Build Systems that Drive Business
30–31 Oct 2018: Training
31 Oct–2 Nov 2018: Tutorials & Conference
London, UK

Switching horses midstream: The challenges of migrating 150+ microservices to Kubernetes

Sarah Wells (Financial Times)
15:4016:20 Friday, 2 November 2018
Location: King's Suite - Balmoral
Secondary topics:  Systems Architecture & Infrastructure
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 8 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with microservices and containers

What you'll learn

  • Learn how the Financial Times migrated 150+ microservices from one container stack to another without affecting the existing production users


The Financial Times content platform team put its first containers live in mid-2015 and migrated the rest of its services over by April 2016. At that point, the team was using a largely self-built stack on CoreOS Container Linux with Fleet to do cluster management.

At the end of 2016, the team members decided they wanted to benefit from the work other people were doing and switched over to Kubernetes. But it’s not easy to do that kind of move when you have 150+ microservices and you need to keep the existing platform running in parallel while you do the migration.

Sarah Wells explains why the team decided to do this migration, the challenges they faced in doing it while supporting their live platform, and the lessons learned along the way.

Photo of Sarah Wells

Sarah Wells

Financial Times

Sarah Wells is technical director for operations and reliability at the Financial Times. A developer with 15 years of experience, Sarah has led delivery teams across consultancy, financial services, and media. Over the last few years, she has developed a deep interest in operability, observability, and DevOps. Previously, she led work on FT’s semantic publishing platform, which makes it easy to discover and access all the FT’s published content via APIs in a common and flexible format. That project focused on Go, microservices, containerization, Kubernetes, and how to influence teams to do the right things.