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Mobility Transportation

How Tier can deliver new infrastructure from concept to production in 1 hour

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Summary
Shared micro-mobility provider Tier Mobility was experiencing issues around the growth and structure of infrastructure code, configurability, and permissions that were affecting their ability to properly deliver IaC to meet business objectives. Spacelift emerged as by far the best tool they found, enabling them to implement their CI/CD strategy for IaC with greater speed and control than they had believed possible.
Company size
900
Engineering team size
80
Stack
AWS, Terraform, Kubernetes, GitHub

Tier Mobility has an established presence in 130+ cities across 15 countries in Europe and the Middle East. Tier Mobility has:

  • More than 120,000 devices on streets worldwide
  • Integrations with over 35 different public transport systems
  • Logged around 65 million trips among its customers, who have traveled over 80 million miles (130 million kilometers) and saved 22 million car trips

Additionally, Tier Mobility provides charging/battery exchange stations placed in retail or similar locations, and consumers can also directly purchase refurbished electric scooters.

Daniel Ciaglia, Director of Core Infrastructure and Developer Experience, and Timur Bublik, Senior DevOps Engineer, spoke to us about their infrastructure-as-code (IaC) experiences and how the Tier Mobility infrastructure team has adopted and leveraged Spacelift within their IaC DevOps environment.

The challenge

Tier had several issues they needed to fix because they were starting to affect their ability to adequately deliver IaC to meet business objectives. The three highest-priority issues requiring attention were:

  • the growth and structure of infrastructure code
  • configurability
  • permissions

Solving these issues would help them meet their long-term goal of being able to deliver new micro-services from concept to production in one hour.

The Spacelift experience

Tier was already familiar with the overall capabilities of Spacelift because they had implemented and used its predecessor, geopoiesis. “Geopoiesis did already solve some of our issues, so we were very interested in moving to the next generation of the solution,” explains Daniel Ciaglia, Director of Core Infrastructure and Developer Experience. “We did take a look at other offerings in the IaC CI/CD space, but we didn’t see anything that would help us in the long term.”

Issues such as the manual review of Terraform plans and the inability to manage geopoesis from Terraform had established workarounds, but these were tedious and time-consuming. “We monitored Spacelift’s development closely to understand if it would be able to help us solve these remaining issues. Once it was generally available, we started evaluating Spacelift in depth and any questions or issues we had were addressed immediately by the Spacelift team,” says Timur Bublik, Senior DevOps Engineer. The team running the infrastructure was involved in every facet of the evaluation process in conjunction with the security team and the entire team presented the chosen solution to business decision-makers at VP and C levels. “We were really impressed with the solution and the company; they have built a great product, and they back it up with top-notch support,” says Daniel.

Impact

Once Tier started fully implementing Spacelift and transitioning their IaC code, they began to see immediate improvements in their IaC DevOps process. “Two of the biggest things we were able to accomplish was a complete refactoring of our entire IaC code base and the delivery of new infrastructure or changes from concept to production in one hour,” says Daniel.

Spacelift helps the core infrastructure team get out of the way of product teams by providing access to the necessary elements they need to do their job. The platform provided a way for the IaC DevOps team to abstract the infrastructure from the application developers and provide them with a catalog of infrastructure components they require to support their initiatives. 

“To provide a catalog of infrastructure components, we took advantage of OPA integration to automate policy and implement policies directly in code which allowed us to set guardrails on what users can and cannot do thus ensuring infrastructure consistency and best practices,” says Timur.

“To streamline our IaC process we built a strategy around policy and TF registry so that all modules are automatically approved based on a scoring system, removing the manual workaround, to free up the IaC DevOps team from reviews.”

Github integration was simple for Tier to set up and provided immediate integration with VCS access using a trunk-based main branch strategy based on small commits, so every commit is delivered to production.

Spacelift is now a critical part of Tier’s IaC DevOps environment and without the solution, it would have been impossible to achieve its primary goal of having a new service from concept to production in one hour. “Spacelift is by far the best tool we have found, as it enabled us to implement our CI/CD strategy for IaC far quicker and with more control than that we had previously thought possible,” concludes Daniel.

 

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