A great deal of IT updates has happened at Davie Street Enterprises (DSE) over the last year. The company’s digital transformation champions have all helped innovate and modernize the different aspects of their IT infrastructure. They’ve utilized the latest technology for adopting a hybrid cloud strategy that is safer, scalable, efficient, and enables modern application development practices.
DSE did this through not one but many different technology providers—an entire ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) with Red Hat’s software at the center. Next-generation application development, security, AI/ML, edge, application migration, and observability were all focus areas in the company’s journey. Here’s a sampling of everything it accomplished!
Next-gen app dev
DSE’s Principal Developer Andres Martinez was able to leverage GitLab to take decades of mix-and-match processes and move them into GitOps. This transformation drastically reduced the complications of his team’s previous code repository and delivery system. With GitLab’s Runner operator, he can now automate the majority of the work that his team previously had to do manually, simultaneously freeing up developer cycles and—because of the codified nature of GitOps—drastically reducing problems caused by human error. The end result has given his developers some breathing room and they’ve been able to greatly increase their development velocity.
Later, as a part of his collaboration with Director of Security Engineering Zachary L. Tureaud’s team, he further improved his team’s output by harnessing the power of JFrog’s Artifactory repository manager to reduce "dependency creep." Tureaud’s team is now confident that its network of dependencies is secure and compliant. Martinez’s team is also happy because JFrog’s dependency catalog caching has sped up build times significantly.
Security and DevSecOps
Tureaud, had the important task to integrate security into DSE’s DevOps process and shift security left. The first order of business for Tureaud was to establish the right security culture with a handful of guiding principles. Once the right culture was in place, Tureaud turned his focus to the technology to design a comprehensive DevSecOps solution. Luckily, due to all the out-of-the-box security features of Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat's DevSecOps Framework, Tureaud didn’t need to waste any time figuring out what security features exist and where Red Hat Partners extend and enhance OpenShift’s capabilities. In little time, Tureaud built a comprehensive DevSecOps solution design that would serve as the foundation of DSE’s DevSecOps technology footprint.
Using this DSE DevSecOps solution design, Tureaud was tasked with proving its value in a new development project, code name "J.A.R.V.I.S", for the DSE Smart Widget. Tureaud implemented CyberArk, Synopsys and Sysdig easily on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to create DSE’s first comprehensive DevSecOps solution.
CIO Monique Wallace was impressed and wanted Tureaud to roll out his DevSecOps solution to the rest of DSE’s projects. Tureaud worked with Susan Chin, Senior Director of Development, and Ranbir Ahuja, Senior Director of IT Operations, to leverage Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes to roll out DevSecOps to DSE's fleet of clusters.
The words artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning(ML) were foreign concepts to this storied hundred-year-old company. However, thanks to outstanding leadership within DSE, these words are no longer daunting. DSE took on an AI/ML project in a very methodical way.
It formed an AI/ML Governance Council of technical and business leaders across the company. This group defined the processes and governance standards that would build all AI/ML projects in the future. To prove that this model could work, the team set out to fix one of the most pressing issues in the DSE list of modernization efforts: supply chain optimization.
In the midst of DSE’s digital transformation, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. This caught DSE, like all other organizations, off guard. Being a hundred-year-old company, DSE’s lack of flexibility and insight into its supply chain significantly impacted its ability to withstand the issues caused by the pandemic. DSE realized that it had to add AI to its digital transformation efforts and make it a serious part of its internal knowledge base.
As the council defined what AI would mean to DSE, it discovered it already had in-house tools to make this transition easier. Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, provided a reliable platform that supports both traditional and containerized AI workloads.
DSE also had experience with SAS Viya, which has a supply chain optimization module. This module already had all the features DSE needed so it didn’t require a lot of "start from scratch" efforts. DSE could customize the module and make it work for the problem it was trying to solve.
It integrated data from several systems to gain insight into the supply chain, allowing it to modify production and shipping schedules. This made the company more nimble when dealing with any issues relating to its supply chain. Solving this problem gave DSE confidence that it could move forward into the next century as a nimble AI company ready for the next set of challenges.
