A few years ago, Principal Engineer at Eventbrite, Steven Reynolds, was consistently frustrated by his team’s lack of independence. Their previous CI/CD tool, Jenkins, didn’t have enough insight into why tests would fail, and they needed access to more repeatable tools and configurations to move faster.
For Reynolds, both speed and quality code are must-haves. “The goal is to go faster and deliver value,” Reynolds says. “When we push out code through our pipelines, we need to do it in ways that enable our developers so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.”
Eventbrite needed a CI/CD solution that would become a “force multiplier” — a platform that would deliver greater value with more efficiency, while supporting each engineer’s independence and maintaining security standards.
Reducing developer downtime
Once the team replaced Jenkins with CircleCI, they quickly shaved time off shipping and testing code. CircleCI’s reliability meant that developers didn’t have to wait around when systems were down. Reynolds’ team was able to save 90 minutes per developer per week — a 28% reduction in developer downtime overall. This was especially useful for their small team of six platform developers serving an engineering org of 250.
“If you resolve developer wait time, you effectively get more developers without changing anything else,” Reynolds says. “And that’s more time spent delivering business value.” The switch to CircleCI saves Eventbrite about $70K per year on average.
“CircleCI gives us a path where the pipeline is more of a pattern,” Reynolds explains. “We don’t need developers writing their own pipeline every single time.”
The ability to meet rigorous security standards
One of the key features that Eventbrite’s platform team uses to customize the development process for the entire engineering org while maintaining strict security protocols is CircleCI’s config policies. Config policies allow users to set “hard fails,” which will not allow pipelines to execute if they don’t meet specific requirements.
Reynolds’ team wanted the ability to use CircleCI’s private orbs without allowing third party orbs (for security reasons) and they were able to do that with config policies. “There are times where we don’t want to be able to execute pipelines for whatever reason,” says Reyolds. “And we can do that with config policies.”
Setting hard fails with config policies satisfies the security team’s requirements of making sure Eventbrite’s engineers understand the things they allow into their environment while also allowing them to leverage the functionality of private orbs, like creating pipeline templates. The process ensures consistent development practices while still giving devs the leeway to innovate and build, which ensures every dev is using best practices even when things change.
“We can still allow developers to do custom work if they want to, when they want to. Developers are in complete control.”
Principal Engineer at Eventbrite
Developers are in complete control
With CircleCI, Reynolds and Eventbrite’s platform developers are confident in their code quality and that their work is delivering on business objectives. Developers use CircleCI to stay within compliance, security, and efficiency guardrails.
The templates in Reynolds’ pattern library don’t get in the way of developers doing creative work, and when permissions and policies are fine-tuned and automated, any updates are invisible to developers.
“We can still allow developers to do custom work if they want to,” Reynolds says. “Developers are in complete control. They can do everything they want to do, when they want to do it, which makes them happy.”
Reynolds and his team also look to CircleCI for valuable metrics on their test coverage, checking the CircleCI Insights dashboard frequently to discover why tests failed and to uncover systemic problems in their pipelines. The Insights dashboard is a vital tool for saving time and giving the team confidence that their strategic optimization efforts will bear fruit.
“We don’t need developers to be experts in every aspect of operationally managing a service,” Reynolds says. “The CircleCI features build on one another to create a platform that enables choice for developers, without spending a lot of time on infrastructure operations.”
Benefits of using CircleCI:
- Automate common configurations to save time
- Troubleshoot failed tests with Insights dashboard
- Customizable compute, which lets developers quickly swap between iOS and Android
- Freedom to innovate within guardrails
Eventbrite’s powerful, broad technology platform integrates components needed to seamlessly plan, promote and produce live events, while reducing friction and costs, increasing reach and driving ticket sales.