WebMD Health Services

How WebMD Used BuildMaster to Add Automated Installation Scripts to their Microservices

Industry:  Health Care

Location:  Oregon

How WebMD Used BuildMaster to Add Automated Installation Scripts to their Microservices

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Automation of 100+ Microservices

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“I’m focusing on getting the software deployed as fast as possible, and with as much quality as possible. And I’m focused on making sure we’re building the quality in, and that we’re catching things really early in the process.”

Aaron Jensen, Software Architect, WebMD

The Challenge:

WebMD, the online health services giant, decided to stay cutting edge and make the move to microservices. Unfortunately, Development team managers bypassed automation experts during this process, instead choosing to create their own Build and Deployment processes for decoupled services. When maintaining everything became too complicated, executive management decided to clean house and bring in a new team dedicated to DevOps collaboration.

The new team faced a huge problem — no automated installation scripts existed. In the short term, it needed agents on their machines to run the scripts automatically. In the long term, it envisioned an immutable infrastructure so every deployment to a new server automatically installed everything necessary for the server to start taking traffic.

In addition, it needed to do all of this while maintaining WebMD’s HITRUST certification, a downstream requirement of HIPAA that organizations must have to lawfully handle individuals’ Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personal Identifying Information (PII). If an automated installation script sent a non-compliant change into Production, the company risked breaking federal law.

The Solution:

The DevOps team first tasked itself with improving the existing Build and Deployment processes. It wanted to start by automating the existing pipeline. Ultimately, it wanted to ensure build servers matched developer machines. In other words, all teams would be doing the same thing across all servers.

BuildMaster’s combination of server agents, light memory footprint, API pipeline automation functionality, and full control made it the clear choice to accomplish this. In addition, its permissions and approvals functionality ensured changes were approved and deployed into Production in compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Today, the team creates build and deployment pipelines in BuildMaster to enable automated deployments for all its microservices, while still maintaining WebMD’s HITRUST Certification.

Here’s the value BuildMaster brings to WebMD on a day to day basis:

  • Enable HITRUST Certification: Permissions and Approvals make sure only QA engineers can deploy to higher environments. Corporate can be sure no changes can go live that would compromise WebMD’s HITRUST certification.
  • Spin up new UI aps and services when needed: There is instant integration between new applications in WebMD’s deployment tool and Jenkins build and deployment pipelines.
  • Full Visibility: Development teams have full visibility into deployment failures, increasing quality while speeding up lead times.

“Deployment process was quarterly or tri-annual releases. And every time you did a release, somebody had to go into the Dev environment for the new release. And that was a half-day manual checklist to go through to get everything configured the right way. Now, all those checklists went away and we went to an automated script process to get things configured and installed.” 

Aaron Jensen, Software Architect, WebMD
BuildMaster Features

Watch an interview with Aaron to hear in his own words how BuildMaster delivers value to WebMD, or watch his InedoCon session to get even more details about implementing microservices while maintaining compliance.

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