Developing a cloud DevOps culture at Kordia

I was looking for a cloud provider and only the Catalyst Cloud delivered the five essential characteristics of cloud computing in New Zealand.
Kordia Doug Dixon

Doug Dixon

Head of Systems

5 / 5

Doug Dixon's Catalyst Cloud rating

Raised by workaholic entrepreneurs in the startup sweatshops of Y2K London, Doug Dixon is the Head of Systems at Kordia, New Zealand's leading provider of business critical technology and cybersecurity solutions. His team looks after after over 130 different systems, and recently redeveloped and implemented Kordia’s new customer service portal on the Catalyst Cloud.

What were the decision factors for choosing Catalyst Cloud?

Many of us remember when virtualisation was new and almost cool. It is not new, it is not cool, and it certainly isn’t the cloud. I was looking for a cloud provider in New Zealand and only the Catalyst Cloud delivered the five essential characteristics of cloud computing.

Having transparent prices, public APIs, structured documentation and a single focused cloud product were the critical decision factors in choosing the Catalyst Cloud. In addition to that, Catalyst provided openness and protections against vendor lock in.

Could you tell us more about the DevOps culture being developed at Kordia?

We have in our version control system a definition of not just our software, but also of how it is deployed, including the networking and security groups. We can effectively run one command and bring up our customer service portal on the cloud.

Our developers are operating and supporting all the infrastructure as code. We release new versions of the customer service portal with zero downtime using a strategy called red/black deployments.

Doug Dixon Head of Systems at Kordia

We build a brand new version of the portal side-by-side with production to perform releases. When we have finished our testing against this new version we just move the floating IP to make it live. We keep the previous version around for a short time, in case something has gone wrong, and eventually delete it.

Our tooling that is quite appropriate for the cloud. Jenkins builds packages when code is committed and all tests pass. We have test slaves that only run while required. We bring them up, run the tests and shut them down. We use Ansible to orchestrate the deployment of the software and the infrastructure.

What were some of the business benefits delivered by the cloud?

When you are running a virtualisation platform, like Vmware, you are stuck into some maintenance, upgrades, hardware refreshers. You need a lot of people to run this stuff.

Being able to expand effectively without limits has been great for us. We only pay for what we use by the hour, which is really good.

Doug Dixon Head of Systems at Kordia

Previously, if we hit capacity limits we had to stop an important business process, project or revenue stream. We are now able to expand effectively without limit, not worrying about the hardware, hypervisor, licensing, or support contracts.

Watch Doug's full presentation describing the challenges and rewards of adjusting from an on-premises mindset to the flexibility and new possibilities of the cloud: