Embracing digital disruption in the automotive industry, Volkswagen of America was about to enter the connected car market with Car-Net, a connected car services suite. Xolv.io joined the project to work in tandem with Volkswagen’s team and alongside another development partner, with the task of creating a cloud infrastructure to host the Car-Net platform. Facing a break-neck deadline of 8 weeks, the need for a perfectly reliable high-availability environment, and the security team’s stringent requirements, we immediately established a cross-department leadership group to be able to move quickly. Our work on the highly complex solution’s cloud infrastructure helped reshape some of the application architecture decisions to increase its automatability and quality. By completely separating production from lower environments, enabling the creation of on-demand environments, as well introducing CI/CD pipelines and automated testing, we empowered Volkswagen and their development partner to confidently work at lightning speed, while maintaining ultra high quality. In the end, the Car-Net platform was perfectly operational as per the schedule.
With the introduction of the Car-Net connected car services suite, Volkswagen’s aim was to bring the convenience of digital capabilities to their customers. While the Car-Net platform itself was already developed, Volkswagen needed to create a high-availability, perfectly reliable cloud infrastructure to host it, which presented a number of challenges:
Due to unforeseen circumstances Volkswagen lost a vendor responsible for delivering the Car-Net infrastructure, which left them with only 8 weeks to develop it from scratch.
To make things even more challenging, part of Volkswagen’s development partner’s work needed to be ported over to AWS. While this had to be done quickly, it was crucial the solution’s quality would not be compromised.
The Car-Net platform was required to host connected car applications that would be fronting hundreds of thousands of vehicles, posing the need for an extremely high-availability environment, which also had to be extremely secure.
Given the extreme time constraints, we started our engagement with establishing a cross-department leadership group within Volkswagen to be able to move as quickly as possible. This group consisted of people representing numerous departments, including security, infrastructure, management, product, development, quality assurance, as well as external agencies.
Having the right people on board, we proceeded with employing our proprietary technique called the State of Integration Diagram to get everyone on the same page and create a shared understanding of what needs to be accomplished. Our work included setting up Kubernetes clusters, access control layers, firewalls as per the security team’s requirements, secrets management, application deployment scripts, Jenkins, CI/CD pipelines, as well as Cassandra, MySQL, and Oracle databases.
Dealing with an immensely complex application architecture, we helped reshape some of the architecture decisions to make them more automatable and testable to achieve a higher quality solution. Since time was such a key issue, we did all we could to make sure Volkswagen’s development partner was able to do deployments more predictably and much more frequently.
As a result of our engagement, the production environment was completely separated from lower environments like QA, staging, or integration. We took great care to properly secure access for the developers and empowered them to set up on-demand environments. By including automated testing in the CI/CD pipelines, we further enabled Volkswagen and their partner to release with absolute confidence and the entire Car-Net platform was good to go as per the schedule.
It’s no exaggeration to say that we came to the rescue when Volkswagen lost their development partner only several weeks before the planned release date. In the end, together with the Volkswagen team we collectively saved the day and the Car-Net platform was safely hosted and ready to front hundreds of thousands of vehicles as per the schedule. Apart from designing a high quality cloud infrastructure for the complex solution, we devised an entire production system that allowed for its lightning fast delivery. Finally, as is often the case with our work, we went beyond our original task and helped reshape some of the solution architecture decisions to improve it for maximum quality.
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