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Case Study |

Accelerated EKS Deployment for Fast Moving Company

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Challenges
Lack of in-house EKS expertise
Third-party vendors require EKS
High operational overhead diverted focus from innovation
Fairwinds Solution
Fairwinds white-glove management of EKS clusters
Allowed in-house resources to focus on core business
Expertise and advisory — simplify Kubernetes complexity

Overview

Fairwinds' people-led Managed Kubernetes-as-a-Service helps the company focus on core engineering and mitigates challenges related to vendor-mandated EKS instances.

Small EKS Footprint, BIG ECS Strategy

This education technology company is renowned for its comprehensive suite of services aimed at improving learning outcomes for students of all ages. The company delivers its offerings in the cloud, but encountered significant challenges in managing and optimizing its Kubernetes (K8s) infrastructure. Committed to leveraging cutting-edge technology to deliver seamless, scalable, and robust educational services, the company’s reliance on Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) had been a cornerstone of its operational strategy. As its vendors began mandating the use of EKS instances, the change introduced a critical need for streamlined Kubernetes management and expertise.

The Challenges

  • Kubernetes One-Offs: Kubernetes is not the company's core containerization strategy, but actually a function of third-party vendor requirements. These new requirements, unique to each vendor, introduced significant management challenges that complicated the deployment and scaling of services.
  • Lack of Kubernetes Expertise: While the in-house platform and engineering teams have a ton of technical acumen, most of this expertise is focused on ECS. The lack of specialized Kubernetes knowledge and experience introduced new challenges but it didn’t make sense from a business perspective to expand that in-house knowledge and distract from core engineering and ECS.
  • Resource Distraction: The internal teams found themselves dedicating time to learning about, maintaining, and updating Kubernetes clusters, diverting valuable resources away from innovation and core service development.
  • Integration and Compatibility Issues: Integrating Kubernetes into the company’s existing CI/CD pipelines, specifically with GitLab, presented frustrating compatibility challenges.

Solution

Fairwinds, leveraging its Managed Kubernetes-as-a-Service, offered the EdTech company a bespoke solution designed to address these multifaceted challenges.

  • White-Glove Kubernetes Management: Fairwinds implemented a fully managed EKS solution, providing end-to-end management of the company’s Kubernetes infrastructure. This service included cluster setup, configuration, monitoring, and ongoing optimization.
  • Specialized Expertise and Advisory: Fairwinds operates as an extension of the internal tech team, providing deep Kubernetes expertise. Regular advisory sessions and best practices sharing empowered the in-house teams to leverage Kubernetes more effectively.
  • Operational Efficiency: By taking over the heavy lifting of Kubernetes management, Fairwinds significantly reduced the operational burden on the EdTech company. This shift allowed the company’s engineers to focus on building and enhancing educational services rather than K8s infrastructure management.
  • Seamless Integration with Development Workflows: Fairwinds ensured that the Kubernetes solution was fully compatible with the company’s existing development workflows and tools, especially GitLab. This integration streamlined CI/CD pipelines, enhancing deployment velocity and reliability.

Implementation

The engagement kicked off with a comprehensive analysis of the current infrastructure and workflows to understand their specific challenges and objectives. Following this collaborative planning phase, Fairwinds deployed its Managed Kubernetes-as-a-Service, focusing on:

  • Customizing cluster design and configuration to meet the EdTech company’s specific operational and scalability requirements.
  • Integrating Kubernetes into existing CI/CD pipelines, ensuring that deployments were smooth and automated.
  • Providing ongoing management and optimization services, including performance tuning, security enhancements, and cost optimization strategies.

Throughout the implementation, Fairwinds maintained a close partnership with the company, providing continuous support, education, and advisory services to ensure the success of the initiative.

Results

  • Streamlined Kubernetes Operations: This EdTech company witnessed a transformation in its Kubernetes operations and the operational overhead associated with managing Kubernetes effectively disappeared.
  • Engineering Focus: Freeing the company’s engineers from the complexities of Kubernetes management enabled them to focus on their core engineering strategy.
  • Robust and Scalable Infrastructure: The Managed Kubernetes-as-a-Service provided by Fairwinds equipped the company with a robust, scalable, and secure cloud infrastructure. This foundation supports the EdTech company’s growth and expansion strategies, enabling them to adapt swiftly to changing market demands and opportunities.

Conclusion

Fairwinds’ partnership with this educational technology company exemplifies the transformative impact of expert Kubernetes management in a technology-driven company. By addressing the challenges associated with Kubernetes adoption and management, Fairwinds enabled the company to enhance its operational efficiency, foster innovation, and maintain focus on its core strategy.

This case study underscores the value of specialized expertise in navigating the complexities of cloud-native technologies and the strategic importance of operational excellence in achieving business objectives. The company’s journey with Fairwinds continues to evolve, reflecting a mutual commitment to leveraging technology to empower education and learning.

What This EdTech Company Is Saying

“Fairwinds saved us time and frustration by providing expert Kubernetes management, cluster maintenance, and end to end optimization. Fairwinds Managed Kubernetes-as-a-Service gave us exactly what we needed: streamlined K8s operations on robust infrastructure, enabling us to focus on our core engineering strategy instead of maintaining infrastructure.”

CTO, EdTech Company

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