14] Luxe. And it’s been cutting away, building up the infrastructure [inaudible].

Kevin: I’m Kevin. I’ve been using Spinnaker for about a year now. And I’ve been with Luxe for about two years.

Ben: Cool. For everyone watching, I’m not sure they know what Luxe is. Do you want to just give a quick elevator pitch for Luxe because it’s an amazing service?

Powell: Sure. [inaudible – 00:41] service. [inaudible] few cities in the U.S., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Austin, Texas. Basically, the way it works is in every one of these cities, we have [the zone – 00:51]. You just drop [inaudible] before you get into your car, hit reserve, drive toward it. You have a valet there. [inaudible] dispatch them. And we basically pick up your car. You go around [inaudible] do whatever you want. And you want your car back, you drop a [inaudible – 01:06]. Your car comes back to you. It’s basically [inaudible].

Kevin: [inaudible] services for [inaudible] and [inaudible] and the [inaudible].

Ben: Wow. The guys in the blue jacket and the scooters, people have seen them around San Francisco. I know they’re all from my neighborhood. My first question is how long have you been using Spinnaker. And the follow-up is what motivated you to seek out a new deployment solution?

Powell: We’ve been using Spinnaker since January of 2016, so about a year now. We’ve had it basically managing all of our production, staging, and development environments. So we’ve got quite a bit of experience running it. What motivated us to move over to Spinnaker was basically we were looking into using auto-scaling and something better than basically Ansible to manage our infrastructure. We evaluated Ansible. We evaluated Chef, and then we evaluated Spinnaker. And we settled on Spinnaker. We liked its general philosophy and the fact that it’s really cloud agnostic.

Ben: What were the technologies you were using before Spinnaker to deploy?

Powell: We were using a bunch of Ansible scripts.

Ben: What were the main benefits that Spinnaker brought to the table once you started deploying?

Powell: When we were using Ansible, we were running into issues where Ansible kept our [inaudible – 02:40] Linux kernels a few times. And [inaudible] basically get us to [inaudible], so the disk space is full. So that solved the problem with Spinnaker by it [inaudible] clusters every time it deploys.

Ben: What are the things that you love about Spinnaker since you’ve been using it for almost a year now?

Kevin: [inaudible – 03:02]. If there are any problems, it’s just a single click. And we just wait for the clusters [inaudible]. We were looking for auto-scaling. And then [inaudible – 03:14] and everything, so everybody could understand. It’s really reliable, especially because there’s no dependency on [inaudible – 03:26]. So as soon as the [inaudible], it just used that to deploy. And it’s just [inaudible] deployment. So we had something very [inaudible].

Ben: Just to give a sense of the scale of your operations, how many apps are you guys deploying? How frequently, how many pipelines do you have running through Spinnaker, roughly?

Powell: That’s a great question. Probably about 40-50, multiply that by 3 environments, like 150…

Kevin: 4 environments.

Powell: Oh, 4 environments, sorry. So it’s about 200 pipelines.

Ben: And how many times do you deploy to prod per day, week, month?

Powell: Multiple times a day.

Ben: Before Spinnaker and then compare that to now, what are the big changes in the organization, even from a business level, that was enabled through this new deployment tool and methodology and philosophy?

Powell: I think that’s much more centralized. Everybody can see [inaudible – 04:43] through a dashboard what’s going on, which pipelines are getting deployed, obviously, the progress that they’re making. If something does break, then we can communicate that out very easily. And we can also look into deployment [node – 04:59] notifications into Spinnaker, which we really like.

Kevin: The deployments for our engineers are really simple. There’s not a lot of setup for them. When we set it up initially, they can just [inaudible – 05:10] and then [inaudible] straight up.

Powell: It’s also like nothing for them to install it [inaudible – 05:14] Ansible and set anything up. In that way, they just literally use Spinnaker through the web and they’re ready to go.

Ben: What would you say to a company that was evaluating Spinnaker but they’re not quite sure if they want to use it? What would you tell them?

Powell: Honestly, for me, it’s the reliability. It’s like [inaudible – 05:36] decide to go down in the middle of deploy when we’re using Ansible. We have a problem. With Spinnaker, it kind of manages your deployments with the baking phase. It’s just much less headache. And you never have to worry about that. So it’s much more reliable in that sense.

Kevin: Along with the same lines, I really [inaudible – 05:57] rollbacks. So the rollbacks are… They just swap over. We do a red flag when the clusters are ready. And it allows everybody to roll back. There doesn’t really need to be… It allows us a little [inaudible – 06:12] to get [inaudible].

Powell: And also, basically, [inaudible]. We don’t have [inaudible]. In the most situations, like if we ever roll out [inaudible – 06:21] in production, that is not [inaudible]. But by our unit test, we can just roll back [inaudible] 30 seconds of downtime, which is phenomenal.

Ben: That’s awesome. I think those are all my questions for today. Thank you, Kevin and Powell, for taking the time to spend with us. And lastly, everyone go and try Luxe. It’s an amazing service if you have trouble parking, especially in urban cities. It’s a great service.

Kevin: Thank you.

Ben: All right. See you.

Kevin: Bye.

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