Improving Speed to Market for a Leading Utility Provider with DevOps Support

Laptop screen with NW Natural site with a view of the mountains in sunrise

NW Natural is Oregon’s largest natural gas utility, with more than 2.5 million customers worldwide. The company is responsible for distributing natural gas to commercial and residential sectors.

NW Natural

Creating a more robust production environment led to a faster time-to-market from development to production.

The Challenge

NW Natural had been a long-term Oshyn client, and our continued Sitecore DevOps expertise saw them return for additional help. Before they could upgrade to the latest version of Sitecore to 10.2 from 9, Oshyn needed to create a stable DevOps environment that would help facilitate future upgrades and ensure that their customer-facing website was reliable and performing to the fullest.

The Solution

Facilitating a Sitecore Upgrade

In order to make the Sitecore upgrade possible, Oshyn moved NW Natural from Azure PaaS to Kubernetes, an open source software solution for managing cloud applications, to provide increased stability and improve performance. This would also improve productivity as NW Natural IT team was already familiar with Kubernetes.

After moving to Kubernetes, Oshyn set up the NW Natural infrastructure using infrastructure as code (IaC), making any updates and reconfigurations made to the infrastructure later on much easier, thus enabling faster time to market and greater resource efficiency.

Oshyn implemented a CI/CD process through Azure DevOps, which led to smoother automated releases with zero downtime. They also replaced Azure Search with Solr since the former was no longer supported. Oshyn added a content delivery network (CDN) for the Media Library to further boost performance and improve the browsing experience for customers using the website.

NW Natural website on laptop screen

The Outcome

NW Natural now has a robust DevOps environment that has helped them drastically improve speed to market, and performance.

NW Natural has also achieved important results including:

  • The time to perform a release process has decreased by 60%, and the entire infrastructure can now be deleted and re-created in under 2 hours using ARM templates and an automated process. This new approach enables a faster time to market if NW Natural wants to expand into new geographical regions and ensures cost savings.
  • Using the CDN to cache media assets improved performance by offloading requests from Sitecore to the CDN, leading to a lighter server load and a faster website.
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