Case Study: AltoStack Enables An International Educational Services Organisation Automate Their Software Delivery Pipeline


Educational Services


AWS CloudFormation, Drupal, Wordpress



The Challenge

Whilst the company had enjoyed a position at the forefront of its industry, it was beginning to experience increased competition from upcoming players. In keeping with a 'bi-modal' philosophy, the company wanted to overhaul the existing infrastructure and replace the old hosted code base which was out of date and inflexible.

The client was particularly challenged in being able to take code from check-in all the way through the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) to initial build and into production. A preemptive step to remain competitive would help the company both support more modern versions and increase release efficiency and frequency. The client also sought to create a 'fail fast' model in which the company could release quickly enough to be able to pivot and adapt in a more agile way.

The Solution

The company approached AltoStack and asked for an innovative solution to its challenges. AltoStack’s response was a blend of both tactical and strategic value, with a recommendation to not immediately sunset the old code, but rather automate the existing release processes and replace manual work, which was prone to errors and not scalable. This approach would also de-risk any future migration initiative.

In short, AltoStack sought to make what the client currently possessed as usable as possible and ensure the “lights were kept on” so that customer satisfaction was maintained. AltoStack worked with the Director of DevOps, who headed up the “Development Operations Group”. Through a proof-of-concept (POC) development cycle, AltoStack illustrated how an automated approach using various tools was possible. In keeping with AltoStack’s philosophy of increasing skill sets within a client’s internal team, it embedded its expert talent within the client’s team and built the POC in direct collaboration with them.

AltoStack approached the problem by composing a set of services to work together under the philosophy of exposing the state of artifacts moving through each phase of an automated pipeline for full visibility, transparency and governance.

The Business Outcome

The client’s back-end team now sees and embraces how they can automate their development pipeline without being dogmatic as to how various engineering teams build their software.

Provided each development group consumes the pipeline through well-defined contracts, their services will be tested and exposed through Consul’s DNS and key/value services.

Each phase of a package and its previous build history now becomes quickly available to development managers, exposing any test failures and regressions so they can be remedied earlier in the SDLC. This approach costs far less when compared to uncovering test failures at a stage closer to production.

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