How Nike Is Getting To Production FastHow Nike Is Getting To Production Fast
Nike has implemented Michael Porter's view of technology becoming an integral part of product value into its business. Fitness is a key area where IoT wearable technologies combined with new apps will become differentiating factors that influence which new sports shoes and clothes we buy.
March 17, 2015
By Neil McEvoy
Nike (NKE) has implemented Michael Porter's view of technology becoming an integral part of product value into its business. Fitness is a key area where IoT wearable technologies combined with new apps will become differentiating factors that influence which new sports shoes and clothes we buy.
It's therefore essential that the corporate IT team recognizes and keeps up with this shift, and how Nike is doing so is described in this video of their presentation at Amazon's 2014 Re:invent conference, where Jason Robey talks through their move to a ‘microservices’ approach to application development.
In this presentation he describes how the firm is committed to a fast pace of innovation and that digital is a top priority for the company, however upon starting his role he inherited a situation that proved contrary to these goals.
He recalls being presented with a "code red" scenario, a production system that was barely stable, servers that wouldn’t start, very little test and validation so that nearly every release contained defects, and despite engineers working 24/7 the new feature deployment cycle was months long.
At first they tried to tackle the situation by moving into a deep vertical stack using expensive technology, which tackled some issues but ultimately ended up "building a monolith." While this made many improvements including stabilizing the systems they still experienced issues like configuration management delaying the software cycle, database deployments were still too manual, and in general they were still moving too slowly, especially due to factors like slow organizational decision making.
Now they were down to a three week development cycle, but of which only two days was pure coding, the bulk was tied up in the stabilization processes.
So Jason then began them on their journey towards a microservices approach.
They embraced the Phoenix pattern to implement immutable servers, via Amazon AMI instances, and adopted the shared nothing architecture. They also began making extensive use of the Netflix OSS stack, where tools Conformity Monkey combined very effectively with AWS features, like the management console and Amazon SNS & SQS for notification messaging, to provide them powerful architecture and tools, like dynamic discovery with Eureka.
Indeed their case study highlights just how powerful the combination of Cloud and microservices can be. For example at 25:00 he explains how “scaling concerns do not cross functional boundaries”, meaning that capacity for one service can expand elastically without affecting any other services.
All of this was part of an overall goal of achieving a Continuous Delivery model, so that they could "Get to Production Fast." Now the delivery of new features can be achieved in days and weeks not months as their SCRUM team model works much more effectively, with more innovation projects possible while still also reducing the number of lines of code they work with, thanks to working with microservices not a big monolith.
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