In an exciting conversation with our VP of Platform, Cédric de Saint-Martin, we share an insider’s perspective on Wiremind’s platform team. The team facilitates the efficient deployment of our cutting-edge technology, as well as the development of a thriving DevOps culture.
Can you tell us more about your background and your role at Wiremind?
My professional journey started as a software engineer at a cloud computing software company, where I evolved to become a lead software engineer. It is this experience that steered me into my present role at Wiremind, where I leverage cloud computing services to enhance the productivity of various teams and empower them to independently develop and operate products.
I have been working with Wiremind for five years now. When I started working in 2018, I was the company’s first Site Reliability Engineer. My role was to apply software engineering principles to IT infrastructure and operations to automate them. This helped the software engineering teams to manage their products in the cloud. Over time, the idea of a Platform team took shape in Wiremind.
The Platform team’s goal is to maintain a dedicated internal product that leverages the automation of operations to enable developer self-service. My current role at Wiremind, as VP of Platform, revolves around this very idea. I’m involved in supervising the design of platforms that facilitate developers’ autonomy in their day-to-day operations, automating operations for the DevOps teams, and supervising the underlying infrastructure behind the platforms.
Can you outline the overall architecture of Wiremind’s platform and how they are unique in their abilities?
Wiremind’s platform is built on the principle of orchestration, a shift from the static server environment that prevailed a decade or so ago, where dedicated servers were assigned single tasks, such as a database server or a web server. This rigid system made scalability and making adjustments challenging.
Orchestration is essentially about managing servers separately from their content. This system allows tech teams to easily scale operations by creating a new workload at the click of a button. If a server fails, the system components automatically move to another server, self-repairing in the process.
The orchestration model gives developers substantial autonomy, significantly reducing time wastage. While obtaining a server could take weeks in some firms, Wiremind can deploy a new workload in just a few seconds.
Despite the commonality of such an architecture in 2023, Wiremind has set itself apart by adopting a multi-cloud approach, predominantly using OVHCloud, with a small portion of the Google Cloud Platform at a smaller scale. This strategy allows Wiremind to deploy across different cloud providers using a single, standardized method which is cost-effective and provides flexibility.
Can you share an example of when Wiremind’s infrastructure contributed to a product’s success?
An instance where our product infrastructure accelerated the market launch is evident in the case of EVENTORI, our modern ticketing solution that was introduced a little bit over a year ago. EVENTORI required a testing environment to demonstrate the intricacies of the product to the end users. A set of testing environments were established and operational within a single day, thanks to the automation of our platform systems. This reduced the product’s time to market, making the staging environment available with a click.
How has the platform team’s role evolved, and how does it currently support the tech teams?
As a part of the ongoing digital transformation, teams such as infrastructure or platform teams are transitioning from being viewed as a cost to becoming an opportunity.
Historically, development and operation teams operated separately within the industry. At Wiremind, there is no dedicated operations team; instead, the development team handles the operation of the software.
This practice started gaining traction with Amazon’s AWS in mid-2008, which coined the term DevOps. Using external cloud providers, developers can operate the software with a single action on the cloud provider’s platform. However, this heavy reliance on external cloud providers comes with a lot of limitations in terms of cost and autonomy.
Hence, we identified the need for a platform team to standardize the ways of developing and operating products and transform infrastructure into an internal developer platform that can be used by several internal teams. By doing everything internally, Wiremind keeps the added value that is lost due to interference by an external cloud provider.
Wiremind aims to have an efficient, easy-to-use internal developer platform that does not operate in silos, fostering communication between tech teams. The introduction of the Site Reliability Engineer role at Wiremind has played a significant role in our digital independence. Acting as a bridge between technical and platform teams, SREs ensure smooth platform management and facilitate feedback exchange.
This way, our development team doesn’t have to worry about their feedback not reaching the right person as SREs will ensure to make that happen.
Can you give us an insider’s look into the DevOps culture at Wiremind?
The DevOps culture at Wiremind promotes self-service and autonomy, providing the tech teams with the necessary tools to be cost-efficient and consistent in their operations. Before I joined Wiremind, our CTO Charles effectively managed all servers single-handedly. On my arrival, I infused new ideas and tools, intensifying the momentum.
Our goal is to equip our developers with the tools and space they need for growth and internal management. Ideally, we aim to minimize intervention and allow developers to manage their operations independently. Our role extends beyond delivering exceptional services to clients; it’s equally about nurturing a self-developing DevOps culture internally.
What tools does the tech team at Wiremind use?
At Wiremind, we use several tools to streamline our DevOps processes and keep infrastructure costs low while ensuring autonomy. Kubernetes, is obviously our orchestrator of choice, alongside other tools like Prometheus for metrics, GitLab CI for Continuous Integration/Delivery (CI/CD), and Helm for environment lifecycle management. These tools help us every day to achieve platform excellence that propels our product growth.
As Wiremind continues to grow, how do you see the platform evolving to support this growth?
In terms of the platform team’s evolution at Wiremind, our focus aligns with three key objectives. Firstly, we aim to enhance governance and prevent the emergence of silos through the Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) role. Secondly, we want to ensure high availability to support products that require more uptime and improve the architecture that backs these business requirements. Lastly, we’re increasing efforts to enable automation and simplification, allowing us to manage more processes with fewer people, thereby minimizing operations.
Wiremind’s future looks promising as we strive to diversify our services and expand. With our key verticals – revenue management, air freight, and ticketing – as our pillars of growth, we’re well-positioned to navigate the evolving landscape.
Our conversation with Cedric paints a clear picture of how a strong DevOps culture, effective platform architecture, and orchestration can equip teams with the tools they need to propel product growth. Stay tuned for more insights into our journey, team members, and cutting-edge technology that drives our success.
If you think you can be a good fit for the Platform team, we encourage you to check out our job openings here.
Curious about our product suite? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the product experts will contact you!