Medecision

Learn How Medecision Started Deploying 1000x Faster with XebiaLabs

The Environment

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

The Challenge

“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.

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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

The Solution

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.”

Results

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

With XebiaLabs products, it now takes two hours to upgrade 50 apps. That’s less than three minutes per environment. And only two 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.

Requirements

  • Automate individual steps related to deployments
  • Manage dependencies between application components
  • Increase deployment speed
  • Ability to enforce a consistent standard between packaging and deployment tasks
  • Self-service application deployment for developers
  • Scalable to thousands of deployments
  • Integration with load balancers, source control, plugins and integration tools; easily extensible
  • Low maintenance architecture
  • Ability to consistently deploy across multiple environments simultaneously
  • Ability for Operations to define developer controls for the deployment process

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

“Medecision’s biggest challenge was finding a way to move from a deployment process that was mostly manual to full automation.”

—Zach Penska, Senior Manager of DevOps for Medecision