Digital vouchers firm picks DevOps automation to speed apps deployment

Digital vouchers provider Eagle Eye is deploying DevOps to manage the cloud infrastructure that supports its product network

Digital vouchers and rewards provider Eagle Eye is launching a DevOps strategy to manage the cloud-based infrastructure that supports its product network for offers and reward transactions.

Founded in 2003, Eagle Eye processes more than two million transactions a month for over 80 customers, including Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Orange, Pizza Express, Greggs and Ladbrokes.

The company’s multi-patented transaction software platform, Eagle Eye AIR, allows retailers to integrate coupons into loyalty programmes and deliver vouchers and rewards directly to customers’ devices. It also provides retailers with data about customers’ shopping patterns, which helps them target shoppers with personalised offers.

The AIR software has been hosted on Rackspace’s managed cloud infrastructure since 2008 and the vouchers company has now selected Rackspace’s DevOps Automation service.

DevOps integrates the roles of developers and operations teams. It is a cultural approach that promotes better communication between the two teams as more elements of operations become programmable. 

Eagle Eye said implementing a DevOps strategy will help it deploy new features more rapidly and quickly scale out its existing technology infrastructure, helping to improve developer productivity.

The DevOps Automation service will enable Eagle Eye to automate the process of deploying and scaling hybrid cloud infrastructures for its AIR platform applications, while also rolling out additional insight and monitoring tools.

Scale up and down

“With the help of DevOps, we can react to the market like never before,” said Steve Rothwell, founder and director of Eagle Eye. “We now have the flexibility to scale up and down and get products to potential and existing customers faster."

Eagle Eye sees DevOps as a critical aid to growth, rather than a secondary investment.

The key to DevOps is in automating as much as possible – both in the process of moving a development project through testing into run time, and in how any operational problems are dealt with.

Using DevOps Automation, Eagle Eye’s internal DevOps team can collaborate with Rackspace to discuss real-time application insight and performance metrics. This enables Eagle Eye to make decisions about application architecture and help ensure optimal infrastructure automation in respect of market conditions, said Rothwell.

Rackspace will also provide ongoing management of the automation by managing updates, security patches and the latest versions of environment stacks.

Eagle Eye’s DevOps strategy comes at a time when experts have argued that CIOs need to understand and embrace DevOps to truly leverage their cloud infrastructure.

Awareness and prevalence

A study into the awareness and prevalence of DevOps projects in UK businesses showed that 37% of enterprises had a DevOps strategy, either running a live project or using accepted DevOps processes. But almost half (47%) did not have a DevOps strategy, with most citing more urgent financial priorities as the main reason.

Chris Jackson, ‎DevOps CTO at Rackspace, said: “DevOps has become a formally recognised technology discipline for IT professionals and is therefore an increasingly sought-after skillset for businesses, and Eagle Eye’s investment in both internal and external specialists highlight this.”

The DevOps toolkit includes configuration management tools such as Puppet and Chef, a repository such as GitHub for storing versions of code, indexing tools such as Splunk, and scripting languages including Perl, PHP and JavaScript.

Experts advise CIOs to consider all aspects of the Calms (culture, automation, lean, measurement, sharing) model when planning a DevOps strategy.

By outsourcing the infrastructure management, DevOps automation and tools management task to Rackspace, Eagle Eye’s IT will be able to focus on more strategic tasks, such as writing codes for its products, said Rothwell.

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