[Webinar Recap] Get To Know Spinnaker

In our recent webinar, Pete Erickson (Founder and CEO of Modev) was joined by Ben Mappen (Co-founder and CPO at Armory) and Dave Stenglein (SVP, Architecture, and Engineering at Kenzan) to give an introduction to Spinnaker, the open source, multi-cloud continuous delivery platform.


From Spinnaker’s history to tips on getting started with the platform, this insightful webinar aims to help you understand precisely why Spinnaker is the most powerful CD tool on the market today.


If you missed the webinar, not to worry, here’s a recap to get you up to speed on everything they covered.

Key points of the webinar:

  • History of Spinnaker
  • How Spinnaker is a Pluggable Cloud-Native Platform
  • Why companies choose Spinnaker vs. other solutions
  • A sample Kubernetes pipeline with Spinnaker
  • Best practices with Spinnaker
  • How to get started with Spinnaker—Community, Docs, Getting started guide

History of Spinnaker

Before diving into the history of the platform, let’s begin with a brief overview of what Spinnaker is all about. Dave Stenglein (from Kenzan) starts off with a slide reading the following definition, “Spinnaker is an open source, continuous delivery platform that handles CD operations at high scale.”


Stenglein goes on to highlight the following advantages of this multi-cloud platform:
Automate and visualize your CD process, end-to-end. Inspect the status and health of applications in your environments. Create multi-cloud deployment pipelines.
Now let’s get to the actual history. Spinnaker is the successor to Netflix’s Asgard which (back in the day) was a fairly powerful deployment tool built to simplify software delivery to AWS. Netflix also relied on an array of internal tools to supplement their CD workflow, but over time they began to see the need for a single CD platform capable of deploying to multiple cloud environments quickly and reliably.

How Spinnaker is a Pluggable, Cloud-Native Platform

Netflix’s next move was to approach various big tech companies (Google, Microsoft, AWS, etc.) to design a platform based on microservices with a high level of modularity and extensibility to meet specific business needs.
With this joint effort, they built Spinnaker as a cloud-native platform. Here are a few key specs:


Multi-cloud: Spinnaker supports integration with all major cloud providers.

Multi-region: Spinnaker natively supports delivery pipelines deployed across various regions in parallel. Infrastructure-aware: Spinnaker’s UI surfaces information on the health of your application and infrastructure.

Spinnaker vs. other solutions

How does Spinnaker differ from other solutions? To start, Spinnaker is built around pipelines which means it’s primarily an orchestrator (and a good one at that). Secondly, it’s focused on immutable infrastructure to abstract away the specific nuances of each cloud environment and simplify multi-cloud deployment. Thirdly, it’s built for scale and has been battle-tested in high-volume environments. Lastly, it provides a single pane of glass to view your apps, infrastructure, and pipelines for an end-to-end view of your entire operation.

A sample Kubernetes pipeline with Spinnaker

At this point in the webinar, Ben Mappen (from Armory) took over to give an overview of how Spinnaker fits into the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

In most cases, your SDLC will look like the process shown in the image above. Mappen details how the problem in most scenarios was there was never really a comprehensive tool for CD since the deployment target was typically a custom environment, which meant custom scripts had to be created for it. These custom scripts were usually prone to human error and maintenance relied solely on the engineer who wrote them.


This problem was solved with the move to the cloud, which gave way to standard interfaces for deployment targets. Ultimately, this new standard led to the creation of Spinnaker.


What sets Spinnaker apart is its native integrations with cloud deployment targets. Since the platform is open source, the engineers from these very cloud platforms are in charge of maintaining the code, relieving your engineers from the tedious task.  

At the 15-minute mark in the webinar, Mappen takes a closer look at one of the most popular cloud providers used with Spinnaker: Kubernetes. He briefly explains that the newer Kubernetes V2 takes a K8s-first approach by deploying manifests which Spinnaker can deploy as an immutable artifact. (Watch the webinar from minute 18 to see an example of this process.)

How to get started with Spinnaker

Mappen closes the webinar with a list of valuable resources for anyone looking to get started with Spinnaker.


First off, join over 5,000 engineers on the Spinnaker Slack channel for personalized help. You can also find a wealth of Spinnaker video tutorials created by Armory for a more extensive 101 on the platform.


To install Spinnaker, Mappen recommends starting with Halyard, the official open source tool for configuring, installing, and updating Spinnaker. He also links to Armory where a wrapper has been built around Halyard for a much smoother installation.

Want to learn more? Join us at the Spinnaker Summit


Just before the Q&A, Pete Erickson takes the lead once again to invite everyone to the Spinnaker Summit taking place in Seattle on October 8-9.


It’s the second annual Summit featuring more than 50 sessions, keynotes, and expert panels with industry leaders from Netflix, Google, AWS, Cisco, and countless more. The event will also wrap up with an unmissable community celebration sponsored by Google.


To help you join the growing Spinnaker community, Armory is offering the discount code ARMORY25 to save 25% on your ticket. Register for the Summit here.  

Next webinar:

Deploying to Kubernetes with Spinnaker: A Tour of the V2 Provider