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How Kubernetes Has Been ‘Transformational’ to Productivity and Culture at uSwitch

When it was founded in 2000, uSwitch helped consumers in the U.K. compare prices for their utilities. The company eventually expanded to include comparison and switching tools for a wide range of verticals, including broadband service, credit cards, and insurance.

Internally, those verticals translated into a decentralized technology infrastructure. Teams—which were organized around the markets their applications price-compared—ran all their own AWS infrastructure and were responsible for configuring load-balancers, EC2 instances, ECS cluster upgrades, and more. 

Though many teams had converged on the idea of using containerization for web applications and deploying to ECS, “everyone was running different kinds of clusters with their own way of building and running them, with a whole bunch of different tools,” says Head of Engineering Paul Ingles. With the increasing cloud and organizational complexity, they had difficulty scaling teams. “It was just inefficient,” says Infrastructure Lead Tom Booth. “We wanted to bring some consistency to the infrastructure that we had.”

Booth and Ingles had both experimented with Kubernetes before, when the company first adopted containerization. Separately, the infrastructure team had done an evaluation of several orchestration systems, in which Kubernetes came out on top. In late 2016, the two began working on building a Kubernetes platform for uSwitch. 

Today, all 36 teams at uSwitch are running at least some of their applications on the new platform, and as a result, the rate of deployments has increased almost 3x. The release rate per person per week has almost doubled, with releases now happening as often as 100 times a day. Moreover, those improvements have been sustained, even as more people were added to the platform. 

Read more about uSwitch’s cloud native journey in the full case study.