Finnish Railways Modernizes Key Transportation Apps with Docker Enterprise

Staff - January 17, 2020 -

VR Group is the state-owned company that runs Finnish Railways, and provides 82 million passenger train rides and transports 36 million tons of goods per year. The 150+ year old transportation business is broken into separate divisions, each with their own technology departments. Finnish Railways does not have an in-house development team, so each division leverages external vendors and partners for their application development needs.

The VR Group team has given multiple presentations at DockerCon. At DockerCon Europe 2017, Markus Niskanen, Integration Manager at VR Group, and Oscar Renalias, Solutions Architect at Accenture presented their story on how they worked together to modernize critical business applications for Finnish Railways, including the reservation and commuter applications.

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Partnership Drives Faster Results

Finnish Railways began working with Accenture, a long-time partner, to design a new common application platform based on Docker Enterprise Edition. Leveraging Accenture’s Container Migration Factory, Finnish Railways had access to hundreds of Docker-trained Accenture architects which meant that this project could be delivered more efficiently. For example, Accenture has customized Terraform scripts that set up a Docker Enterprise environment in AWS in about 25 minutes.

They started with the old reservation system which was running on mainframe and a legacy commuter service application. They rewrote these applications with microservices and also moved from proprietary software platforms to include more open source components.

Expanding App Modernization Across the Organization

The implementation of Docker Enterprise began about a year ago and as the first applications were getting rewritten, the team also saw the opportunity to simply migrate some existing applications to the Docker platform. Docker Enterprise has now become the single platform for all types of applications – from non-production development workloads to greenfield microservices apps to brownfield legacy applications.

The commuter services app went live in June, and the new reservation system went live in August of this year. Finnish Railways has already seen some impressive results:

  • Average cost savings of 50%
  • Better visibility into all of the apps with centralized logging and monitoring
  • Standardization on a common platform and architecture that can be leveraged across all applications and by all of Finnish Railways’ vendors
  • A consistent app delivery pipeline that works the same for everyone. This makes it easy to bring new contractors and vendors into the same environment and processes.

Finnish Railways has accomplished a lot this year with their Docker Enterprise platform. These early successes have made it possible for Markus to now bring the platform to even more teams within the company and they are actively expanding their footprint with the goal of getting everything over to Docker Enterprise.

To learn more about Finnish Railway’s Docker Enterprise deployment and how it’s progressed, watch their breakout session from DockerCon Europe 2018:

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