Leveraging Docker for Large Automotive Systems

Although Docker is a relatively new technology the promise of fast deploys to hundreds of containers was too good a prospect, so we trialled it with a new deployment for Honda motorcycles.

As the technical lead for One Black Bear's automotive systems I'm responsible for managing dealer website systems for hundreds of individual dealers.

The technical challenges are numerous since the sites need to merge and offer control over both national Brand content alongside content for each individual dealer.

Some dealers want heavy customisation, some want a configurable out-of-the-box solution and each needs to be hosted on its own domain.

In previous iterations of the system, which we originally provided to Subaru UK dealers, the dealer sites were offshoots of the national sites and shared a common database.

This worked well initially but we soon encountered scaling issues as potentially hundreds of sites were sharing resources, plus there were issues where spikes of load on the national site would unnecessarily affect the dealer systems.

So the stage was set to move to a set of smaller services and Docker seemed to offer an ideal solution, whereby we could separate all the databases into separate containers, run containers for each individual site, alongside with separate contianers to manage configuration and some other services.

After indepth trials we were able to roll the services out to all UK Honda motorcycle dealers this month, and it has been an immensely successful launch.

Even better is the fact that we can roll out application deploys for 250+ sites in around 60 seconds. See some examples: