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O.C.Tanner Delivers an Innovation-First PaaS with Kubernetes & Turbonomic

About O.C. Tanner

  • Developing employee recognition strategies and rewards programs that help companies appreciate people who do great work
  • One of the largest manufacturers of retail and corporate awards in the United States
  • Supporting the environment, arts, education, children, and organizations that are meaningful to its employees through charity

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Digital Transformation on Kubernetes is Not Without Its Challenges

O.C.Tanner is a nearly century old organization that has digitally transformed its business. The company was founded in 1927 and got its start by selling class rings and pins to high school and college graduates. Today O.C.Tanner develops employee recognition software that helps companies appreciate people who do great work. Their latest offering, Culture Cloud, is a suite of employee experience apps and solutions that runs almost entirely on Kubernetes.

Sam Beckett, Cloud Engineer at O.C.Tanner, is leading the effort to develop a Platform as a Service (PaaS) for their developers called Akkeris. Built upon Kubernetes, Akkeris makes it easy for developers to deploy code into production while taking care of compliance, authorization, auditing, add-on services like databases, etc.

With over 1500 deployments on the platform managing resources is not easy. Developers have had to make decisions about how to size containers—an educated guess at best, it also takes time away from building revenue-generating functionality. Creating new features and services are what they’d rather be doing, so it was understandable that when it came to resourcing decisions, Developers were overestimating how much they needed.

“Without Turbonomic it gets pretty hard,” says Sam. “We’ve tried to give Developers recommendations in the past, providing basic metrics regarding network traffic, CPU utilization, memory usage, and so on, but trying to assemble that into a recommendation for our users is very resource intensive and inconsistent. It is a real challenge!”

Sam Beckett
Cloud Engineer
O.C. Tanner

Delivering an Innovation-First PaaS with Kubernetes & Turbonomic

With Turbonomic, however, neither Sam, his team, nor the Developers have to crunch the numbers. The software understands the resource needs of applications and continuously determines the actions that ensure they get exactly what they need to perform. Every layer of the stack is analyzed and resourced based on real time demand, from pods and services to containers to nodes, as well as the underlying AWS cloud infrastructure. With Turbonomic continuously making container sizing decisions, Sam and his team are able to present that information to their Developers and have data informed conversations about how to optimize their resources. 

Likewise, Sam has started to leverage Turbonomic to manage his platform services running on Akkeris that their Developers use to build their applications.

“Our team has Kubernetes components that run the platform Akkeris. We have a lot of services that we provide to Developers and Turbonomic has helped me understand how to optimize those services.”

Next, Sam and his team aim to leverage Turbo’s API to map resize actions to “t-shirt sizes” within their PaaS. Developers will be able to select the recommended t-shirt size as part of the self-service deployment – they never have to touch K8s! “Turbonomic's API has given us all of the data that we need in order to implement its recommendations into our PaaS and we are really excited about the performance improvements and cost savings....” says Sam.

 

Turbonomic's API has given us all of the data that we need in order to implement its recommendations into our PaaS and we are really excited about the performance improvements and cost savings....”

Sam Beckett
Cloud Engineer
O.C. Tanner

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