As part of an initiative to completely revamp its data center infrastructure, eBay is “re-platforming, using Kubernetes and Docker and moving away from OpenStack,” according to a message to SDxCentral from Mazen Rawashdeh, VP of platform engineering at eBay.
In May 2017 at the OpenStack Summit in Boston, an eBay executive said that 95 percent of all eBay traffic ran on its OpenStack cloud, which at the time managed 167,000 virtual machines (VMs) and 4,000 applications. But since then, eBay has pivoted away from OpenStack as part of a major three-year infrastructure initiative.
In addition to its move to containers, eBay has also designed and built its own servers. And it plans to make the servers available via open source in the fourth quarter of this year.
“We are using servers and hardware that we designed, reducing our dependence on third parties,” writes Rawashdeh in a blog post. “It took us nine months to build our prototype and to deploy our custom hardware. With this shift, we are homogenizing our infrastructure, leading to significant development and operational efficiencies.”
Open source is fueling eBay’s transformation. In addition to Kubernetes, the company is using Envoy Proxy, MongoDB, and Apache Kafka. And the online auction company plans to give back by sharing its innovations with open source communities.
In addition to building its own servers, eBay built an in-house artificial intelligence (AI) engine that is shareable across all of its teams. The AI engine has already accelerated the production of new features such as computer vision, image search, and social sharing.
As part of its complete infrastructure overhaul, eBay is also decentralizing its cluster of data centers in the United States. “Through this edge computing approach, we can create a faster, more consistent user experience, saving 600-800 milliseconds of load time,” writes Rawashdeh. “We are deploying online services and data closer to our users, enabling dynamic and static caching capabilities.”
The company is midway through its infrastructure project, and it has managed to keep its site running healthy and secure during the transformation, which involves its entire technology stack including all physical and logical layers. “The stack is like connective tissue, you cannot isolate one of the layers; you must advance them together,” writes Rawashdeh.