devops

How does DevOps help Arelion to be a new-generation telecom

Chaos Gears is successfully processing Arelion’s cloud migration from 2020. Parallel to that migration process, our dedicated Operations teams maintain, support and develop the cloud environment as part of an extended cooperation service agreement with the client.

Client

devops culture

Closer collaboration and a shared responsibility

As part of cooperation with the client, we provide the architect, DevOps experts, delivery manager, project owner and the migration team with improving overall service stability and features. These include: 

  • Daily improvements to existing AWS workloads.
  • Implementing patches and solving incidents.
  • A 24/7 alert for monitoring and addressing configuration issues. 
  • Continuous development work and systems optimization.
  • Meeting compliance and other business goals. 

Alongside these efforts, we also track efficiency and improve integration processes. All of this is transparently delivered by our autonomous team with as-needed communications to help align people, processes, and tools with a strong and unified customer-focused process.

The Chaos Gears team’s main goal is to inject proactive thought processes and best practices into daily operations. Through these, we aim to spend approximately 20% of our sprints’ time on the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) cycle, delivering:

  • Observability - where our engineers monitor and analyze issues, recent incidents,and bottlenecks to plan how we can improve or change the systems. 
  • Improve - Operations Backlog refilling with new ideas or quick-wins called “auto-actions”. These are implemented through self-healing automated scripts, pieces of the code, WR/CR - Work/Change Requests promoted to the Operations Backlog as a future task. 

The remaining part of that process relies on the Operations part of the team covering daily tasks. These can be requested by the customer’s Product Owners, SRE shift or as an outcome of findings from the monitoring team. They also cover SLA tasks, mainly focused on incident management and overall monitoring of service improvements.

We have a customer-centric attitude, so we present all reports and metrics during monthly meetings attended by all stakeholders on both the client's and Chaos Gears’ sides. The greatest benefit of this approach is that all people are aware and kept up to date with the latest implementations, workflows, and future demands.

best practices based approach

Automation as an essential part

We created centralized CI/CD pipelines with GitHub Actions, planning to share workloads that are maintained in a single repository and used across the organization. 

In addition, we set up the ArgoCD platform for the deployment of containerized applications to Kubernetes clusters on AWS to apply GitOps practices. 

We automated individual stages of change delivery to the code or for conducting tests. As a result, this approach speeds up the process of introducing changes to the production environment significantly and makes them more reliable. Finally, we are able to minimize the risk of errors being introduced to code. 

Taking a DevOps approach allows our team to add new functions, fix errors, and work faster and more efficiently. This is the most important benefit, with the client able to observe the team delivering improvements and benefits across development and operations, with aligned people and processes. This streamlined approach allows clients and developers to see positive results and a clear set of future goals.

Close communication between team and client reveals our developers sharing knowledge about the systems, and the SRE team's willingness to understand applications. This lets us design and implement the most suitable infrastructure and monitoring solutions that bring value to the client. 

Reviews and testing pipelines enabled the organization to deliver improvements faster. Through guidance and support to the dev teams, providing them with the knowledge they need to submit changes, simultaneously ensuring reliability, security, and compliance by designing testing pipelines, reviews, and close collaboration with specialists like SRE or Cloud engineers. 

By creating the standards for collaboration between development and migration teams, and building a knowledge base around migrated systems that contains troubleshooting support information and architecture descriptions creates long-term value and shortens the time needed to solve future issues.

1st wave finished together

DevOps tools and services

The AWS services and other technologies that support business and DevOps culture

The DevOps culture was crucial for implementing an observability system using the DataDog platform and defining all agreed-on organization-wide standards. With knowledge about how applications should behave, the SRE team can propose gathering key metrics and events. 

Implementing this approach and creating alerts and notifications that are essential to good performance creates a strong baseline. Then, by spreading this knowledge in the form of analytics, documents and meetings, other teams can learn and implement the approach on their own. The SRE supervisory was critical to maintaining consistency for configurations. 

We implemented many various AWS Services. The AWS Config services and Service Control Policies functionality allowed the creation and development of compliance verification mechanisms. By preparing the custom standard, EC2 instances of AWS workloads are able to use the latest updates of Amazon Machine Image. We provided a template for securely storing and reading secrets using AWS Secrets Manager and Hashicorp Vault. We use AWS Backup for backing up essential data. Building a custom template based on an S3 bucket allowed us to minimize log storage costs in the long term. We created a highly effective blue/green deployment solution for EKS based on GitHub actions and helm charts while maintaining the Infrastructure as a Code approach. We constantly develop the infrastructure using Terraform. 

The benefits of DevOps culture

The introduction of DevOps culture, practices and tools has delivered an improved performance for Arelion. Through the high-performance DevOps approach, rapid software delivery, improved and automated security and compliance testing, solution optimization and rapid response are part of business as usual. 

By adopting a best-practices-based approach, Arelion is evolving into a performance-based IT organization, with our support for multiple accounts, and hundreds of AWS instances. It can address new challenges faster and scale business better, with improved communications thanks to this cultural shift that will benefit the business whatever challenges it faces.    

Technology Stack

AWS Config

AWS Organization

Amazon EC2

Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

AWS Secrets Manager

AWS Backup

Amazon S3

Amazon EKS

Datadog

Terraform