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Advanced Cloud Metrics and Analytics Help uShip Deliver Quality Software Faster

By February 14, 2017 No Comments
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One of the best parts of my work is listening to customers share their stories. And in particular, when they are happy and gaining value across many different organizations within a company.

Here I will focus on the value of metrics and analytics for Development, DevOps, SREs, and TechOps teams when running applications as a cloud service.

Wavefront helps uShip deploy code to production more frequently, with continuous and deep insights derived from query-driven analytics on top of all their business, application, and infrastructure metrics.

uShip, Inc., operates the uShip website, a global online marketplace present in 18 countries, for shipping services where individuals and businesses post items they need to be shipped including auto transport, moving services, and the transport of heavy industrial equipment.

Some of you may recall the funny reality TV show, Shipping Wars, that ran for 7 seasons on A&E a few years back. uShip was the platform constantly used and referred to in the show.

Starting almost 8 years ago, DevOps engineers at uShip were among the pioneers in implementing continuous delivery and DevOps principles. They are pushing code to production up to 20 times per day. The uShip DevOps team had been struggling with several open-source tools – Graphite and Grafana.

uShip’s DevOps team spent valuable time trying to figuring out upfront what they needed to monitor and then configuring their tools to monitor specific hosts. This “knowing of the unknown” approach led to monitoring gaps and critical capacity issues that went unnoticed for months.

Minutes after deploying Wavefront, using the power of rich query-driven analytics, their SREs were able to diagnose big CPU load spikes on their hosts.  Simply, starting with the “*” operator was a game changer that gave them real insights. This helped them immediately diagnose the issue and enhance their servers’ capacity avoiding customer issues.

 

How the first pane of glass helps DevOps, and developer teams come together

When the DevOps team first started using Wavefront to understand the performance of their application in production, the speed with which they were able to detect code issues immediately caught the attention of their development team.

Development engineers instantly saw quick value and they were able to diagnose issues before customers were impacted, increasing code delivery in pre-production.

Currently, about 60 engineers across both the DevOps and Development organizations are regular users of Wavefront, both have unified view of application metrics across the entire build pipeline. This continuous and instant visibility helps detect issues even before their code reaches production or quickly remediate them once in production.

“We’ve tried to identify and solve some code problems with Graphite and Grafana over the years, but we’ve never been able to crunch and analyze that data in a way that I can now do with Wavefront.”

– Raleigh Schickel
Sr. Manager of DevOps, uShip

Proactive alerting on metrics helps automate incident resolution

Before, Wavefront, the DevOps team tried many different ways to proactively alert on their metrics data and the health of their platform.

Raleigh Schickel, Sr. Manager of DevOps, reflects on his team’s pain of trying to automate alerting and proactively resolve issues with their open source tools:

“The downside to open source technology is sometimes it just doesn’t work, or you can’t get it to work, or how much time are you going to spend getting it to work. Alerting is becoming increasingly important, and it’s the one thing I’ve never been able to do well with open source. The Wavefront platform gives us the ability to be proactive which helps us to deliver outstanding service.”

uShip’s IT team collects a ton of data about the health of their application infrastructure. Wavefront’s smart alerting helps uShip’s engineers to automate their exception management which frees their developers from mundane activities and allows them to focus on innovative work and work that positively impacts revenue-generating enhancements.

Metrics drive a digital business: continuous metrics enable executive business decisions

The Wavefront platform offers easy sharing of metrics insights across the entire organization. Because the business value can be directly tied to application and infrastructure performance metrics, the executive audience also gets a real-time notification on the state of their business.

For example, the CTO can instantly look at the trends of uShip listings and understand if the business is performing as planned. This helps uShip delight their customers and proactively stay on top of any emerging issues.

Trying Wavefront’ software is free. Sign up for a trial.

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At Wavefront, as Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Stela runs Product, Solutions and Partner Marketing. Prior to Wavefront, while at IToA division, Stela ran Splunk's DevOps solutions marketing, one of the best performing campaigns at Splunk and led marketing activities with key strategic partnerships in DevOps space including Atlassian, Puppet, and others. Prior to DevOps, Stela was driving product marketing of Stream and Splunk's key applications including Splunk Apps for NetApp, Cisco ACI, Microsoft Exchange, all SDN apps, and partnering. She was a marketing lead for Cisco partnership as well as NetApp and many others.

@stela_udo