The Bang & Olufsen story

Speed and agility for embedded software development

About Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen manufactures a highly distinctive and exclusive range of televisions, music systems, loudspeakers, telephones, and multimedia products that combine technological excellence with emotional appeal. The company was founded in 1925 in Struer, Denmark, by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, two innovative, young engineers devoted to high quality audio reproduction. Bang & Olufsen is a publicly-held company with more than 1,700 employees and sells products in more than 70 countries.

The Challenge: Agile and Scalable DevOps

The software development team, consisting of roughly 50 developers, collaborates on a common platform for all B&O’s connected audio and video products. They wanted to accelerate their release cycles and decided to transition to Agile processes and DevOps automation.

The team was previously using Jenkins for continuous integration (CI), but wanted to move to a hosted and more scalable solution supporting easy configuration and the features needed for embedded development.

“This is the most important product line for the business, and it requires a lot of embedded development. Embedded software has fixed hardware and environment requirements, so we needed a platform that could handle those needs, while also helping us be agile.” says Jeppe Frandsen, Senior Software Architect at B&O.

Best CI/CD Platform for Embedded Development

B&O looked at several hosted CI/CD providers, and selected Shippable to replace Jenkins since they found that it has the best features to support embedded development.

First, Shippable offers a hosted service, eliminating the time-consuming task of managing their own infrastructure.

Second, Shippable offers a highly differentiated feature called Bring Your Own Node (BYON), which allows customers to run builds on their own machines of any size and configuration, instead of the standard Shippable hardware. These machines are automatically configured and managed, requiring almost no effort from the customer. This was important for B&O since they could use machines that were optimal for their high processing needs, rather than standard Shippable hardware.

Third, Shippable has the best support for Docker. B&O could use custom Docker images to create a consistent, cross-platform build environment that satisfied their requirements. They could also leverage Docker caching to speed up their builds.

“We switched to Shippable as it has the best features for embedded development. It allows us to have our custom build system, without needing to manage our own infrastructure,” Frandsen says. “This has helped us accelerate our software release cycles and focus on customer value.”

The Results

The B&O DevOps stack today includes GitHub, Docker and Shippable, along with an internally developed release portal. All builds run on Linode servers. Shippable integrates with all the DevOps tools to bring superb visibility and collaboration for each phase of development. GitHub gives the team status on code coverage and static code analysis, Docker is used for creating a consistent build environment, Shippable is the CI/CD hub, and the internal portal stores the final releases.

“We love that the Shippable team rapidly adds new features and offers great support.” Frandsen said, “The platform is very flexible and we can build custom automation with very little effort.”

Specific benefits from Shippable include:

  • Hosted platform makes it easy to add CI/CD workflows without managing configurations and in-house build servers;
  • Custom Docker images and caching helps provide a consistent, cross platform build environment that is fine-tuned to embedded software development;
  • BYON allows B&O to use bigger machines and achieve faster results;
  • Nodes are automatically configured, saving hours of effort;
  • Feature branch workflows are easy to configure, with automatic recognition of which branch changed, along with the ability to configure different workflows for each branch;
  • The team achieves industrial-strength scalability with parallel builds;
  • YML config lives with the source code and is easy to configure and extend;
  • Secrets Store helps encrypt tokens, passwords and other sensitive data while working with partners so internal information is not exposed to them;
  • The Shippable API is easy to use;
  • The platform is flexible and provides ample options for easy customization;
  • The Shippable team rapidly adds new features and is highly responsive to support requests and bug reports;
  • The pricing plans are affordable and cater to companies of all sizes.

“At B&O, we want to be as efficient as possible in our DevOps methods, and Shippable has helped us ship faster and bring more capabilities to consumers who buy our products,” Frandsen says. “We get all the benefits of a hosted CI environment plus the flexibility to customize that environment when needed. Shippable is the best partner to facilitate truly integrated, automated DevOps workflows.”

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