The fast-moving monolith: how we sped-up delivery from every three months, to every week

Editor’s note: Raffaele Spazzoli is an Architect with Red Hat Consulting’s PaaS and DevOps Practice. This blog post reflects his experience working for Key Bank prior to joining Red Hat.

A recount of the journey from three-months, to one-week release cycle-time.

This is the journey of KeyBank, a super-regional bank, from quarterly deployments to production to weekly deployments to production. In the process we adopted all open source software migrating from WebSphere to Tomcat and adopting OpenShift as our private Linux container cloud platform. We did this in the context of the digital channel modernization project, arguably the most important project for the bank during that period of time.

The scope of the digital channel modernization project was to migrate a 15-year old Java web app that was servlet-based, developed on a homegrown MVC framework and running on Java 1.6 and WebSphere 7.x to a more modern web experience and to create a new mobile web app.

This web app had grown more expensive to maintain and to meet our SLAs. It was the quintessential monolith app. Our architectural objective was to create an API layer to separate the presentation logic (web or mobile) from the business logic — what lay ahead was an effort to completely modernize the continuous integration and deployment process.

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Microservices CI/CD Pipelines in Openshift

One of the greatest advantages of using docker containers is the fact that you can move them between environments. A promotion from Development to a Production environment, shouldn’t take more than some few seconds. This is one aspect of “Continuous Delivery”

Because Microservices Architectures are “independently replaceable and upgradeable”, they are the best scenario to show a “Deployment Pipeline”.


Red Hat Developers has produced a sample and free application called “Red Hat Helloworlds MSA” that demonstrates different aspects of microservices (You can read more about this application in the following post: Have your own Microservices playground). This application shows how you can independently deploy the microservices using different technologies (JAX-RS and WildFly Swarm, Spring-boot, Vert.XNodeJS, etc) and how you can use different invocation patterns to integrate them. It also uses Netflix OSS, integrated via Kubeflix, and ZipKin for tracing.

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Using Jenkins in the Red Hat CI/CD Ecosystem

The last 4-5 years have seen the debut of many new software products specifically targeting both infrastructure services and IT automation. The consumerization of IT has caused its architects to take a fresh look at their existing, often times monolithic apps and IT infrastructure and asking: Can we do better? How do I keep IT relevant? How do I keep track of all these VMs and data? How do I scale out my IT environment without a huge budget increase or physical buildout? How do I develop and get bits to production faster and with higher quality?

These organizations are looking to evolve their development and deployment processes to be more agile and accelerate time-to-market. They are trying to embrace things like DevOps and Continuous Deployment to do that. They are breaking monolithic apps out into microservices that can be independently updated, with a focus on speed and agility, so their apps can be more reactive to changes in their business. They are evolving from traditional virtualization to public and private cloud deployments.

There are strong parallels between the way open source communities produce great software and how IT orgs build and deliver great software and services. Red Hat, a recognized pioneer in open source, is using its deep experience in open source to build products that support microservice-oriented, DevOps-embracing, container and cloud-centric IT shops.

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How to install and configure Jenkins to build .NET apps on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

In the process of writing my posts (#1 and #2) on .NET Core and RHEL, it was made clear to me by several friends that I had neglected to use the de facto standard for continuous integration on Linux, Jenkins. Always happy to try out new (to me) tools, I settled in for what I was assured would be a simple configuration to test out my previous work in this bastion of automation.

What is Jenkins?

The first order of business was to understand the difference between Jenkins and TeamCity, another popular CI platform. After 20 minutes of reading, I discovered the following crucial differences:

  • Jenkins has been around longer (though not always under the Jenkins moniker).
  • Jenkins is open source.
  • There are many plugins for Jenkins.

Other than these three things, any noteworthy differences I found seemed to ultimately boil down to personal preference. Even so, with my research out of the way, it was off to the races!

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Is Jenkins showing its age for modern CI/CD? What’s next?

Jenkins is great, and it has done a lot to make our lives easier. It seems like not so long ago when the idea of continuous integration tools was a daunting task. Jenkins came to the rescue, and I (and many others) use it a lot… A LOT.

Given that my day to day work is in consulting, I’m constantly working in different development environments with different technologies – and a common thread among all those environments is Jenkins. It is pervasive, there are tons of plugins, and it is fairly easy to extend. But there are issues we used to take for granted that start to seem more problematic in today’s modern ecosystem of build tools.

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