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Topicus Education Aces Testing by Deploying on Google Cloud

With a firm deadline to deploy two popular educational applications, CumLaude and SEL, the infrastructure team at Topicus Education needed a faster system for testing and validating. Xebia implemented Google Cloud infrastructure and shared best practices that resulted in a reduction of testing time by six weeks.

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Data Technology

Industry
Retail

Company
Binx.io | Part of Xebia

Topicus is a Dutch IT consulting company best known for two software products for primary and secondary education: Parnassys and Somtoday. With a firm deadline to deploy two popular educational applications, CumLaude and SEL, the infrastructure team at Topicus.Education needed a faster system for testing and validating. And if this was not ambitious enough yet, team lead Kenneth Veenstra set out to increase his team’s knowledge as well, so they could successfully manage the workloads on any new system that was implemented.  

Why
The current system for testing and validating no longer met requirements for performance, scaleability and storage capacity.
What
Decrease time to deploy leading educational applications by implementing infrastructure on Google Cloud
How
Implement infrastructure on Google Cloud and train teams.

Meeting Deadlines With a Faster System

With a firm deadline to deploy two popular educational applications, CumLaude and SEL, the infrastructure team at Topicus.Education needed a faster system for testing and validating. And if this was not ambitious enough yet, team lead Kenneth Veenstra set out to increase his team’s knowledge as well, so they could successfully manage the workloads on any new system that was implemented.

Scaling and Storage

Topicus.Education’s testing system was causing delays in deployment. In addition, the company was experiencing scaling issues and trouble with storage capacity. It needed knowledgeable professionals experienced in Google Cloud and its services to help them implement this new platform and system.

"We started the project literally from scratch and within a month we went live! The collaboration with Xebia has been valuable for us. They really contributed to a much faster implementation process and shared tons of knowledge along the way."
Kenneth Veenstra Engineering Team Lead

Google Cloud Platform Increases Testing Speed

Topicus.Education’s testing system was causing delays in deployment. In addition, the company was experiencing scaling issues and trouble with storage capacity. It needed knowledgeable professionals experienced in Google Cloud and its services to help them implement this new platform and system.

“The problem Topicus had with its old system was that it required additional resources to test and validate these applications,” explained Laurens Knoll, a cloud architect at Xebia.

Laurens Knoll and a second consultant, Niels Van Doorn recommended implementing Google Cloud Platform.

Implementing Cloud Architecture and Sharing Knowledge

Knoll helped the Topicus team implement Infrastructure-as-code practices using Terraform, which was used to set up Google Cloud projects. Van Doorn focused more on identity and access management (IAM) and on making networks to connect to the on-premise datacenter and Kubernetes clusters. Topicus.Education and Xebia configured the code to bootstrap environments and manage the existing system integrations.

Empowering developers with more knowledge and ownership of the infrastructure their applications were running on.

“The lectures contributed to all teams involved working more independently,” said Veenstra, “The end result was better integration between the software teams and infrastucture team and an ability to solve issues faster.”
Kenneth Veenstra Engineering Team Lead

Empowering Engineers and Drastically Reducing Testing Time

“We started the project literally from scratch and within a month we went live. I am still really impressed that we made the deadline,” said Veenstra. “The collaboration with Xebia has been valuable for us. They really contributed to a much faster implementation process and shared tons of knowledge along the way.”

After the implementation of the new Google Cloud-based infrastructure,  testing time was reduced by no less than six weeks.

Veenstra and Van Doorn also organized weekly knowledge sessions on Google Cloud technologies that anyone at the office could attend. This open, ongoing format ensured that everyone, from the developers to the administrators, understood the new Cloud technologies that are being deployed at Topicus.

The developers were empowered with more knowledge and could take ownership of the infrastructure their applications were running on.

“The lectures contributed to all teams involved working more independently,” said Veenstra, “The end result was better integration between the software teams and infrastucture team and an ability to solve issues faster.”

About Topicus

Topicus is an IT consulting company based primarily in Deventer, the Netherlands. It is also expanding to other Dutch cities, as well as to other countries. Its education department, Topicus.Education, is well known in the Netherlands for two software products: Parnassys (primary school) and Somtoday (secondary school).  The company strives to provide user-friendly tech platforms and products that give citizens control, increase their self-reliance and reduce their vulnerability.  Topicus collaborates with schools and universities around the Netherlands to keep its products and people sharp, relevant, and fit-for-purpose.

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