SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui

Blog Feed Post

Customer Spotlight: Amit Bali at eBay

Amit Bali, Release and Configuration Management Lead at eBay, discusses the challenges that drew his team to Plutora, the implementation process, and the advantages of making the change.

Amit Bali is a Release and Configuration Management Lead at eBay. He is responsible for coordinating application releases, their schedules, and the test environments utilized in the release process.

I spent some time with him getting his thoughts on moving to Plutora and how that has affected release management at eBay, one of the best known and longest running e-commerce platforms.

What was eBay using historically for release and test environment management?

“We were using a custom form in SharePoint for release ticketing and an in-house custom tool built on Remedy. It was more or less manual entry of data. We were relying on the information people gave us and would have to assume that that information was correct.

There was no environment management at all. That was entirely being handled by the respective development teams spread across the organization. We [test environment managers] had very little control over this aspect of what the teams were doing.”

What challenges was eBay facing with its historical solution?

“From a data point of view, the data input was very similar to what we are doing now with Plutora. But data lacked structure — handling and pulling out the data was not user-friendly, it was cumbersome and a poor experience for our end users.

We had no conflict management and our ticketing system wasn’t able to identify potential conflicts between releases. This was causing problems — production downtime, outages — it was defeating the purpose of the release management processes we’d put in place.”

What drew eBay towards Plutora?

“We had introduced release management around 2011, 2012, but before that we had no release management at all. There were still a lot of incidents and issues around releases across the organization. We were learning from experience and wanted to increase the maturity level of the process, and we wanted to move away from SharePoint — it’s not built for release management.

Our first steps towards Plutora came from wanting to make our processes more mature and rigid in structure. We were investigating a variety of tools when we came across Plutora. As we explored it, we found that its flexibility was well-suited to our needs. We were initially interested in Plutora for release management, then interest in Plutora’s other features and environment management came later.”

What made Plutora a better choice for eBay than competitors in the space, or building a custom tool in-house?

“We evaluated Remedy, but found it quite cumbersome and not very flexible to customize. As for an in-house solution, eBay has been trying to minimize custom applications and bring in more competitive standard solutions. Building a custom tool was not in line with our goal of moving towards global standards of release management.”

Which products are you using?

Plutora Release and Plutora Environments.”

How was the process of moving to the cloud?

“Moving to the cloud for this specific scenario, release management, was not difficult as we did not migrate data from our previous SharePoint inventory. The difficult part of the process was understanding the release management product and how it should to be customized to fit our needs.

As we had very custom requirements, this is where the initial 6 months were spent when switching to Plutora — if we had built an in-house tool it would have been the same.”

Was there anything that surprised you during the implementation process?

“When we were first moving to Plutora we hadn’t thought about environmental conflicts and environments management, so that was the first pleasant surprise.
We were able to identify what potential conflicts could occur and where just by looking into the compact metrics.

Another pleasant surprise was how the comment module removed a lot of email overhead. The comment section cleared up a lot of my inbox. Leaving a comment would automatically trigger an email to all of the stakeholders.

That way, when going back to the same release, I would know exactly what I asked for and whether it was received. The comment section was effective to start with, and then you enhanced it and made it even better.”

How easy was it to customize Plutora to eBay’s needs?

“Any organization will have its own organizational structure, statuses, custom fields to pull information, any number of things that won’t be part of a standard release management tool. At eBay it’s the same, we have multiple different applications that work differently, our hierarchy is different for every application, the support is different for every application.

Aspects of customization such as adding a new field, or a new custom status unique to an organization, or managing access control are needed. Most tools, such as SharePoint, need custom code to be written to implement these kinds of enhancements. Since we moved to Plutora that has become much easier, it just takes a few clicks and it’s ready.”

How did Plutora perform in terms of ROI?

“We achieved ROI in less than a year. This improved the longer we used Plutora; there were a lot of kinks in the onboarding process.

Plutora cuts down our resourcing needs. As a single release manager, I managed 20 applications. I was the release manager, the security admin, I was taking care of all the customization. In comparison, an in-house application at least needs a security admin, one or two developers taking care of enhancements, a subject matter expert who understands the needs of the application — all of this need for extra resources is cut down.”

How responsive has Plutora support been?

“Pretty responsive, David Studebaker was our point of contact. That worked out well for us; he was always on top of things. I would give the support an 8/10. At the beginning it was closer to 7 due to a few issues early on with performance. Now that these have been resolved, I would rate it an 8.”

What do you like most about Plutora?

