Lemonade

Executive Summary

Lemonade is a full-stack insurance carrier that uses artificial intelligence and behavioral economics to offer homeowners and renters insurance in the US, and contents and liability insurance in Europe. Starting with legacy Hashicorp Terraform for configuring their infrastructure on AWS, Lemonade wanted to take advantage of Pulumi’s building-blocks approach to serverless computing and provide self-service tools to help their engineering teams to move faster. Pulumi helped Lemonade deploy more modern infrastructure features while empowering their workforce with scalable infrastructure libraries. With Pulumi, Lemonade’s people-first approach to insurance can now accelerate innovation — bringing disruptive products and services to a highly-competitive market.

Lemonade logo

About Lemonade

Lemonade was founded in 2015 to provide renters and homeowners with fast, affordable, and delightful insurance policies powered by AI and behavioral economics. The company reverses the traditional insurance model by charging a flat fee and giving back leftover money to charities selected by its customers. Getting a policy is fast and requires zero paperwork, as is the transparent claim process. Treating insurance as a social good, rather than a necessary evil, Lemonade has been designed to be socially responsible, donating parts of unclaimed premiums and company revenue to nonprofit charities in its annual Giveback. The startup takes its social good seriously and is registered as both a Public Benefit Corporation and a Certified B-Corp.

Challenges Faced

Originally a HashiCorp Terraform customer, Lemonade’s infrastructure demands changed rapidly — placing the infrastructure team in the critical path for new features. Their team tried to build workarounds with these legacy tools but found that each iteration increased configuration complexity and wasted finite resources. Their opportunities to scale were also impacted as the team was unable to integrate business logic into their original infrastructure due to a lack of programming language support. Lemonade developers struggled to create more sophisticated infrastructure-as-code deployments and needed a more complete solution to support both existing and new services.

Solution: Infrastructure from Repeatable Building Blocks

Lemonade chose Pulumi for its ability to deploy infrastructure with reusable libraries that could be shared between developers, using their preferred language and cloud. Pulumi also empowers its users to create and deploy serverless components like AWS Lambda and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) — features Lemonade needed to scale in order to support its growing customer base.

Pulumi enabled Lemonade to centralize its processes, managing all AWS components and automating infrastructure for every environment. Embedded business logic helped ensure that resources get appropriately sized for each environment — keeping costs low and allowing maximum reuse of infrastructure code.

“With Pulumi, we can utilize our infrastructure much better because we have the ability to embed business logic. We’re not limited to one-size-fits-all configurations, but can actually implement environment-specific customizations for our infrastructure.”

— Igor Shapiro, Principal Engineer at Lemonade

Beyond managing serverless capabilities, the Lemonade team was able to take advantage of the rich managed database features of the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS). With RDS and Pulumi, the team was able to provision and update databases like any other service resource using Pulumi. The team was able to get up and running quickly using Amazon Aurora – enabling scale while retaining compatibility with MySQL and PostgreSQL.

In addition to providing the infrastructure features that Lemonade was looking for, Pulumi’s platform improved Lemonade’s CI/CD process via out-of-the-box integrations with Jenkins and Datadog. By empowering their service owners with the ability to self-provision and deploy resources alongside their application code, Pulumi helped Lemonade engineers be more agile when developing, testing, deploying, monitoring, and scaling new applications and services.

Results

Pulumi provided Lemonade with the ability to provision faster and more efficiently, giving them an opportunity to introduce much-needed features to their network and support infrastructure. Since Lemonade employs only a handful of infrastructure engineers to support dozens of its service side engineers, the demands on the service side could easily exceed the infrastructure team’s capacity - leading to long wait times for new capabilities when using Terraform. With Pulumi, the infrastructure team was able to share libraries that the services engineers could understand and re-use while codifying best practices in those libraries to enforce company standards. For example, the infrastructure team used Pulumi to define organizational policies like mandating the use of AWS CloudTrail, and automated credential rotation for increased security.

“Pulumi supercharged our infrastructure team by helping us create reusable building blocks that developers can leverage to provision new resources and enforce organizational policies for logging, permissions, resource tagging, and security. This empowered our developer teams to self-provision resources and ship new capabilities faster without having to wait for the infrastructure team to deploy new resources on their behalf. At the same time, we’re able to provision/update databases managed by Amazon RDS with protection from deletion so infrastructure changes can happen on the fly - without risk to our production data.”

— Igor Shapiro, Principal Engineer at Lemonade

Lemonade’s infrastructure team was able to simplify tasks like automatically computing CIDR blocks, correctly connecting their networks to the VPC transit gateway and handling production traffic differently from other environments — something that simply can’t be done with Terraform.

Finally, the team was able to leverage Pulumi’s new Automation API to further simplify deployments. The Automation API allowed Lemonade to embed the Pulumi engine directly within their application code, enabling them to programmatically run deployments at run-time. For example: customizing runners for multi-step provisioning, automating recovery for well-known errors like fixing state for interrupted jobs and managing approvals for sensitive operations like deleting old resources.

“Pulumi’s Automation API helps us to build on existing best practices and further automate our deployment process – eliminating manual tasks and exception handling.”

— Igor Shapiro, Principal Engineer at Lemonade

Using Pulumi to automatically manage its infrastructure has allowed Lemonade’s leadership to rest easy about the efficiency and security of its infrastructure and ensure that automated processes are in place for disaster recovery. More than that, Pulumi gave Lemonade an automatic way to track changes and deploy new features and services at scale.

Next Steps

Lemonade is continuing to use Pulumi to uplevel existing infrastructure and provide new building blocks for its developers and service teams. Its next target is infrastructure optimization, including the implementation of environment-specific business logic to structure data management and infrastructure deployment. As Lemonade’s engineering team grows, they also plan to roll out policies for resource provisioning, and further automating application testing.

Pulumi Corporation

Pulumi’s cloud engineering platform brings infrastructure, developer, and security teams together through a unified software engineering process that tames cloud complexity and accelerates innovation. Using the Pulumi platform, teams can build, deploy, and manage modern cloud applications faster and with more confidence, using any language, any architecture and any cloud. Pulumi lets teams build Modern Infrastructure as Code using popular programming languages (Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Go, .NET/C#). It enables deploying infrastructure and applications together through a unified delivery process. Finally, teams can manage cloud applications with Policy as Code, better visibility, and controls.

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