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AWS, Terraform, Heroku
Kin Insurance is an insurtech company offering personalized home insurance solutions. By leveraging thousands of property data points, Kin customizes coverage and prices through a simple user experience.
Kin is a recent convert to Infrastructure as Code, having previously used Heroku with a handful of systems on AWS.
Upon making the shift, Kin was working with a third-party provider to build its infrastructure, configuration, and stacks. They strongly recommended Kin looked at Spacelift for its CI/CD platform.
Here, managing director Jason Fraley and senior DevOps engineer Jeremy White explain how Spacelift has helped transform their infrastructure.
One reason for our shift from Heroku and our legacy AWS accounts was the same as why a lot of companies embrace Terraform and the concept of GitOps: so we could track changes and do change detection, and set things up to work in a repeatable fashion.
Infrastructure as Code and immutable infrastructure are really important concepts to us. We chose Terraform as our platform, and as soon as you dip a toe into that water, you very quickly get into a full-blown GitOps workflow.
When you make that shift to treating infrastructure like a software project, you need all of the same components that a software project would have. That means having a CI/CD platform in place, and most aren’t suited to the demands of Infrastructure as Code. Spacelift was purpose-built to fill that gap.
The Spacelift experience
Spacelift really supported us with integrating their software into our setup. Their software updates are really rapid, addressing our specific needs much faster than we’re used to from older software companies, who might consider our needs mere ‘edge cases’ and add them years down their roadmap, if at all.
The integration was painless. The Spacelift team was great to work with. They charge by the runner but were flexible and didn’t try to squeeze every penny out of us, because they understand that setting up infrastructure requires a lot of heavy-duty work at first.
The thing that surprised us the most was just how rugged the policy agent is. That’s something you don’t worry as much about with software builds, but is really important with infrastructure.
And the learning curve was less of a problem than we expected. Spacelift’s software guides you through what it can do, once you’re used to the basics, which only took us a week. After that, the productivity benefits really started to show themselves. Onboarding our developers was much faster than most tools allow. Once it’s set up it becomes a simple but powerful part of your toolset.
Spacelift has helped us set up a flexible and productive Infrastructure as Code environment. It makes the basics like setting up and iterating on plans simpler and quicker to handle, which has allowed us to focus more on larger engineering concerns. When things in our infrastructure go wrong, that’s when Spacelift really shines.
And Spacelift has allowed us to go much deeper into Terraform. For example, a lot of the things you can do with the API are really fun. For example, Stacks that make stacks are really neat, and the kind of thing that would normally be intimidating rather than exciting, as Spacelift makes them.
We would encourage people to rethink how they use Terraform, as Spacelift has enabled all sorts of new workflows that have transformed our productivity.