When the Vaudoise team initially decided to start building out their systems with microservices, they started by using virtual machines (VMs). VMs worked for some applications, but the team quickly encountered limitations to the approach.
“Microservices on VMs are competing for resources,” says Monbaron. “An issue on one microservice affects other ones. For developers, it’s a big help to be able to build and host microservices on a platform that’s actually made for that.”
The Vaudoise team began to explore containers as a solution. In 2019, they integrated their on-premise systems with what was called Docker Enterprise–now Mirantis Kubernetes Engine.
“With containers, we have guaranteed isolation of workloads,” says Monbaron. “We can assign resources to every workload and make sure that if one crashes, the others won’t. It’s been a game-changer for the developers. They can focus on each workload and know that it won’t affect the others. That’s a stability advantage. It’s a quicker time-to-delivery. We provision configurations rather than VMs.”
According to system engineer Nicolas Herzog, the transformation is striking. “Back in the day, we had to deliver a server with high availability for each application, including every single environment, and that would take us days. Now, how long does it take us? A single environment takes half a day. A few hours. It’s gone from days to hours.”
An easy learning curve
Enterprise support is important to the Vaudoise team, so they’re deploying containers on Mirantis Kubernetes Engine. “We get quite fast support,” says system engineer Laurent Demierre, “even for low-priority requests.”
But just as important as support is the dual-orchestrator functionality of Mirantis Kubernetes Engine, providing container orchestration through both Swarm and Kubernetes.
“We started with Swarm to have an easy learning curve,” says Monbaron. “Swarm provided quick onboarding without all the complexity of Kubernetes. That was important. Now we have devs skilled with Kubernetes, and we’re happy to build Kubernetes on-premises with MKE. That’s our goal for this year—taking advantage of Kubernetes.”
Looking ahead, the Vaudoise team plans to build out cloud and SaaS services–and hybrid cloud is their watchword. “Of course we’ll continue to host in our datacenter,” says Monbaron. “We won’t be able to migrate our historical data in the cloud. On-premises, we’ll keep using Swarm and Kubernetes—side-by-side.”