Developer Efficiency Boost for Wingspan

The field of life sciences is undergoing a digital revolution. Organizations that perform trials on new medical treatments are shifting from paper to pixels. Wingspan, a division of IQVIA, created a cloud-based content management platform for electronic trial master files (eTMF), an essential part of the drug trial process that’s moving to the cloud.

Need for Developer Speed

Wingspan’s flagship product manages clinical trial records, with a workflow for adding, verifying, approving, and tracking data. This SaaS solution improves process efficiency and helps ensure ongoing compliance.

The Wingspan development team worked on the eTMF platform at the same time as its other products, with a different release date for each one. Subsequently, Wingspan’s product QA teams were being slowed down because they were limited in the number of work-in-progress deployments it could make. They had to wait until development was complete to interact with new features.

Achieving Efficiency

As part of an overall cloud migration strategy, Wingspan aimed to shorten the feedback loop by taking advantage of continuous deployment. Rather than waiting for all the pieces to fall into place, Wingspan envisioned a future of regular deployments of in-process features.

Wingspan had already started to solve the problem by using Docker containers to mimic production components on developer workstations in order to test parts of the code without disrupting the whole process.

Wingspan turned to Chariot to add automated QA environments to its build process. Chariot created a custom AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) machine image that incorporated the existing Wingspan Docker images, using CloudFormation stacks to start and stop these environments.

For each product that supported “on-demand” environments, Chariot added three build steps. The first, triggered automatically after a successful build, constructed the Docker images and uploaded them to the Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR). The other two steps were manually triggered: one created a CloudFormation stack using the current build’s information, and one tore it down.

Faster Development, Faster to Market

The new on-demand environments were immediately popular with the Wingspan team as a tool for QA. Now developers were able to work safely and efficiently by verifying their work in isolated environments. The Wingspan product pipeline got a much needed boost in efficiency to deliver the best possible eTMF solution to customers.

Technologies Used

  • Atlassian Bamboo
  • Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR)
  • AWS CloudFormation
  • Docker
  • Packer