Freeing engineers from infrastructure workloads
At any given time, there’s a flurry of dev projects going on at Tessian, the Boston-based cloud email security company. At the moment, engineers are building a DevEx team, fine-turning architecture and security tooling, and completing a migration from Concourse, the organization’s previous CI/CD solution.
The busy dev workloads demand every available engineering hour for code development and testing, and ideally, less time running infrastructure. But with Concourse, engineers had their hands full.
“We’re running our own infrastructure for Concourse, which is a lot of overhead for the team,” says David Barham, principal engineer at Tessian. “There’s configuration to do right out of the box. Also, the Concourse user interface is not the most intuitive.”
The workload was a burden, says lead platform engineer Avnish Pundir. “It was overwhelming, and it wasn’t scalable,” Pundir says. “That was when we started looking at other solutions, including CircleCI. It fit the bill when it came to platform needs as well as engineering. The overall experience attracted us because it’s so easy to use.”
Getting critical support for smooth CI/CD
There was a long list of must-haves for Tessian’s new CI/CD solution – like pipelines as code through YAML configurations. “That was a big win for us,” Barham says, as was support for both Linux and Windows because of the nature of Tessian’s email security products.
“We deploy add-ins for Microsoft Outlook, since many dev solutions don’t use Windows,” Barham says. Because Tessian currently has a monorepo, engineers also needed dynamic configuration. “A lot of CI/CD tools today basically assume repo per service and don’t bother to support the other use cases,” says Barham. “That eliminates many other CI/CD options pretty quickly!”
Tessian opted for CircleCI Premium Support. “Support is critical to our platform running right,” Barham says. “We’re deploying many times a day, and if we can’t deploy or there’s an outage, we need to keep rolling forward.”
David emphasized the value of CircleCI’s Developer Training Sessions, which not only offered valuable insights into setting up .NET project pipelines on the Windows executor but also provided guidance on dynamic configurations. Moreover, the dedicated Slack channel emerged as an efficient platform for swiftly addressing a wide range of questions and challenges encountered by the team.
For a company with security as a differentiator, security features for CI/CD solutions, such as SSO, tilted the choice in favor of CircleCI. “There’s also the ability to run CircleCI in the EU – very important for our Europe-based clients in terms of complying with GDPR.”
“Support is critical to our platform running right. We're deploying many times a day, and if we can't deploy, that's going to stop us being able to do our jobs effectively.”
Principal Engineer at Tessian
Builds are 37% faster in CircleCI
Once engineers rolled out CircleCI, they tracked a significant improvement in build times for Tessian’s main Python monorepo. In 95% of builds, the build time went from 67 minutes to 42 minutes – 37% faster than with Concourse.
Using a SaaS CI/CD solution buys back time for engineers – and also reassures Tessian customers. “We don’t have to put a vendor down as a sub-processor,” Barham says. “The more sub-processors you have, the more that security-conscious customers have to get jittery about.”
In addition, there’s much less work for Tessian engineers to do to keep CircleCI up and running. “We haven’t got a giant platform team, so we need to focus on tasks that matter to our business,” Barham says. “With a SaaS product there’s not as much heavy lifting for our team.”
More time and freedom for teams to code
Now that engineers don’t need to manage a CI/CD implementation, they pursue projects on their own. In particular, the platform team likes the reduction in management time that comes from using a SaaS solution like CircleCI.
Since CircleCI adoption has been a success, “we’re pretty excited about completing the migration off of Concourse,” Barham says. “The feedback from developers has also been great, and we’re sure we’re going to see solid productivity impacts soon.”
Benefits of using CircleCI:
- Reduction in build times
- Elimination of infrastructure workloads
- Support to keep code pipeline running smoothly
Using machine learning technology, Tessian automatically stops data breaches and security threats caused by human error – like data exfiltration, accidental data loss, business email compromise and phishing attacks – with minimal disruption to employees’ workflow.