How Liantis Saved 72,000 Euros and 20 Weeks with Puppet

With 60 offices and 1,450 employees, Liantis provides HR, recruitment, payroll, insurance services, child benefit calculation, and risk prevention for thousands of organizations across Belgium.

Benefits of Using Puppet:

Saved 20 weeks

of deployment and maintenance time

From 1 day to 1 hour

to configure and deploy VMs

Saved 72,000 euros

annually on reduced headcount

Challenge: Slow, Manual Deployment  

A team of 60 developers at Liantis specialized in creating applications for the customer portal, such as wage calculation tools, which needed to run smoothly to ensure customer satisfaction.

The IT team, made up of 100 professionals, is responsible for the provisioning of these services and applications to all the other departments within Liantis and to its customers. Over time, Liantis experienced significant growth in applications running on Linux servers. The DBA (Database Administrator) team, which was responsible for the Linux servers, found it increasingly difficult to manage everything. The team needed to find ways to standardize their virtual machines (VMs) and then rapidly deploy them.

Tim Veranneman, Senior Linux Administrator at Liantis, said: “Seeing the expansion in Linux servers and VMs in the pipeline, we knew we needed to act to find ways to move faster and more efficiently. We could have hired two more engineers, but with the average starting salary of a Linux engineer costing 36,000 euros, we decided to look for a solution to streamline the process, standardize the environment and improve the agility of our VM deployment. This has saved us over 72,000 euros a year.”

Results: Faster Deployment, More Time for Innovation

Puppet offered the solution Liantis needed. The company kicked off a proof of concept (POC) by adding the Puppet NTP module to all its VMs. Veranneman adds, “We added all of our VMs to Puppet with a small module and then we expanded by adding more modules. We had lots of standardizing codes in Puppet and were able to put up more VMs faster as we didn’t have to do all the manual configuration anymore. We could just do a Puppet run and everything was installed.”

While the team started out writing their own modules during the POC, they soon discovered Puppet Forge, which has thousands of pre-written modules that can be configured to suit Liantis’s environment. This has saved the team about 20 weeks of development and maintenance. “This meant we could work on amending our code, putting in profiles and making it more readable for our colleagues,” added Veranneman.

“When you automate something and you put it in once you don’t have to think about it anymore, so you can look at other ways to develop and improve the product. If we didn’t have Puppet we wouldn’t be able to achieve these changes at the pace we are doing now. We have one view across all of our configuration, and without Puppet we wouldn’t have anywhere near the visibility and manageability we have today.”
- Tim Veranneman, Senior Linux Administrator at Liantis

Significant Time Savings  

Veranneman continues: “When you put something in Puppet, like the NTP configuration for example, you do that once and you don’t have to worry about it again until the server changes. And then even when it changes, you only have to change it in one place once and it gets distributed to all the servers.”

It used to take almost a day to configure and deploy VMs — with Puppet, it takes an hour. This is extremely valuable now that the company is deploying more machines than it used to. Veranneman explained: “Today, we have 260 VMs on Linux, last year we only had 200, so we’re growing exponentially.”

The team no longer has to log into each server and write scripts to make any changes. “This has made our lives a lot easier,” Veranneman explained, “and has given us time to make more interesting changes, to focus on deploying new software and automating other things.”

Broadly Scaling Automation

Puppet has enabled Liantis to automate the process of deploying new services, using default profiles that include all the standard settings that need to be applied. There is less opportunity for errors since things are standardized because the configuration details are already saved with Puppet – the correct user set and passwords, the default Java version, Apache is installed and the firewall configuration has been applied. “There are a lot of things you don’t have to worry about anymore when setting up a VM. Not only does that make it easy to do, it also makes it more secure because everything is managed for us,” Veranneman stated.

Without Puppet, Liantis would have been forced to bring in more engineers to manage the Linux environment. “If you don’t have this kind of system, you need more time to set up the VMs, you need more time to maintain them and to keep the environment standardized,” Veranneman explained. “We have saved thousands of euros, as we haven’t had to recruit any new engineers to manage this process.”

“Our competitors are a lot bigger than us and they are able to use a lot more IT resources than us. We have to keep up with them. Thanks to Puppet, we have more time to implement new technologies and do just that.”
- Tim Veranneman, Senior Linux Administrator at Liantis

See for yourself how Puppet can save you time and money with automation across your organization. Try it today or request a demo with the Puppet team.