Blue Shield of California Scales DevOps with Puppet Enterprise

Challenge

Blue Shield of California is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation and health plan that serves 4.5 million health plan members and 65,000 physicians. In 2016, Blue Shield deployed Open Source Puppet (OSP) for lifecycle and configuration management. They initially focused on monolithic applications, then built out the Puppet footprint and automated applications. Blue Shield quickly grew their Puppet environment, which led to sprawl and put strain on their small DevOps team to keep pace with maintenance, managing code base, and dealing with custom integrations.

Solution

Blue Shield chose Puppet Enterprise (PE), an enterprise-grade, paid version of Puppet that comes with support services, for the value it could bring in speeding up automation and freeing developers to focus on shipping code. Blue Shield had been accustomed to using Jenkins Pipeline and had expected to continue to use it with Puppet Enterprise. However, the Puppet team introduced them to CD4PE (Continuous Delivery for Puppet Enterprise) to simplify their infrastructure operations by removing Jenkins and using CD4PE as it’s tailored to the workflow.

Results

The company states that support for integrations outside of PE and the ability for their users to interact with that environment without going to code were major reasons in choosing Puppet Enterprise. The platform enabled them to set aside the open source environment and have a better console to work from, with better management of modules. By introducing CD4PE into the workflow, they enabled people to promote their own code and work in the system without having to engage with Blue Shield’s DevOps experts.The company plans to continue to grow their Puppet Enterprise footprint, to continue to show the company how they can bring configuration from code to production, end-to-end, in a completely automated way.

This is the first end-to-end true pipeline that we’ve built where we can check code in at the development side and have it work its way all the way up to production with no hands touching it. That is a huge feat for us. I don’t think we would’ve been able to get to that point without Puppet Enterprise.

Cody Campbell, principal automation engineer, Blue Shield of California
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