aucobo

An Accelerated CI/CD Pipeline Might Just Be the Competitive Advantage You Need

CONTRIBUTED BY ALEXANDER BERGMANN, DEVOPS ENGINEER, AUCOBO

 

In a mature market, you might be neck-and-neck with the competition. A little burst of speed can push you ahead. In aucobo’s case, we are the market. We’re in a space with little competition, but we know that won’t last. For us, moving fast is about staying way ahead of the competition, because we know it’s only a matter of time before a big company makes a move.

 

To understand what we do, first start by picturing a factory. What do you see? The truth is, while factories use a lot of technology, most are stuck in the ’80s in one essential way. When something goes wrong on the shop floor—a machine malfunctions or supplies run out—there’s this same basic response. A siren goes off, a red light flashes, and no one knows why.

 

An employee looks at a static screen, trying to work out what happened. The screen might tell them what went wrong, but not who to call or how to fix it. Remember, we’re in a factory. You’re not surrounded by the pleasant white noise of an office or coffee shop. These machines are loud, and everyone is occupied at their station.

 

To fix this problem, the employee now has to go find someone and explain the situation somewhere a bit quieter. Only then will that machine get fixed. This results in a lot of downtime, and everyone else in the company is still in the dark about the holdup. This inefficient process is how factories have worked for decades.

 

This is where aucobo comes in. Our industry wearable solution connects employees with machines and the factory’s internal manufacturing execution systems (MES) to improve the workflow on the shop floor.

 

No need to move to a separate computer terminal, search for help, or find a quiet space: notifications are right there to read on your smartwatch. This seamless experience is less cumbersome than another device, since it’s always with a worker and leaves their hands free. They see the alert on their smartwatch and know the machine is down or is out of material. From their watch, they can request new material or ask someone to come help. A timer feature tells them how long until they can expect the problem to be fixed.

 

It’s not just the worker who’s aware of the problem. A supervisor or process owner sees the issue and can direct the shop floor via messages to the smartwatches. Everyone has the information they need right in front of them: whether it’s error messages associated with mobile machine operation, planned maintenance, or warehouse intralogistics. This is how aucobo transforms ’80s factories into future-ready manufacturers.

 

EXPANSION IS HARD, ESPECIALLY WITH A SMALL TEAM

 

This is an exciting place to work since we’re defining a market. We have that startup feel: Everyone here joined because they love what they do and we’re motivated by the potential to lead the company’s processes and growth.

 

Every post is filled by a single person, where at a larger company they might have ten people. We have one mobile developer, one back-end developer, one front-end, and one solutions architect. Then there’s me. I joined aucobo a year ago as a DevOps engineer. My job was to streamline our development processes so aucobo can continue to stay ahead of this market.

 

A single person responsible for each role means everyone needs to be hyper-focused. It’s true at startups, but it’s also the reality at larger companies that need to move fast: We can’t waste our time on unimportant tasks.

 

Deploying our installer for our customers was incredibly time-consuming. On top of the time commitment, we were constantly finding bugs with our integration tests. Our developers should have spent time developing. Instead, they had to think too much about our deployment pipeline. Our customer’s on-prem installations or upgrades meant our small team couldn’t focus on more innovative work. Our company realized it had to make some strategic moves to maintain its advantage as the first mover in the market, so they brought me on to nail down our DevOps processes.

 

I had to improve the overall CI/CD pipeline to improve our speed of development. We needed to build in more automation to our processes. We were also looking at expanding to other cloud solutions beyond AWS, wanted to explore what we could do with Kubernetes, and our CI/CD pipelines got more and more complex.

 

A FLEXIBLE, STABLE, EASY-TO-USE SOLUTION 

 

To help with our evolution toward DevOps, aucobo started using CloudBees CodeShip. We were attracted to CodeShip because of its flexibility. We didn’t feel locked into any cloud solution or workflow. We could use Bash scripts and didn’t need to change our build processes. People work at aucobo to carve their own path. We need to find the solutions and systems that allow us to do our best work. We found that with CodeShip.

 

With CodeShip, we can now deploy in Azure, AWS, and Kubernetes. That’s a lot of things we can do now that were impossible a year ago. CodeShip’s UI is easy to use, and when I do get stuck, the documentation is incredible. It makes implementing a new pipeline quick work.

 

CodeShip’s libraries mean we simply type in our AWS credentials and we’re done. Before, coding this manually in nine different repositories and projects would have taken half a day. With CodeShip, it takes five minutes. When we’re talking daily deployments, that’s a massive amount of time back in our day.

 

In the future, we will eventually move to CodeShip Pro, because we’d like to explore native Docker builds. But for our purposes today, CodeShip Basic is already incredibly powerful.

 

With other solutions, support teams can take up to 48 hours to respond. When a bug has brought our work to a halt, that doesn’t help me much. With CodeShip’s support, I know I’ll get a response in a few hours.

 

A REFOCUSED TEAM

 

CodeShip has helped free up everyone’s time for the work that drives our company forward. For me, that means focusing on creating a stable Kubernetes deployment that will give customers access to our registry so they can take the images directly to their Kubernetes cluster.

 

CodeShip allows my team to focus on our work instead of side tasks. We can develop our product faster, in a more reliable way, because we are no longer distracted by the non-critical aspects of development.

 

I think CodeShip is a good fit for almost anyone developing software. With most systems, there’s a learning curve, but with CodeShip you can just start. Our developers can focus on their code instead of maintaining knowledge of our build servers.

 

I’m excited to continue to develop with the newest software like Kubernetes because it’ll help us continue to pioneer this market. No one has done something like this before—it’s truly a new idea. This means I also get the chance to do new work and be inventive in the face of a lot of unknowns.

 

But we can’t rely on being the first with this great idea. Competitors are surely on the way. To lead this market, we have to move fast. CodeShip helps us stay focused on what’s important and get the most out of our small but talented team. No more holdups on the factory floor or in our development pipeline.

Before, coding this manually in nine different repositories and projects would have taken half a day. With CodeShip, it takes five minutes.
Alexander Bergmann
DevOps Engineer