GitLab CI keeps financial institution secure and scalable

GitLab replaces Jenkins and multiple Git-based tools to achieve open source stability and security for prominent financial organization

Financial institution logo
industry
Financial Services
location
North America
employees
overview
Looking to become open source and cloud-based, a financial institution turned to GitLab for a secure transformation.
challenge
Using too many tools caused more work for the development team and created unnecessary costs in the financial company’s quest of moving to the cloud.
solution
Premium
benefits
  • More cost efficient than competitor’s tools

  • Helped the institution become open source

  • The ability to deploy all the way to production

  • Keeps critical data secure

20000
running repositories
$250,000
cost savings per quarter

the customer

A leader in financial planning

This American institution has offered financial services spanning two centuries. With millions of clients, the organization provides banking, insurance and wealth management services and products. It is ranked as one of the top investment firms in the United States.

the challenge

Too many tools, too many issues

The financial company was looking to move toward cloud computing and embrace open source. While the development teams worked on various tools, it became apparent that using multiple tools was too complicated to accomplish their open source goals. “Within our organization, if you have a team who wants to see some other team’s code, they have to go through a different set of processes,” said Ravi, engineering manager at the financial organization. “You have to get permissions in order to even see the code and there’s no true collaborative experience. That was one big problem.”

Moving back and forth between tools was an issue in both being able to communicate and also a hindrance in the daily grind. Not all the tools that were being used by the development team were automated, which meant that integration took extra steps. “Other git-derived tools, whether open source or not, are a lot of manual work. Which as the scale grows, work keeps growing alongside,” said Michael, software engineer. “It was becoming a burden, especially for me living in a DevOps world, to keep doing manual stuff and not evaluate all the tools that might make a lot of those steps more automated and easier to manage.”

Other CI tools that the team had been working with used a disorganized array of plugins. “The real challenge we had with Jenkins was that every team was spinning up their own version of Jenkins. We had like 40, 50 different instances of Jenkins running all over the place with different versions, different kinds of plugins,” Ravi said. “Nobody was keeping track of what plugins are running on what and what software was running where.”

Cost was another factor in the development team’s decision to pare down their tooling. As the company experienced, it can be expensive to keep a variety of tool services running.

“We had these two types of software and the executive team was like, Why are we paying for both? Right? Other tools with the similar functionalities are very expensive, like 250, 300 dollars per user. GitLab offers a more economical option— especially since we can replace multiple tools.  And that combined, you take 400, and we had like 800 users duplicated across, and we were bringing a lot of that money back for the business.”
Ravi
engineering manager

the solution

Built-in capabilities lighten the developers’ workload

GitLab was one of the tools that was originally being used by the developers. As GitLab usage expanded, the corporate team started taking notice. “GitLab started as an individual initiative first that was deployed on its own and kind of grew in an organic way. It wasn’t a mandate,” Michael said.

Developers were naturally drawn to GitLab’s capabilities. As they discovered challenges with other tools, it became clear that GitLab CI is simplified and has the ability to integrate easily with existing tooling. “The CI with Docker, the Docker support in the CI was really important because it allows the application teams to really self-manage their own builds’ dependencies,” Michael said. “It’s true that with GitLab CI, because we use the templates, there is a lot less need to add those third-party plugins to the CI system, for sure.”

With GitLab CI, developers can deploy all the way to production. Pipelines are in one place and users can look at code at every step, which was a big deal for the financial institution. “It wasn’t that way in the past. With other git-derived tools and Jenkins, you have to create integrations and you have to see the pipelines are different. It was challenging to write Jenkins files, so we faced a lot of challenges. So that kind of helped us with the GitLab CI,” Ravi said.

GitLab covers a variety of tool offerings efficiently and the development team was able to create functions for other parts of the company. “As GitLab reported new capabilities, we were able to learn about them and then choose which one we would pick and choose to put into action for the rest of the teams,” Michael said. 

As a financial institution, protecting client information is a top-priority. GitLab provides a level of security that is incomparable when using an assortment of other tools.

“We were becoming open source, more trending towards open source across the company. And GitLab being an open source software made sense for that for us.”
Ravi
engineering manager

the results

Improved cycle time, scalability, and security

With GitLab fully in place, the development team is focused on scaling upward. “We do a monthly release cycle, we don’t do a lot of maintenance within GitLab,” Ravi said. “Our thought is to be more focused on how we scale this software, how we make it highly available, and other data warehousing technology. We’re focusing a lot on that.”

The development team is able to focus less on maintenance, generating an upswing in cycle time by using GitLab’s built-in templates. “Going from commit to production is actually really fast. So without too much work from the development team, you have all of the software ready for you,” Ravi said. “Once your environments are defined, you can create even the production deployment. So cycle time has improved a lot.”

Thousands of repositories are migrating to GitLab on top of the over tens of thousands of repositories that are already in it. “We have grown because of the capabilities; there are a lot of teams that we’re supporting now. Now that we have become the enterprise software, enterprise SCM, it’s the entire company of thousands of developers who are creating software now. And so the number of Gitlab users has grown,” Ravi said.

Because of GitLab’s transparency, the development team can know what to expect in order to plan for the future. Delivery rate of new features, sprint times, and even critical bugs are made public, so the financial company is aware of how best to move forward. “Being much more transparent about the general direction was a much better experience as a customer,” Michael said.

“GitLab has been great for us. It is a good kind of a software that we love.”
Ravi
engineering manager

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