Medecision

Learn How Medecision Started Deploying 1000x Faster with XebiaLabs

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Key Facts

Technical Environment

  • XL Deploy and XL Release
  • Windows, Linux
  • Various tools such as JBOSS, WildFly, Selenium, Websphere, and Siteminder

Industry

  •  Healthcare/software solutions

Before XebiaLabs

  • Manual methods of deploying new releases were slow and inefficient
  • Process would not scale to accommodate new SaaS model 
  • No way to create release reports and analyze release metrics 
  • Poor coordination of tasks in the delivery pipeline caused extensive delays

Results: 1000x Faster Deployments

Before XebiaLabs, 8 people worked for 48 hours to upgrade 6 applications – that’s more than 3000 minutes per environment.

With XebiaLabs products, it now takes 2 hours to upgrade 50 apps. That’s less than 3 minutes per environment. And only 2 people are involved.

  • Greatly accelerated application deployments that are now completely scalable
  • Seamless orchestration of all elements in the software delivery process
  • Reliable software deployments with minimal errors
  • Real-time visibility into status and metrics for all components in the delivery process

Background

Founded in 1988, Medecision is a premier provider of population health management solutions for care organizations, hospitals, integrated delivery networks, and other companies in healthcare. Last year, the company undertook a large transformation to migrate to a new cloud-based infrastructure with Rackspace, a leader in cloud-enabled managed hosting.

Driving the transformation was the need to migrate two non-cloud-based data centers to the cloud, in order to fashion a 100% software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model.

Challenges

“Medecision’s biggest challenge was finding a way to move from a deployment process that was mostly manual to full automation,” said Zach Penska, Senior Manager of DevOps for Medecision. “As we migrated to a SaaS organization and delivery model, we needed to transform our internal process or we would not be able to scale.”

Software releases were manual, slow, complex and error-prone. At release time, it was difficult to coordinate and manage numerous release tasks across teams and in the necessary order. And the process was painfully manual. “Release weekends” were unpredictable and traumatic for even a small number of applications.

To help meet these challenges, Medecision looked for a software vendor that understood its needs and would
ease its pain in embracing automation and streamlining the release pipeline. They wanted a partner who could
provide knowledge and walk side-by-side with their team through the entire process.

“We wanted to leverage the best-in-class automation capability of our chosen partner so we could focus our time and energy on what we do best—our applications,” said Penska.

The Solution:  XebiaLabs

Medecision needed to create an automated, repeatable process that could scale as they rapidly increased the number of customer applications they maintained.

After evaluating various vendors’ solutions, notably Ansible, CA Release Automation, Chef, Puppet, and XebiaLabs, Medecision chose XebiaLabs’ XL Release to manage release pipelines, and XL Deploy to automate deployments for all of their SaaS applications.

Medecision’s evaluation process was both lengthy — about five months — and extremely thorough, as it dug deep into a myriad of technical and business issues. After its initial research, the company narrowed the field to two vendors and conducted rigorous proof-of-concept evaluations with Ansible and XebiaLabs. They found that provisioning tools such as Ansible, Chef and Puppet did a great job of provisioning, but provisioning was not the business problem they were trying to solve.

“We chose XebiaLabs because it best met our business need to focus on release automation rather than the provisioning process,” said John Lysen, CIO of Medecision. “Our main objective was to automate the process of creating and deploying our applications. We were really impressed with XebiaLabs’ expertise in this area. We knew we would be able quickly adopt the best technology available and build it into the automation process. Other tools stayed with what they’re comfortable with and do well [provisioning].”

“We also appreciated that the XebiaLabs team was open and forthcoming about their strengths and weaknesses. Some of the other vendors weren’t. We knew XebiaLabs could deliver what they committed.”

XebiaLabs Exceeds All Expectations by Wide Margins

XebiaLabs enabled Medecision to jump-start its SaaS strategy, replacing all-manual software delivery with full automation. They improved software delivery speed by a staggering 1000X, from more than 3000 minutes per environment for each deployment down to 3 minutes.

“Our DevOps team has a much greater comfort level releasing software with XebiaLabs, now that process is automated and no manual intervention is required. We are able to schedule our releases and confirm success well within maintenance windows. Long, chaotic release weekends are a thing of the past, our maintenance windows for customers are shorter, and we can hit them with 100% confidence. Customer and employee satisfaction with the release process has greatly increased.” said Penska.

“Seven months ago we were doing software delivery manually and had six environments in our infrastructure. It would take eight resources 48 hours to upgrade these environments over a weekend. Now, with XebiaLabs, we are able to do 50 environments in two hours. The scalability of the product is amazing. Our software delivery speed has improved more than 1000X. We achieved remarkable ROI in just a few months.”

Bottom line: XL Deploy and XL Release enabled Medecision to progress rapidly from a completely unscalable manual process to fully scalable, secure and reliable automated deployment.

Why did Medecision choose XebiaLabs?

  • Outstanding automation capabilities accelerate releases and improve efficiency
  • Continuous real-time feedback and release metrics provide basis for constant process improvement
  • Release orchestration enables better management and coordination of the Continuous Delivery process
  • Laser focus on solving deployment automation and release management business problems
  • Deep Continuous Delivery expertise and willingness to partner to ensure project success