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Visa Inc. gains speed and operational efficiency with Docker Enterprise


DockerCon 2017 was an opportunity to hear from customers across multiple industries and segments on how they are leveraging Docker technology to accelerate their business. In the keynote on Day 2 and also in a breakout session that afternoon, Visa shared how Docker Enterprise Edition is empowering them on their mission to make global economies safer by digitizing currency and making electronic payments available to everyone, everywhere.

Visa Leverages Docker for Microservices 

Visa is the world’s largest retail electronic payment network that handles 130 billion transactions a year, processing $5.8 trillion annually. Swamy Kocherlakota, Global Head of Infrastructure and Operations, shared that Visa got here by expanding their global footprint, which has put pressure on his organization, which has remained mostly flat in headcount during that time. Since going into production with their Docker Containers-as-a-Service architecture 6 months ago, Swamy has seen a 10x increase in scalability, ensuring that his organization will be able to support their overall mission and growth objectives well into the future.

Global Growth Fuels Need for A New Operating Model

In aligning his organization to the company mission, Swamy decided to focus on two primary metrics: Speed and Efficiency.

  • Speed is tied to developer onboarding and developer productivity. Visa wants new developers to be able to deploy code on their first day. That means giving them tools they are familiar with and getting out of their way. It also means providing developers access to infrastructure whenever and wherever they need it.
  • Efficiency is tied to Visa’s ability to maximize utilization of their existing datacenter footprint while also reducing the time the team spends on patching and refreshing hardware. Optimizing their efficiency also frees up both headcount and datacenter resources to support their global growth initiatives.

While considering how they could support these objectives, Visa also has to meet the high bar on security and availability that underpins everything they do. Some of the core systems at Visa have had zero downtime over a span of 20 years!

Modernizing with Docker Enterprise Edition

After investigating different technologies and vendors who could help them achieve both speed and efficiency objectives, Visa chose Docker for Enterprise (Docker EE) to help them move towards a microservices application model while also modernizing their data center operations.

Visa was looking for an enterprise-ready solution and appreciated the integrated approach of the Docker EE stack, which includes scheduling, service registry, service discovery, container networking, and a centralized management control plane. Docker EE enables them to manage multiple development, QA, and staging environments, gain visibility across their container environment, and retain full control over role-based access.

Visa chose two key applications to begin their Docker journey – a core transaction processing application and a risk decision system. These were legacy monolithic applications which they began to containerize into services. Those two applications are now running in production on Docker EE across multiple regions and handling 100,000 transactions per day. Gradually millions of transactions will be routed to this platform. They consist of 100 separate containers and have the ability to instantly scale to 800 when transactions peak.

To hear more about how Visa was able to gain 10x scalability for their application with Docker, watch Swamy's presentation from the Day 2 general session below:

[youtubevideo url=""]

Results and Benefits

Visa results with Docker Enterprise

With Docker EE now in production, Visa is seeing improvements in a number of ways:

  • Provisioning time: Visa can now provision in seconds rather than days even while more application teams join the effort. They can also deliver just-in-time infrastructure across multiple datacenters around the world with a standardized format that works across their diverse set of applications.
  • Patching & maintenance: With Docker, Visa can simply redeploy an application with a new image. This also enables Visa to respond quickly to new threats, as they can deploy patches across their entire environment at one time.
  • Tech Refresh: Once applications are containerized with Docker, developers do not have to worry about the underlying infrastructure; the infrastructure is invisible.
  • Multi-tenancy: Docker containers provide both space and time division multiplexing by enabling Visa to provision and deprovision microservices quickly as needed. This enables them to strategically place new services into the available infrastructure, which has allowed the team to support 10x the scale they could previously.
To learn more about Visa’s application architecture, watch the breakout Docker Networking in Production at Visa below:

[youtubevideo url=""]

Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) is designed for enterprise development and IT teams who build, ship and run business critical applications in production at scale. Docker EE is integrated, certified and supported to provide enterprises such as Visa with the most secure container platform in the industry to modernize all applications.

Next Steps

This post was originally published on April 27, 2017 on the Docker blog.

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