The Docplanner story - up to 600 daily deployments to serve 60 million patients
Founded in Poland in 2012, Docplanner is an international team with offices all over the world working on a robust platform that enables over 5 million medical bookings every month. Their vision and ambitions are brought to life with the help of Buddy, which has been their house CI/CD tool for years.
Buddy lets Docplanner release even 600 times a day.
With a global mission of ‘making the healthcare experience more human’, Docplanner has come up with a product that revolutionized the lives of patients and doctors alike. Through their free, online booking platform, millions of patients can book visits with doctors and write reviews for medical professionals. Docplanner’s solution also gives clinics and doctors a powerful SaaS tool that helps optimize patient flow, reduce no-shows, and digitize their practices.
Docplanner is no stranger to Buddy - they have used the solution long enough to have been featured in a case study over 3 years ago. The CI/CD tool has etched itself into the fabric of the company and into the team’s workflows so much, that for Lukasz Barulski, the company’s Manager, the details of the pre-Buddy times are becoming blurry at this point.
Buddy does what it says on the tin
The main trigger for trying something new was the team’s disappointment with the UI and customer support of the tool they were working with before trying Buddy. Lukasz and his colleagues traded the frustration of not having UI elements do what they were supposed to for Buddy’s excellent and robust UI, which allowed them to focus on setting up their pipelines instead of working out yet another tool.
“At this point, I can’t even remember the tools we tried before Buddy. There was one that got acquired by one of the industry’s big players, but I don’t recall the name. Even earlier, before our move to K8s, we tried deploying with Capifony and some custom scripts we wrote on our own.”
A first-class customer by default
Buddy’s “works out of the box” setup and flexibility to work either on-prem or in the cloud were perfect for a small team like Docplanner was in the early days. As Lukasz recalls, they had neither the time nor resources to try an open-source solution like Jenkins.
The customer support Docplanner received from Buddy cemented the relationship between the platform builders and their CI/CD tool. While the customer support of the previous tool was hardly ever available and treated Lukasz and his team like “third-category customers”, Buddy had Docplanner’s back and understood their needs.
“Raphael (Sztwiorok, CTO of Buddy) and his team were working on some new actions in Buddy and we got an opportunity to influence that process. It’s not often that, as a customer, you get to have a say in what new features are going to work like but we got to do that with Buddy, which was a great experience.”
Testing on demand
Buddy is the first violin when it comes to testing in Docplanner. The tool is put to good use with the dynamic testing setup that extensively uses the Buddy API. What is so dynamic about it, you might ask?
As Lukasz explained, a testing pipeline can be switched between different sets of branches on demand and spin up a custom-tailored testing environment on dedicated clusters. This is done through an app developed in-house, which allows anyone to trigger tests in Buddy to check the exact things that need to be tested.
“Let’s say you need to test a scenario that involves three apps - A, B, and C. This scenario requires app A to run from the <<master>> branch, app B to run the <<feature1>> branch, and app C can run any branch. Thanks to the tool we created, our team can quickly configure such a setup in a simplified UI. This configuration is then passed to Buddy thanks to the API integration. This is something people really like, especially the newbies that are just starting their adventure at Docplanner.”
Who’s your Buddy?!
Using the Buddy API has one more aspect that helps Docplanner evolve and improve their platform at an impressive rate. Since Buddy pipelines can be triggered through a custom, in-house built app, every dev can do it.
The team allows every developer to influence the product and bring in business value, without the need to understand the technology behind the CI/CD setup and without giving direct access to the soft underbelly of any development company - their pipelines.
Thanks to that, the infrastructure team can remain small and very specialized despite the impressive growth of the company. As Lukasz recalls, the infra team has grown from 3 people back in 2018 to 9 members today. To facilitate further developments, the team is planning to grow further to about 30 people of different backgrounds and competencies that will complement each other.
The engine runs hot
With the dynamic testing and the wide availability of the pipelines, it is not uncommon to see hundreds of deployments happening during a day. Aside from the flexible testing scenarios, Buddy pipelines run end-to-end tests on every commit to the main branch.
With about 60 apps, 3 environments each, end-to-end tests and on-demand testing run by the team, Buddy needs to handle serious workloads but it never let Docplanner down.
“I’d say we get up to 600 deployments a day. It’s not every day of course, but there are frequent spikes that get to these numbers and probably even beyond. It all depends on how active the developers are. I’d say the biggest workloads Buddy has to handle are when we’re nearing the final days of a quarter, as everyone’s trying to close their tasks and implement the features they’ve been working on before the quarter closes.”
Focus on business
Docplanner’s implementation of Buddy strikes us as extremely utilitarian. From the fact that the pipelines can be triggered by almost anyone thanks to the custom UI app that talks to Buddy through the API, to the hundreds of deployments a day in peak activity periods.
Lukasz and his team weren’t forced to spend their time learning to configure Buddy and how our pipelines work. Unlike with Jenkins or similar solutions, Buddy gave Docplanner the ability to focus on business instead of the technology of the tool that’s supposed to enable it.
“What advice would I give to people looking for the right CI/CD tool? I don’t have a <<silver bullet>> advice I can give and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but I’d definitely look at Buddy. It’s just so easy to start using it. In fact, I have recommended Buddy CI/CD to a couple of my friends just because of how it allows you to focus on working on your business, period. Plus, it’s really good to work with a team that’s there for you, treats you right. It’s not as common as you might think.”
Manager @ Docplanner
Using Buddy since: