TrustedChoice.com is the top online resource for connecting insurance buyers with independent insurance agents. As a member of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) family of companies, TrustedChoice.com builds digital solutions that help its partners thrive in the modern insurance world. Through constant research, SEO refinement, and improvements to its online shopping experience, TrustedChoice.com has attracted more than 36 million insurance buyers to the independent insurance agency channel since 2013.
The Move to Modernize
The Datacenter Operating System (DC/OS) platform on which the TrustedChoice.com business was running became obsolete when Kubernetes supplanted DC/OS as the preeminent enterprise cloud container environment. By moving to a Kubernetes platform, TrustedChoice.com saw an opportunity to modernize its IT infrastructure and eliminate problems associated with its DC/OS platform.
TrustedChoice.com’s IT team first considered a do-it-yourself Kubernetes deployment but rejected the idea because of budgetary restraints, the complexity of the project, and the limited Kubernetes skills of its small engineering and development staff.
Operational Ease Drives Decision
In evaluating Kubernetes vendors, TrustedChoice.com chose the D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP) because of its ease of deployment, ease of management, reliability, and upgradability. The team also saw that deploying DKP would give TrustedChoice.com a solid open-source Kubernetes foundation on which to expand its capabilities.
“What we were ultimately looking for was something we could get up and running really quickly, something that felt familiar to our team, and something that would give us tooling right out of the box that we could use for operations, which is a big selling point of the DKP platform,” explained Phil Egelston, VP of Engineering at TrustedChoice.com.
Automated features like self-healing and simplified network controls were welcome advantages, as was the capability to scale as needed over time.
The stability, growth, and support advantages that come with being part of the Kubernetes ecosystem were also key factors, including the ability to easily add services that are available within DKP and the open-source Kubernetes ecosystem.
Friction-Free Deployment Brings Relief
Working with D2iQ’s service and support group, TrustedChoice.com set up a proof-of-concept installation of the D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP) that immediately impressed the IT team.
“I could tell immediately that DKP was going to be a very useful tool for us,” said Senior Software Engineer Grant Rudin, adding that “we were able to shortcut a lot of the tedious setup that’s involved with getting a production-ready Kubernetes cluster deployed.”
DKP’s ease of management was a crucial requirement for TrustedChoice.com support team. “We don’t have a dedicated DevOps person, so the system needs to be easy enough to use where anyone on the team can feel comfortable going in and making configuration changes,” said Rudin.
The backup and recovery capability inherent in DKP’s Kubernetes architecture was a welcome relief because of the lack of disaster recovery capability in the DC/OS platform that DKP was replacing.
“It was critical because we were in an existential crisis of sorts from a platform perspective. At any moment, our entire product could essentially crash and go into the void, and we had no disaster recovery plan. Now we have a platform that’s very stable.”
Phil Egelston, VP of Engineering at TrustedChoice.com
Having a clear and easy upgrade path with a Kubernetes environment was also a key factor in choosing DKP. “Having a clear upgrade path was a big thing because that was a huge challenge for us before, where we really struggled,” said Egelston.
Once the TrustedChoice.com team saw that DKP would provide the manageability, stability, and upgradability that was desired, they forged ahead with a full DKP deployment.
A Wealth of Kubernetes Benefits
As its DKP system became operational, TrustedChoice.com saw that its decision to move to a modern Kubernetes platform was paying off in a number of ways that would benefit the company in the present and future.
The immediate advantages were operational capabilities, including ease of deployment and the integrated toolset that made management an easy task for each member of the small TrustedChoice.com engineering and development team.
Resiliency was improved significantly by having several zones of availability versus one zone in the past. The self-healing and immediate recovery capability of Kubernetes enabled TrustedChoice.com to easily weather outages that would have been severe in the past.
Security also has improved, said Egelston, including better secrets management and an overall improvement in basic security hygiene.
Clear Sailing Ahead
The TrustedChoice.com IT team feels the D2iQ deployment has given them the operational ease they were seeking, along with a solid platform for future growth.
“We were in an operations nightmare before, and it’s essentially gotten us out of that,” said Egelston. “We’re in a position now where we have every tool that we need to essentially manage our infrastructure that we really didn’t have before,” he added.
Going forward, the TrustedChoice.com IT team is hoping to take advantage of the capability to realize the full potential of containerized workloads, including scalability. The team also looks forward to taking advantage of the “first-class support” within the open-source Kubernetes ecosystem and the ability to draw upon cutting-edge tools that become available, said Egelston.
Business intelligence is another area in which TrustedChoice.com sees potential benefits. The team currently maintains a data warehouse in which it performs a variety of business intelligence analyses. Although there are no data scientists on the staff, Egelston said he believes the AI capabilities in DKP’s AI/ML Kaptain module could be utilized over time as TrustedChoice.com gets deeper into providing more analytical products to its customers. “Business intelligence is definitely an area of growth for us,” he said.
Overall, TrustedChoice.com considers the DKP deployment a huge success. “We definitely are benefiting from the management side of things being much
easier than it was before,” said Egelston.