Customer stories ANWB

From bicycles to connected driving

Improved collaboration
Improved CI/CD
Increased team autonomy
Industry Travel / Insurance
Employees 3,700
Location The Netherlands

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ANWB, the largest not-for-profit association in the Netherlands, needed a one-stop, modern toolchain to increase team autonomy and eliminate process isolation.

With GitLab, development teams at ANWB can more easily choose their own pipelines and their own processes instead of having to conform to a single way of working.

We had developers that thought, Why would we do something else? Jenkins is fine. But I think those people need to see GitLab first and see what the difference is because GitLab is so much more than Jenkins. The power of GitLab is you can do so much more and you can make everything so much easier to manage.
- Michiel Crefcoeur, Frontend Build and Release Engineer, ANWB

Keeping the Netherlands rolling

What started as a small community of bike enthusiasts has grown into a full-service mobility provider over the past 135 years. The Royal Dutch Touring Club, or Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijdersbond (ANWB), was formed in 1883 when a few local cycling clubs merged. With the evolution of automobiles, the club shifted focus to roadside service. Now, in addition to roadside services, ANWB offers credit cards, car sales, bicycle maintenance, and travel services.

Some of the club’s most popular services include route planning software for mobile devices and a connected car service that enables older cars to provide intelligence to drivers.

Replacing multiple tools and plugins with a unified toolset

At the beginning of 2018, the product and development teams decided to make a strategic change to improve their development process. At that time, they had multiple interconnected tooling and services. This environment was driven by developer and administrator’s knowledge and background and wasn’t easily maintained. System breakdowns required someone to manually look at what was going on. These prolonged outages prevented people from doing their jobs properly. The company operated with an attitude of ”Okay, it’s working. Don’t touch. As long as we don’t touch it, everything will be fine.”

The toolchain consisted of some outdated tools including Jenkins version 1 as a build server, and Stash (now known as Bitbucket Server) as a Git repository server. For artifact hosting, ANWB was using Artifactory and Nexus.

We are just replacing these outdated tools bit by bit, doing it the agile way. We really wanted to replace Jenkins and immediately we saw that Stash was the first one to replace because it was logical to also host your Git repositories in GitLab, and now we have started looking at other tools (f.i. XL Deploy, Nexus) that we can replace with GitLab.
- Ramon van de Velde, Product Owner Beheer | P&I Online, ANWB

Empowering developers with a one-stop, modern toolchain

ANWB wanted to increase team autonomy and obliterate process isolation. Previously, their teams were using pipelines that were pieced together with various plugins. Every once in a while, a plug-in would break after a Jenkins update. Because of this, pipelines were kept as simple as possible. Now with some process shifts and using GitLab, developers run their jobs in separate pipelines and can upgrade in their own time.

GitLab has made it easier for ANWB to manage separate teams and their individualized projects and for teams to choose their own pipelines and their own processes. Having the ability to choose their own workflows prevents teams from having to conform to a single way of working.

Looking to the future and the potential of a multi-cloud environment

With sights set firmly on the future, the ANWB dev team is looking to migrate from outdated backend architecture to more of a cloud-centric framework. While the path to accomplishing this hasn’t been defined yet, they know GitLab is key to this next step.

“What we see is that GitLab really helps in seeing what’s out there because of the integrations that GitLab already provides out-of-the-box,” Crefcoeur said. “Our company, ANWB, uses both AWS and Azure but our department is not making use of those services yet. What we are doing is we’re currently experimenting with Google Cloud platform to see what GitLab has to offer on that.”

Because of GitLab’s integrations with Knative, ANWB is exploring Google Cloud on Kubernetes.

“We think that Kubernetes is the way to go and the integration with GitLab is really helping on that one. I think the findings are rather positive for now but we still have a long way to go because it’s pretty huge what you can do with all those new techniques,” van de Velde said.

All information and persons involved in case study are accurate at the time of publication.

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