Brittany Ferries sails into an API-driven future with Kong Konnect and Bravenn
Updated: Mar 7
Efficiency: Shorter time to market and better business innovation by an API first development approach
Autonomy: Creating an open ecosystem using Konnect’s Developer Portal to support full autonomy both internally and for customers
Security: Kong’s extensive plugin library allows for centralized security at the click of a button
Required a modernized and cloud-based infrastructure to support increasingly complex API use cases
More advanced ability to protect from threats and ensure compliance
Needed the ability to develop applications faster and easier
Kong Konnect as a SaaS-based API management solution hosted in Europe
Kong Gateway as the native Kubernetes API gateway of choice
CI/CD chain for API development and Konnect Developer Portal to make API catalog available to the external ecosystem
Connecting people to places across the Channel and beyond
Brittany Ferries was first founded in 1972 out of a plan to connect Brittany, France, with the broader Atlantic Arc. Today, Brittany Ferries is the leading sea transporter on the western and central Channel, with routes carrying both passengers and cargo. Whether travellers are looking to take a short car ferry between Portsmouth and Le Havre or cruise from Ireland to Spain for a holiday, Brittany Ferries has ships and routes to cater to any traveler. It also offers the widest choice of freight routes between England, Ireland, France, and Spain, with 15 different mile-saving routes. Looking to the future, Brittany Ferries is expanding onto land, with railway partnerships serving the broader areas of the UK, France, and Spain.
The need to modernize and migrate fully to cloud
While Brittany Ferries has historically been in the business of transporting people and cargo across the sea, its API management needs are decidedly modern. Gildas Pouliquen, API Manager, and Eric Bustarret, Head of Architecture, are responsible for the management of data flow and communication between their APIs and Applications and realized that as their business grew, they needed a centralized API management system which worked with their legacy SOAP APIs but also brand-new REST APIs. The solution had to be API-first software in order to comply with a fully automated approach architecture in place at Brittany Ferries. “As Brittany Ferries navigated the complexities of transportation across borders, as well as the changing nature of our business during and after the COVID 19 pandemic, we needed to modernize our systems and continue to migrate more services to the cloud. All of this required a much more structured approach to APIs than we had previously,” says Bustarret.
A fast turnaround with Konnect
They turned to their partner Vincent Guiheneuc, CEO of Bravenn, to recommend a platform that could help solve their API challenges. Guiheneuc pointed them to Kong Konnect as a cloud-native SaaS API lifecycle management platform that could support the kind of modernized architecture they were looking to build. “Bravenn has worked with Kong on a number of projects, so when the team at Brittany Ferries came to me asking for a full API management solution which had to be very powerful yet simple to maintain it was a no-brainer to recommend Konnect,” says Guiheneuc. Since Brittany Ferries was already using GCP as their cloud provider and was fully deployed on Kubernetes, its goals around Konnect were focused on setting up Kong Gateways and the management control plane. Bustarret and Pouliquen worked with Bravenn as a deployment partner to build out the full CI/CD automation chains that would help streamline API development, as well as creating a DevPortal that would allow for publishing both new and existing APIs. “We were very pleased by how fast and straightforward the deployment process was with Bravenn expertise. Konnect could have even been deployed in a matter of days. It took us longer because of the implementation of the full automation chains which was dependent on the availability of our own internal resources” says Pouliquen.
Achieving goals of efficiency and full autonomy
One of the main goals Brittany Ferries was trying to achieve by using Konnect as an API management system was better efficiency in their API development and usage process. “We have seen a great increase in our team’s efficiency as a result of using Konnect. Our front end developers can do their onboarding simply by using the DevPortal,” says Pouliquen. This ability to provide autonomy and greater efficiency, while still providing the teams with guardrails, is a key feature of Konnect and a critical piece of Brittany Ferries’ deployment model. In addition, by implementing an API management platform, Brittany Ferries has allowed their business customers, including freight companies and regulatory bodies such as customs, to be more autonomous by using externally available APIs. With ever expanding new business lines, the ability to deploy more APIs that conform to the established standards is an important way the API and broader Architecture team at Brittany Ferries supports the company's growth. Increasing security while simplifying developers’ jobs Pouliquen, Bustarret, and the Brittany Ferries team were also looking to centralize their API security. Indeed, cargo and passenger data are sensitive, subject to GDPR. Brittany Ferries APIs need to be opened to the external world in a very secure manner. Kong Konnect with their extensive security plugins library available at a click of a button made this API architecture very robust and gave the operational teams complete observability.
“Brittany Ferries was the very first organization to deploy Kong Konnect in Europe. We are proud to have made the choice of an innovative and simple API management tool, without the added complexity of iPaas functionality. I would strongly recommend Konnect to anyone wishing to deploy a streamlined, secure API management tool quickly and easily in order to support a growing and agile business. As a matter of fact, Konnect now is at the heart of any new solution of Brittany Ferries.” - Eric Bustarret, Head of Architecture