iPassport infrastructure turbocharged

Here at Genial Compliance Headquarters we pride ourselves on keeping iPassport availability well over 99%… 99.82% to be exact, but can we improve on that? Well, we’ve been asking ourselves the same question, but where do you start if your downtime is caused mainly by essential maintenance? Things like application version upgrades, system security updates and general hardware maintenance; things that require the system to be offline?

Enter Docker.

Enter what?… Well, docs.microsoft.com nicely explains what a Docker is:

Docker is an open-source project for automating the deployment of applications as portable, self-sufficient containers that can run on the cloud or on-premises

This brief description may not explain how this can help us improve our uptime statistics, but bear with us.

By “containerising” iPassport and all it’s supporting services we managed to isolate the application from underlying hardware which means we can move the system around our cluster without having any downtime and we can update server after server.

To better explain this, imagine you have to mow your lawn, but you have a bunch of flowers growing somewhere in that wild bush of the grass. Before you start mowing the grass you have to find your flowers and protect them from the mower so they don’t get damaged, so you put a bucket over them(this is what we call downtime).

Now imagine that your flowers are planted in a pot (container). All you have to do is move the pot to a different place and you can just mow that grass without worrying that your flowers will be affected. Then once the spot is nicely trimmed you just move the flowers back and you can enjoy your beautiful lawn.

To make all this possible we had to change our whole infrastructure and move iPassport to new servers. Most of our customers will not notice any difference, but for those who have strict rules on outgoing connections on their firewall it means that some IP addresses will require “whitelisting”. If you’re not sure if your organisation has whitelist rules for outgoing connections, just ask your IT.

For the next 2 weeks we’ll continue serving production traffic via the old IP address, but we’ll slowly move all accounts to the new infrastructure. This will happen totally transparently and without any downtime required thanks to the magic of containers. iPassport will continue to be online during the move and you will be able to access all your content in the application.

You may be wondering about what happens to your data during this move? The answer is… absolutely nothing. iPassport’s current setup already ensures that your data is kept separate from the application and any updates to the application do not affect the stored information. Your data will stay in the same secure environment it is now in.

Once the whole process is completed you’ll be benefiting from zero-downtime updates and all new features and updates will just magically appear in the system, so keep your eyes on the iPassport change-log notification.

If you have any questions regarding the update you can find us in the app under Contact Support link or send us an email directly to support@genialcompliance.com