SMU becomes a deployment powerhouse by leveraging Harness.
SMU, a prestigious retail company with stores in Chile and Peru, has grown exponentially in only a few short years. SMU has positioned itself as a leader in the supermarket and convenience store sector. As of today, it operates the most grocery and convenience stores in Chile, and it also ranks third in terms of revenue for 2021. Likewise, it is the Chilean company with the largest geographic coverage – and the only supermarket chain present in all 16 regions of the country.
The company operates its business through the Unimarc, Unimarc.cl, Super 10, Mayorista 10, Alvi, and OK Market brands. Additionally, it operates in Peru through two brands, Mayorsa and Maxiahorro.
A Solid Start With a Single Glaring Flaw
Through a combination of engineering talent, Weaveworks Flux, and GitOps strategies, SMU managed to create a deployment process that allowed the company to deploy at an acceptable rate. This deployment mechanism wasn’t a “pipeline,” it was based on the pull action. The only complaint developers had with using the solution was it was fairly difficult to decode deployment errors. But this wasn’t a big enough concern to prompt a tooling change.
This changed when Javier Vera Duran discovered that SMU lacked a deployment verification process and had a long rollback time. As the Lead of Technology and DevOps, Javier had a responsibility to keep SMU’s application as stable and secure as possible. Without a verification process and with a long rollback time, SMU was exposed to serious downtime risk. This risk prompted Javier to look for better solutions.
SMU initially evaluated open-source tools to supplement the deployment process they had already created. But they couldn’t find a solution that would allow them to keep the GitOps methodologies they had already adopted.
SMU turned to Harness for a better deployment solution.
SMU now deploys all of their Kubernetes microservices using Harness. The team quickly onboarded their services onto Harness with minimal effort. Onboarding took approximately an hour per service.
“Since I read the book The Phoenix Project, I studied and implemented DevOps concepts with great results. Partners like Harness help us to continue this journey at SMU to simplify the life in IT with quality and value mainly for our eCommerce business.” - Eduardo Herrera, CIO of Technology
The new ecosystem that was created allows SMU to do Canary deployments with automatic rollbacks. In tandem, these two features have reduced rollback time by 83% from 30 minutes to 5 minutes.
Unexpectedly, the team was also able to drastically reduce deployment time. The original process took roughly an hour, but with Harness it takes 5 minutes. That’s a 98% reduction in effort and time.
“The basis to an efficient process to develop digital products is, without a doubt, to have a great team, to work with people who are collaborative and committed. But it is also very important to choose the right tech stack that makes the entire process fluid and solid. That’s the main factor in order to be trustworthy, and Harness is playing a key role in our experience.” - Javier Navarro, Digital Manager
Thanks to Harness, SMU will be able to safely scale its online business.