Based in Italy, Cerved is the premier provider of credit risk analysis and other business information, and has been in business since 1974. The company has more than 5,000 employees, including 250 engineers, of which 60 engineers focus on product infrastructure to ensure that the flow of data remains smooth.
Beginning in 2018, Cerved moved to modernize its 30-year-old legacy IT infrastructure. Cerved first engaged D2iQ to create an on-premises Mesos platform, and three years later reengaged D2iQ to migrate the Mesos platform to a cloud-native Kubernetes platform to keep pace with container technology’s trajectory.
“The main goal was to accelerate the time to market, to have a DevOps approach, and to gain more agility, stability, and scalability,” said Damiano Tarantino, Cerved’s Architecture and Infrastructure Director.
Cerved chose to work with D2iQ on its Kubernetes migration because of the quality of D2iQ’s Kubernetes platform, its cost-effectiveness, and the skills and expertise of the D2iQ service and support team, said Tarantino. “You can have the best solution in the universe, but it is just as important who the people are that manage the solution.”
Tarantino credits D2iQ’s expertise as critical to Cerved’s successful transition to a cloud-native Kubernetes platform. “There were no issues with the migration,” Tarantino explained, adding that, “This was very, very important in adopting our deployment pipelines from the on-premise environment to the cloud.”
After transitioning its infrastructure to DKP running in the cloud, Tarantino said Cerved has been able to realize all the agility, stability, scalability, and accelerated time-to-market benefits it was hoping to gain in moving to a cloud-native Kubernetes environment.
Keeping Pace with Innovation
Since its inception, Cerved has continually expanded the scope of its business by developing new data services. In 2018, Cerved recognized that to continue to flourish and remain competitive, it must modernize its IT infrastructure.
At that time, Mesos and Docker were the containerization standards. “So we decided to move to Docker to deploy our applications, and we decided to use Mesos as our container architecture,” said Tarantino.
Moving to a container and microservices platform required not only a transformation in architecture, it also required the IT staff to acquire new management and developer skills. Tarantino credits D2iQ in making the transition a frictionless success. “We moved to a microservices architecture, starting from zero,” said Tarantino, adding that, “In two years we had 1,000 Docker images deployed on Mesos.”
However, in 2019 the landscape had changed and Kubernetes had emerged as the containerization standard.
“We saw that Kubernetes had become the de facto standard worldwide,” said Tarantino,” so we engaged D2iQ services to move to DKP.” Tarantino said he evaluated the Red Hat OpenShift and VMware Tanzu Kubernetes solutions but chose D2iQ because of the quality of the DKP platform, lower cost of ownership, and the confidence he had in D2iQ as a trusted partner.
“A big plus of working with D2iQ is the fact that they are smart guys who were able to help us move smoothly and quickly from the older platform to the new one.”
Damiano Tarantino, Architecture and Infrastructure Director
Cerved operated a complex business that handled large volumes of data. In business for 30 years, Cerved had more than 30,000 customers and was running a variety of software solutions that would have to be migrated. Thus, moving its entire business to Kubernetes in the cloud was a major undertaking that involved risks that included disruptions and downtime.
“It is easy to adopt a new platform when you’re a startup, but we had a lot of legacy code and systems that needed to be transitioned properly,” said Tarantino.
A key point that Tarantino stresses is that Cerved’s migration to Kubernetes involved the entire business rather than portions of the business as many other companies had done. Cerved had seen other companies run into problems that it was hoping to avoid.
Cerved made the migration to cloud-native Kubernetes in steps, first moving its development and test environments to DKP running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). After this successful migration, Cerved moved its production environment to DKP on AWS.
“The goal was to be more agile and faster to market, from the ideas of our marketing to the production of our services — also to scale more easily and gain more stability,” said Tarantino.
On the DevOps side, DKP has made production issues easier to handle. “In the case of a failure, it’s quick and easy to patch or roll back,” said Tarantino.
The openness and portability of DKP is another major benefit, said Tarantino,
explaining that it would be easy to move to Google, Azure, or any other cloud provider. “It’s also easy to reproduce services on another site, on-premises, or in the cloud,” he added.
Going forward, Tarantino said he hopes to expand the scope of the environment to more clusters and to create a platform to improve and shorten the AI lifecycle for Cerved’s data scientists, making it easier to go from idea to the training of models to production.
Tarantino said he looks forward to working with D2iQ to expand the Kubernetes platform’s capabilities. “D2iQ’s platform offers simplicity. The fact that it is basically a pure Kubernetes open-source platform means there is flexibility. But the people on their team are what keep our relationship strong.”