In order to migrate its infrastructure, LivePerson had to replace a tool that integrated Kubernetes with F5 BIG-IP. LivePerson deployed F5 Container Ingress Services to achieve greater scalability and performance, as well as faster speed of delivery.
LivePerson is a Software as a Service (Saas) company that is transforming how people communicate with brands. With LivePerson, companies can engage consumers through multiple messaging platforms, AI-powered bots, and a call-to-message option that can instantly switch from a phone call to a text messaging conversation on request. LiveEngage, the company's enterprise-class platform, empowers consumers to stop wasting time on hold with 1-800 numbers and instead message their favorite brands just as they do with friends and family. More than 18,000 businesses rely on LiveEngage to create meaningful connections with consumers.
"The amount of data we have makes LivePerson unique in our space," says Lior Franko, NetDevOps Team Leader at LivePerson. "We've been in this business for almost 20 years, so we have deep knowledge of how consumers communicate with brands. This lets us create smart AI solutions to help our customers' call centers operate more efficiently."
To integrate Kubernetes with the F5 BIG-IP devices on its network, LivePerson’s NetDevOps team relied on a tool developed in-house. However, LivePerson wanted to migrate its infrastructure to Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to achieve greater scale and faster performance, and to make it easier to troubleshoot the network.
However, in order to do the migration, NetDevOps would have to spend time and effort rewriting its in-house tool to increase the speed at which it updates, and to enable faster synchronization with the Kubernetes API. This would potentially delay the migration and divert resources away from projects and day-to-day activities that were core to the business.
LivePerson had been an F5 customer for several years, using F5 solutions as a load balancer and as a firewall for East-West and North-South traffic in and out of its data center. “F5 BIG-IP is the most important device on our network," says Franko.
When the F5 Sales team learned the company was planning to rewrite their in-house tool for the BGP migration, they invited LivePerson to be the first customer to try out the new F5 Container Ingress Services. LivePerson’s NetDevOps team worked closely with F5 developers, providing feedback and making requests that guided the development of the service.
“There’s no other solution on the market today that does what F5 Container Ingress Services does for us,” says Franko. “We want to focus on projects that benefit our business. F5 Container Ingress Services provides features that we can’t, and those features are better, faster, and more reliable than what we can do in-house.”
The migration to BGP was vital to LivePerson -- and Container Ingress Services was the key that unlocked its capabilities. The NetDevOps team was able to overcome a variety of challenges, achieving greater scalability, faster performance, faster speed of delivery, and increased visibility into its app services.
With F5’s Container Ingress Services enabled, LivePerson can achieve the greater scalability that BGP offers. For example: using their former in-house tool, if LivePerson had a Kubernetes cluster with 200 services and 100 nodes, there would be 20,000 pool members on F5 BIG-IP—an amount that could crash the management processes. Deploying Container Ingress Services decreased the number of objects residing on BIG-IP from 20k to 1k, making the system much more stable and reliable. As a result, the team can accomplish more with the same amount of resources.
Increased speed was an essential requirement of the infrastructure migration. LivePerson reports that Container Ingress Services responds faster to changes than the in-house tool they’d created to connect Kubernetes with BIG-IP. Container Ingress Services enabled a faster automation flow, improving the time to deliver LivePerson services into production.
“The tool we were using before had a delay of a couple of minutes,” Franko says. “Container Ingress Services responds in seconds instead of minutes. Now we can work in real time instead of waiting for the system to catch up.”
With the new F5 solution in place, the NetDevOps team has been able to provide LivePerson services to the company’s customers. Previously, control over the deployment of new services was only available to the NetDevOps team and the deployment team. Now that deployments are managed with Kubernetes, and Container Ingress Services manages how LivePerson services ar eexposed to the internet, access is available to the owner of the service being deployed. For example, an employee in LivePerson’s R&D department can control how the service will be deployed and exposed to the outside network, making the process faster and more efficient.
Container Ingress Services has improved the NetDevOps team’s lives in another way: through greater visibility into the services they provide customers. Previously, the team didn’t have insight into whether the deployment of a new service was a success or not. Because Container Ingress Services can be configured to export HTTP-based information to the Prometheus open-source monitoring solution, NetDevOps can receive alerts when deployment fails and share the deployment status directly with the LivePerson service owner. The team and the service owner also receive alerts if something goes wrong.