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Software Development

Accelerating Völur’s mission to optimize the meat industry with data and AI

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Summary
As a software company that uses data and AI to make the meat industry more optimized and sustainable, Völur knew that transitioning to infrastructure as code (IaC) would enhance their engineering team’s productivity and speed. Since becoming a Spacelift customer in July 2023, the team has discovered that Spacelift’s infrastructure management platform provides an exceptionally reliable process to achieve the engineering culture they want to build.
1,500Resources in Spacelift state
<2m To enable access to Snowflake/MS Azure
2hTo migrate first stack to OpenTofu
volur logo in white
  • rocket iconSpacelift's self-service platform enhances developer velocity by accelerating the speed at which code runs successfully in production.
  • Lilac arrow pointing left and purple arrow pointing rightModularization, templates, and the ability to abstract solutions accelerated the process of onboarding to Spacelift.
  • Within a year, Völur progressed from a ClickOps approach to IaC to having 1,500 resources in Spacelift state.

Völur is a company with a big ambition — to make the meat industry more optimized and sustainable. They do that by taking existing industry data, contextualizing it, and feeding it to their AI model. The result is a ready-to-use, optimal production plan meat processors can use for both daily production and long-term planning.

We spoke to Völur’s senior engineer, Nikita Barskov, about how Spacelift is helping the company enhance developer productivity with a streamlined approach to IaC.

The challenge for Völur

Data is the key to Völur’s AI platform, feeding the AI model that helps meat producers make optimal cutting and processing decisions in what is a very complex value chain. Völur relies on the cloud data platform Snowflake for its data warehousing needs, but the resources Snowflake uses were managed almost entirely via ClickOps. This had to change.

When Nikita Barskov joined Völur in May 2023, the engineering team did not have an established infrastructure-as-code approach in place. “At that time, we did not have automation for provisioning and governing our Snowflake Cloud resources. We had a manual process of reviewing and approving changes or accessing requests,” he recalls. Some engineers on the team had previous experience with IaC, so Völur decided to adopt this approach to provisioning and supporting their computing infrastructure. The goal was to build a self-service platform that would allow developers to deploy resources using IaC tooling, empowering them to build features faster and innovate within a structured environment. 

Why Völur chose Spacelift

Having decided to adopt a purpose-built IaC management tool to maintain efficient control over their cloud infrastructure, the Völur engineering team evaluated available solutions on the market, and Spacelift emerged as a leading contender. “The Spacelift team was highly approachable and easy to communicate with,” explains Nikita. 

The next step was a proof of concept, with the primary objective being to migrate Völur’s Snowflake infrastructure management to Spacelift using Terraform. Following the successful migration, Völur became a Spacelift customer in July 2023. Nikita points out that the decision was not based purely on technical excellence. “During the trial and onboarding, members of the Spacelift team, including the CPO, were involved, and that meant a lot for us because it showed the interest from the Spacelift side.”

Völur's Spacelift experience

Onboarding the Völur engineering team to Spacelift’s IaC platform was swift, eased by guides, a technical demo, mentoring, and learning sessions. As patterns emerged, the team started modularizing, templating, and abstracting solutions. This ability to identify patterns and abstract complexity accelerated the process, and by the autumn of 2023, onboarding for the other Völur team members who needed to use Spacelift was complete. 

“For instance, one of our core highlights is the way we provision new users to Snowflake and manage access,” reveals Nikita. “When an engineer needs access to resources in Snowflake or Azure, it can be done with GitHub and Spacelift in minutes. Before Spacelift we did that manually, so it’s quite a significant improvement for our velocity, reliability, and auditing capabilities.”

The Spacelift development platform is built around the concept of policy as code. Its login policies allow Völur engineers to define access control at a granular level. The Völur team is also exploring policies to decide which changes can be applied so it can enforce governance on the kind of resources it wants to provision in its cloud setup.

Spacelift's impact on Völur

In under a year, Völur has progressed from using ClickOps to manage its resources to having about 1,500 resources in Spacelift state today. That is a pretty impressive achievement for a startup, and the Völur engineering team is quick to credit Spacelift for the smoothness of the transition. “The availability and reliability is great. It works all the time. The documentation is transparent, clear, and simple for us.”

Developer velocity is accelerating at Völur, aided by the speed at which the self-service platform allows code to progress from being committed to running successfully in production. “We practice continuous delivery at Völur, so integrating Spacelift with GitHub, as well as enabling auto-deploy on a stack, helps us to deliver cloud resources reliably when we need them, knowing that we are doing it in a secure manner,” says Nikita.

Völur is also one of the early adopters of OpenTofu, the open-source alternative to Terraform.  The first stack migration took a couple of hours and proceeded without any issues. “We’re still in the migration process, but it has been so smooth that most of the time we spend on code and plan reviews, not on Spacelift applying changes or performing its tasks.”

For Völur, Spacelift is an important platform for helping them create the organization and engineering culture they want to establish. “Our culture is a DevOps mindset — frequent deployments, CI/CD, learn fast, fail fast — and Spacelift supports every part of this,” Nikita concludes. 

 

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