Client Background

DemandBridge, a market automation provider with approximately 600 clients, provides back-office services and sales support.

Their products focus on brand management and marketing communication, inventory management and accounting software for distributions, and web-based procurement tools.

With their major application services developed as a monolith, DemandBridge was seeking to gain development and production efficiencies by switching development to a microservices approach.

To help facilitate this change, open source Cloud Foundry was chosen, which provides many advantages through the automation of a sandbox, development, and production environments while also eliminating the risk of vendor lock-in.

The Challenge

With a four-person development team, DemandBridge didn’t have additional resources to dedicate toward learning the intricacies of Cloud Foundry or managing such a complex platform. With those factors in mind they elected to hire Stark & Wayne to build and manage the platform for them. This decision allowed the DemandBridge development team to maintain continuity in their role as developers and focus on splitting up the monolith to microservices while Stark & Wayne was working to set up the platform. By leveraging Stark & Wayne’s skill at managing Cloud Foundry, once the applications were split into microservices, DemandBridge could move application improvements to market more quickly, scale more efficiently, and put in place measurements to minimize downtime and/or recover environments in the event of a failure.

When initially setting up Cloud Foundry, Stark & Wayne engineers hypothesized that automating a number of functions that were critical to the smooth operation of the platform would be a good thing. Unfortunately, some of those functions, such as platform and server upgrades, proved to be impractical in the real world. For example, when upgrading a specific VM, automated processes would then work to upgrade every VM being used by the platform, which might take place during peak usage hours. While the concept of automating upgrades was a noble pursuit, it wasn’t optimal when trying to ensure that the platform runs as smoothly as possible. With that realization, Stark & Wayne elected not to pursue this approach on every facet of the platform in order to maximize the availability of applications during peak periods.

The Solution & Next Steps

DemandBridge, a marketing automation provider with approximately 600 clients, provides back-office services and sales support.

Understanding that Cloud Foundry is a very complex platform to manage effectively, DemandBridge made that decision to not hire operations as full-time employees but to have Stark & Wayne manage their platform directly. The advantages of that division include reduced headcount and associated costs along with having experienced operators overseeing their Cloud Foundry platform. With experienced operators, DemandBridge was assured of having proper configuration, timely updates, and the implementation of their best practices from the very beginning, all of which helped their Cloud Foundry perform at or above expectations.

The DemandBridge engagement ultimately lead to Stark & Wayne’s development and launch of their Managed Services, which seamlessly allows Stark & Wayne engineers to manage another companies Cloud Foundry platform, eliminating the risk of losing critical personnel and ensuring that any problems that arise are handled quickly and competently.

For another perspective on our engagement with DemandBridge, consider reading the following write-up by the Cloud Foundry Foundation.