“The ease of use of the system. It has lots of ways to filter, dissect and bisect the data. Usage is simple and self-explanatory, it’s not cumbersome unlike some other systems, it looks very clean and crisp. The use of the system was my favorite aspect.

I like the stakeholder’s module. Lots of organizations struggle when it comes to the stakeholders of a particular application, and this module made it easy to maintain communications during different releases.

Reporting was good. When we were evaluating the tool, we saw some customer reports that had been made for other customers. If those could be brought in as standard so new customers could use them, that would make the reporting module even better.”

The post Customer Spotlight: Amit Bali at eBay appeared first on Plutora.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Plutora Blog

Plutora provides Enterprise Release and Test Environment Management SaaS solutions aligning process, technology, and information to solve release orchestration challenges for the enterprise.

Plutora’s SaaS solution enables organizations to model release management and test environment management activities as a bridge between agile project teams and an enterprise’s ITSM initiatives. Using Plutora, you can orchestrate parallel releases from several independent DevOps groups all while giving your executives as well as change management specialists insight into overall risk.

Supporting the largest releases for the largest organizations throughout North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, Plutora provides proof that large companies can adopt DevOps while managing the risks that come with wider adoption of self-service and agile software development in the enterprise. Aligning process, technology, and information to solve increasingly complex release orchestration challenges, this Gartner “Cool Vendor in IT DevOps” upgrades the enterprise release management from spreadsheets, meetings, and email to an integrated dashboard giving release managers insight and control over large software releases.

Latest Stories
Alan Hase is Vice President of Engineering and Chief Development Officer at Big Switch. Alan has more than 20 years of experience in the networking industry and leading global engineering teams which have delivered industry leading innovation in high end routing, security, fabric and wireless technologies. Alan joined Big Switch from Extreme Networks where he was responsible for product strategy for its secure campus switching, intelligent mobility and campus orchestration products. Prior to Ext...
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
On-premise or off, you have powerful tools available to maximize the value of your infrastructure and you demand more visibility and operational control. Fortunately, data center management tools keep a vigil on memory contestation, power, thermal consumption, server health, and utilization, allowing better control no matter your cloud's shape. In this session, learn how Intel software tools enable real-time monitoring and precise management to lower operational costs and optimize infrastructure...
Public clouds dominate IT conversations but the next phase of cloud evolutions are "multi" hybrid cloud environments. The winners in the cloud services industry will be those organizations that understand how to leverage these technologies as complete service solutions for specific customer verticals. In turn, both business and IT actors throughout the enterprise will need to increase their engagement with multi-cloud deployments today while planning a technology strategy that will constitute a ...
Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that pro...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
Andrew Keys is co-founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereum.
Data center, on-premise, public-cloud, private-cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, IoT, AI, edge, SaaS, PaaS... it's an availability, security, performance and integration nightmare even for the best of the best IT experts. Organizations realize the tremendous benefits of everything the digital transformation has to offer. Cloud adoption rates are increasing significantly, and IT budgets are morphing to follow suit. But distributing applications and infrastructure around increases risk, introdu...
DevOps has long focused on reinventing the SDLC (e.g. with CI/CD, ARA, pipeline automation etc.), while reinvention of IT Ops has lagged. However, new approaches like Site Reliability Engineering, Observability, Containerization, Operations Analytics, and ML/AI are driving a resurgence of IT Ops. In this session our expert panel will focus on how these new ideas are [putting the Ops back in DevOps orbringing modern IT Ops to DevOps].
Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 23rd CloudEXPO, June 24-26, 2019 at Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA will find fresh new content in full new FinTech & Enterprise Blockchain track.
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science" is responsible for guiding the technology strategy within Hitachi Vantara for IoT and Analytics. Bill brings a balanced business-technology approach that focuses on business outcomes to drive data, analytics and technology decisions that underpin an organization's digital transformation strategy. Bill has a very impressive background which includes ...
On-premise or off, you have powerful tools available to maximize the value of your infrastructure and you demand more visibility and operational control. Fortunately, data center management tools keep a vigil on memory contestation, power, thermal consumption, server health, and utilization, allowing better control no matter your cloud's shape. In this session, learn how Intel software tools enable real-time monitoring and precise management to lower operational costs and optimize infrastructure...
Most organizations are awash today in data and IT systems, yet they're still struggling mightily to use these invaluable assets to meet the rising demand for new digital solutions and customer experiences that drive innovation and growth. What's lacking are potent and effective ways to rapidly combine together on-premises IT and the numerous commercial clouds that the average organization has in place today into effective new business solutions. New research shows that delivering on multicloud e...