December 9, 2021

Carvana Reduces Resource Creation Time by 92% With Harness

Table of Contents

Key takeaway


There's a reason Carvana is the nation's leading online vehicle retailer. They've made it their mission to take the pain out of the car buying by replacing it with a hassle-free experience focused squarely on serving the interests of their customers. As one of the youngest companies to ever crack the Fortune 500, Carvana has proven itself to be The New Way To Buy A Car, enabling car buyers to browse, finance, trade-in, or sell their vehicles online and from the comfort of home (or on the go!) without ever having to make a trip to the dealership or haggle with a salesperson. Customers can choose to have their vehicle purchases delivered to their front door or to pick up their new ride from one of their spectacular Car Vending Machine locations. Even more, by cutting out dealership overhead, Carvana saves customers thousands of dollars per purchase, resulting in a better car buying experience at a better value with no hidden fees.

Manual Machines Lead to Big Headaches

Richard Taylor joined Carvana as a Sr. Cloud Infrastructure Engineer and found his team overworked with manual tasks. Carvana had a small team of infrastructure engineers that were responsible for infrastructure provisioning. The team did this by using a custom built image and scripts to deploy them. One of the engineers would then run scripts to build that machine, run scripts to install software, and run scripts to join the domain. This process took 2-3 hours and occurred 5 times a week. The infrastructure cloud team maintained the scripts when needed, but were unable to improve automation due to the sheer number of requests.

“We didn’t have enough people to dedicate to automation, so we couldn’t build a better way to solve this issue.”

Richard Taylor, Sr. Cloud Infrastructure Engineer

Richard was hired to bring automation to these overly-manual tasks. He began implementing infrastructure as code, and pushed to automate the infrastructure provisioning process. 

Harness Orchestrates Project TURBO

Richard and other members from the team created project TURBO to automate the provisioning process. TURBO stands for The Universal Request to Build Orchestrator. Richard chose Harness to be the engine behind this tool. 

Now, developers submit a form through the TURBO portal and Harness builds the infrastructure automatically. A process that used to take 4 hours can be done in 20-30 minutes! 

“We just have to approve a build and it happens.”

Richard Taylor, Sr. Cloud Infrastructure Engineer

These changes couldn’t have come soon enough for Carvana. Carvana went from 7,000 employees to 21,000 in a single year. That year also happened to be the peak of COVID-19. This meant Richard and other members of the team  were responsible for creating new machines for thousands of new work-from-home employees.

“Automation became crucial for us not to become paralyzed by sheer growth.”

Richard Taylor, Sr. Cloud Infrastructure Engineer

Harness helped Carvana decrease manual effort and scale during a huge growth period.

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