How Kubernetes Helped Haufe Group Transform into Microservices and Cloud-Native Architecture


Kubernetes has emerged as an effective on-go solution for small and midsize companies, paving the way to switch to a cloud-native architecture. One such company is Haufe Group. In this blog post, we will review how Kubernetes has helped Haufe Group transform into Microservices and cloud-native architecture and what it can symbolically mean for other companies dealing in digital products.

Adapting to increasing workloads and a vision for scalability: The prime reasons for Haufe Group to choose Kubernetes

Haufe Group is identified as a traditional publishing company that has grown sporadically into the media and software space since its inception in 1930. Digital products are a huge source of income for the company and of total sales, they score a whopping 95%. With the evolution of the marketplace, dynamic customers’ expectations, and emerging competition in the marketplace, the company realized that it needed to scale up its marketing and sales endeavors in ways that were trustworthy and could be implemented faster. At the same time, they also wanted a progressive mechanism to enable them to manage the increasing workloads more efficiently.

When the company first chose Microsoft Azure for its cloud-native journey the company was looking for effective solutions for cloud-based deployments on desktop applications with download services that were heavy for the bandwidth. Over recent years, the company revamped the traditional approach that was provider-driven and replaced it by prioritizing cloud and API-based maneuvers.

Kubernetes ensured that containerized environment gets deployed in production

Haufe Group embraced a containerized environment driven by Docker which enabled and drove infrastructure-as-code. This approach equipped the company to leverage two of its services in production. These services were powered by Kubernetes, the ultimate container orchestration tool, and were deployed using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

The team simultaneously is beginning to convulse one of their enterprise desktop products developed on core java into microservices. With this move, they’ll be able to embrace a progressive path and evolve to finally scale dynamically in a cloud-native environment.

Kubernetes provides the flexibility to scale up or down the workload

Opting for Kubernetes has also enabled this media house to adapt to the fluctuating workloads by scaling up or down as per their customers’ demands. They have been able to scale down to about 50% of their optimum capacity and this move, as they claim, has allowed them to cut down 30% of the total cost of hardware. Also, curtailing the release times massively, resulted in positive results.

By switching to a cloud-native platform driven by Kubernetes, the media house is able to release new products within hours, which formerly used to take days and the final announcement for the release also could only be made only at least a week prior, considering there was so much in platter already for each of the teammates. Most of the tasks related to getting a new release finalized could be automated with ease and that became an exceptional advantage of switching to a cloud-native platform. With Kubernetes one has the ease of deciding when to run containers and when to scale up or down, so, they needn’t worry much about how they want to manage and orchestrate their containers.

Kubernetes helped Haufe Group transition from a traditional media house to a prime player in the digital products & SAAS solution providers

Haufe Group over the years has transformed from being recognized as a traditional media firm to a business that deals with digital media and software products and Kubernetes have played a crucial role in driving this transmutation. What worked the best for them is that they were the early adopters of the technology and that gave them a considerable competitive advantage.

Haufe Group is pioneering the way for other small and mid-size companies in the media publishing and digital space with an obvious and exemplary message of how these other companies can also benefit immensely by embracing Kubernetes, a cloud-native technology. Kubernetes has helped the company significantly improve the performance of its customer-facing applications. However, this road to transition wasn’t smooth for a company like Haufe Group which consists of about 2200 employees and they weren’t much receptive to adopting cloud-native technologies. However, if Kubernetes can work for such a midsize company, it also sends a strong message to other small and midsize companies in media publishing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) space that Kubernetes can be beneficial for companies of all sizes and is not just restricted to the big names such as Ticketmaster or Google.

With Kubernetes came self-reliance, better control of the process flow, and reduced costs of operationalization

Switching to Kubernetes has also helped Haufe Group become more self-reliant. In the early 2000s, their DevOps process wasn’t orchestrated which meant a lot of manual work, outsourcing, and wasting too much money, time, and resources on monitoring.

With the traditional approach, the core problems with product development were encountered and those included the ever-increasing demands for increased scalability, reliability, and speed. With Kubernetes, not only these three challenges were resolved but the company was also able to design and run an agile methodology for product development and deployment, consisting of the following steps:

  1. Writing concepts to develop or manifests for your Kubernetes environment
  2. Handing the concepts to production and finally,
  3. Passing it over to the hosting provider

With this process flow, if anything gets wrong, it’s simpler to figure out what went wrong and where. This allows for better control and the process of product development is faster. Moreover, the company is also able to better manage its workload. Also, with the adoption of Kubernetes the company was able to transcend the use of Docker technology beyond the testing environment to the production for deploying and managing the multi-cluster environment in a hybrid cloud space.

Lessons other media houses can learn from the Haufe Group

Although Haufe Group might not be a household name to most people, the company is an established and respected name in the media publishing industry. And their journey towards embracing Kubernetes could be an example for other small and mid-size companies in the media publishing or SaaS space who can benefit tremendously by embracing Kubernetes.

One thing that all other media houses can learn from Haufe Group is a strong foundation to have. They may have been shocked by the idea of Kubernetes but they were able to accept it and integrate it into their business operations by implementing this cloud-native technology in their applications. Because of this, now, they are able to see increased performance of their customer-facing applications and reduced downtime for deployed applications.

There is no doubt that Haufe Group has been one of the pioneers in embracing Kubernetes. The company also made a clear decision to embrace this technology because it was considered the best way forward for it at that point in time and now they are leading by example for other media houses and SaaS/cloud companies as well.

For companies to successfully transition to cloud-native technology they must develop a supporting internal culture, receptivity for new technologies, and innovation apart from having the will, motivation, and passion for the technology and must be willing to invest the time and effort in learning how it will benefit their businesses.

Closing thoughts

Currently, Haufe Group is using Kubernetes in the production environment on different products in a hassle-free manner and is also exploring other managed Kubernetes platforms like CoreOS Tectonic, Azure Container Service, and ECS. They are also parallel working on building, deploying, and optimizing CI/CD pipelines with the help of an effective API management system. They have been successfully able to deploy automated CI/CD pipelines on a Kubernetes cluster. Their main website serving content to the customers has also become cloud-native.

Transitioning to microservices and cloud-native architectures means that Cloud will reduce the cost of operationalization and fetch dividends faster. In the current era of digital transformation, Haufe Group is able to create more value through a cloud-native architecture. The company has been successful in tuning up the Kubernetes cluster build and deployment process with an effective API management system and will continue to do so in the future. With an efficient orchestration tool for cloud-native applications, it makes sense for them.

Photo credit: The feature image is owned by Haufe Group and was provided as part of a press release for media usage.

This guest article has been submitted by Priya Kumari. While we appreciate guest contributions, it's important to note that the views expressed by the author are not necessarily reflective of those held by TechAcute.

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This article has been submitted to us by an external contributor to TechAcute. We appreciate all external contributions but the opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of TechAcute.
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