Taking on the complexities of edge computing can be a challenge for any organization, but for a longstanding company like DSE, this could be seen as an insurmountable hurdle. Stephanie Wilson, Director of Plant Operations, recognized that the company needed to evolve or die. So, they evolved.
Wilson had an immediate need to reduce unplanned downtime in factories. She turned to the ideas behind Industry 4.0 to find a solution. Her team took on a small project of collecting data from the factory floor and using that data to determine when machines would fail. In the Industry 4.0 terminology, this process is called called Predictive Maintenance.
Implementing this solution allowed DSE to reduce unplanned downtime by 50% across all factories. This is a huge saving and gave the company confidence to explore other Industry 4.0 use cases. Secondly, DSE learned a lot about Industry 4.0 from implementing the project. Understanding the power and value of data captured by its factory machines was eye opening. It also learned how to deliver an edge computing project using Red Hat OpenShift and SAS Viya. This was a huge win for DSE and will serve the company well as it continues its modernization journey.
Application modernization and observability
With the successful completion and deployment of its re-architected core enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, Parts and Supplies (PAS), DSE has been able to keep up with requests for new functionality while minimizing technical debt it needs to carry forward. With PAS using Java-based technologies, DSE gains access to a large pool of developers that it can hire and onboard faster. In addition, the company can use the available open source libraries and frameworks to continue to innovate at the speed their business needs.
With Red Hat OpenShift as the foundation, the PAS development teams have been able to learn from—and adopt—the DevSecOps practices that have been successful in other parts of the organization. Red Hat partners offering OpenShift-certified operators have been key to enabling this adoption. The best example being the implementation of Dynatrace as its end-to-end observability solution with zero code changes and zero downtime.
Infrastructure (compute, storage, and network) management
DSE’s infrastructure team rose to the challenge after an outage that shook the entire company. The team was empowered by its leadership to transform its approach to infrastructure, starting with how infrastructure is deployed and managed.
It did this through Red Hat technologies such as Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat OpenShift. To further enhance its infrastructure’s capabilities, DSE leveraged the Red Hat partner ecosystem.
F5 provides high availability application delivery for OpenShift clusters by handling cluster ingress, and it adds protection with advanced web application firewall (WAF) technology. Because F5 maintains certified collections in Ansible Automation Platform and a certified OpenShift operator for BIG-IP, DSE knew it would receive seamless support if needed.
DSE also enhanced storage security and reliability with NetApp Snapshot technology and Ansible Automation Platform, enabling them to guard against ransomware attacks.
Windows administration received an overhaul as DSE streamlined its Windows application deployment process with Ansible Automation Platform and Chocolatey for Business. With this solution, DSE’s Windows server operators and desktop users can install approved applications without opening a service request.
Automating IP administration was also an issue DSE had to address as its environment grew. DSE implemented technology from Infoblox to automate the IP administration of its entire network footprint across hybrid clouds.
Scalable, reliable and with security in mind—the new infrastructure is ready for the next generation of DSE applications.
How it has helped
Widget production is up at DSE, and the ability to adopt a lean app-native development approach enables DSE to come on the market with its Virtual Widget. The company has become proactive rather than reactive in its IT posture, powered by automation and declarative approach solutions.
There has never been a repeat of the great outage of 2020. Proper high-availability design and a hybrid cloud infrastructure means that DSE always has the ability to failover safely and quickly remediate issues with a SIEM integrated automation. Word has gotten out, and DSE has seen an uptick in job applications for open positions. It seems innovation attracts innovators...
So long for now…
We hope you’ve enjoyed the digital transformation journey of DSE. No journey into digital transformation is ever truly finished, and the next innovations in technology are always around the corner. You can rely on Red Hat and our partner ecosystem to be your trusted source for all those innovations as we help make them ready to meet your business needs. Until then, our code is open and we hope to see you soon!
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