The Reality of Managing Microservice Deployments at Scale: You Need a Spinnaker

November 10, 2019 Tony Vetter

Not many organizations run at a scale that can rival JP Morgan Chase (JPMC). With 30,000+ developers worldwide and more than 6,000 code deploys per day across more than 6,500 applications, it needs application deployment and management solutions that are up to the task of delivering code consistently, safely, and at tremendous scale. 

“Quality is not enough. We needed quality at scale!” - Richard Francois, VP, JP Morgan Chase

Recently, JPMC started augmenting its existing CI/CD pipeline tooling with Spinnaker. While the existing tooling was working well, it just didn’t have the capabilities needed for JPMC to continue its growth—from 6,000 deploys per day in 2019 to a projected 25,000 deploys per day by the end of 2020. In his talk at SpringOne Platform, Richard Francois, VP at JPMC, discussed why the company landed on Spinnaker and the impacts it has had on the business.  

Why Spinnaker

In this talk, Francois discussed the current pipeline setup at JPMC. In order to meet the needs of the company’s changing technology landscape, teams within JPMC overcame significant hurdles, including not just technological, but human-centric issues. The talk offers a great reminder that organizations need to constantly evaluate new processes and technologies. Otherwise, issues that are seen as small and unimportant today may grow to be untenable and disruptive to the business as the organization grows. 

In the case of JPMC, Francois shared a couple such issues that were identified by the Toolchain team. First, developers could push updates to their applications, but the existing tooling would not allow them to push changes to the services bound to those applications. This resulted in expensive additional processes and increased system complexity. Second, their tooling could not support automated complex deployment policies at scale. Policies like Blue/Green and Canary deployments are essential to ensure an application’s path to production is fast, automated, and secure. Either of these issues, while manageable today, would significantly reduce the effectiveness of development teams as the organization scaled.

With Spinnaker, JPMC resolved these issues and more. Not only can Spinnaker deploy all types of applications as well as services, but it also gave JPMC an interface for managing pipelines at scale. Complex deployment policies like Blue/Green, Canary, and Highlander come natively in Spinnaker. This functionality not only had an effect on the throughput of the development teams, but also impacted the culture of the organization: 

“The feedback loop is critical ... Developers are now able to achieve the type of velocity our business needs, the business now feels very comfortable going back to the technologists, and they have started speaking a different language.”

Developers at the Heart

JP Morgan Chase is on a journey to continuously improve its business and technology practices. This includes an understanding of how enabling its development teams to build and deploy applications faster can have a vast impact on their customer’s experience, and ultimately have a corresponding impact on the bottom line. 

“The more effective our technologists are, the more effective our business is.” 

As a leader in the Development organization, Francois reviewed how he keeps the experience of his developer teams at the heart of every decision he makes. Spinnaker is one major enabler of this. While only giving developers access to this functionality via the pipeline, Spinnaker allows development teams within JPMC to push applications into production faster, and with less errors.

“We're able to accelerate an application all the way into production in a week's time. And we're talking real production, serving clients!”

This experience not only impacts JPMC’s customers, but the organization as a whole. 

Learn More

About the Author

Tony Vetter

Tony Vetter is Associate Technical Product Marketing Manager at Pivotal.

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