Tipico is a Malta-based sports betting and digital gaming company and is the category leader in Germany. The world of online gaming is a 24/7/365 business so any downtime is not an option. A lapse in service immediately equates to lost revenue for Tipico and potentially lost money for the customer as well. The continued pressure on the business for more speed and better quality led to Tipico’s decision to migrate their legacy applications to microservices in the cloud. With this decision came the need to radically change their application delivery process, overcome the challenges of migrating to microservices, and to enable CI/ CD across their development team through automation.
The Migration to Microservices
Tipico began this journey wanting to renovate their legacy 3-tiered application into microservices. Prior to the renovation, the front end tier was made up of 160 servers and was mostly running on various versions of Java. Tipico is hopeful that eventually the legacy portion of their application will be so small that it can be entirely replaced.
After the transition, Tipico now has many microservices orchestrated by Kubernetes (K8s), while running containers using AWS ECS and EC2 instance sizes tuned to their service requirements. It’s 100% Infrastructure as code, and 100% in the cloud. Tipico is also deploying microservices on a weekly basis.
Tipico had been using AppDynamics as their Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool but with their shift to microservices and cloud, the determination was made that AppDynamics was not the right tool anymore. This kicked off an evaluation for an APM product that was capable of effectively monitoring their cloud based, microservices applications. The evaluation came down to New Relic and Instana, with Instana proving to be the better fit for Tipico’s requirements.
Defining the requirements for microservices application monitoring
With the move to microservices and the desire to have developers take more responsibility for running their own services, the ideal monitoring solution had to be microservices ready and developer friendly. Tipico wanted a solution that would be easily adopted as they tried to carry the monitoring tool into and across all of their development teams. This, along with the faster release cycles, meant Tipico needed a solution that required a lot less configuration effort than what they had experienced with AppDynamics. After evaluating both Instana and New Relic, the decision was made to move forward with Instana.
“Instana proved to be 100% cloud ready, took considerably less configuration effort, and was useful to our development teams allowing them to manage their own services.” Torge Husfeldt, Software Diagnostics Engineer
Broad adoption across development pays early dividends
In conjunction with the shift to microservices, Tipico asked their developers to be more attentive and responsible for the individual services they deliver. To help them do that, Tipico made Instana broadly available to all dev teams. With Instana’s Application Perspectives, the developers were able to automatically find issues, cut through the noise of Tipico’s many services, and focus on what mattered to them, specifically the services they’re responsible for.
“Instana delivers the visibility that everyone needs to be able to effectively manage their own services. Enabling the broader application teams to get the data they need, exactly when they need it.”
Faster, better deployments
Tipico’s delivery of microservices is much faster now due to the fully-automated provisioning and zero-configuration monitoring put in place. From the beginning of 2018 to the beginning of 2019 Tipico realized a 3X increase in the number of deployments per month. Along with more frequent releases, Tipico has been able to ensure successful deployments as they are able to see and analyze potential production problems on their pre-production systems with Instana. Inevitably problems do surface in production. Since implementing Instana, Tipico has seen a 10X improvement in MTTR which has allowed them to continually increase velocity without worrying about negative impact to their end user.
In addition to the visibility that Tipico received out-of-the-box with Instana, they were also able to pull in Dropwizard custom metrics automatically. Once added, the Instana Agent picked up the Dropwizard custom metrics and they automatically appear in the Instana UI, further expanding the visibility for Tipico’s development teams.
Confidently continuing the microservices journey with Instana
The bold decision to migrate to a cloud based infrastructure and to microservices applications at the same time has already paid off for Tipico. From 2018 to 2019, Tipico has nearly tripled the velocity of new deployments while simultaneously decreasing their MTTR tenfold. This has had a major impact on their overall customer experience. Torge has attributed part of this success to enabling development to monitor everything pre and post migration and having the developers claim responsibility for their services both in development and production. With these successes to build upon, Tipico is continually adding more microservices and broadening the usage of Instana across their technology organization.