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Everon: Moving up a gear with microservices on Google Kubernetes Engine

About Everon

Everon is an electric vehicle (EV) charging management platform that allows any business to create its own dynamic charging network. Everon’s platform supports more than 21 different languages and is hardware agnostic, which allows businesses to create their own charging infrastructure, connect drivers and different sites, as well as integrate with a range of APIs.

Industries: Technology
Location: The Netherlands

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As electric vehicle adoption grows exponentially, Everon uses Google Cloud to create a scalable charging management platform that connects drivers with the charging stations they need to get around.

Google Cloud results

  • Adapts architecture for maximum efficiency, from App Engine to Google Kubernetes Engine and beyond
  • Leads drivers to charging stations with an interface powered by Google Maps Platform
  • Creates invoices and cost calculations in near real time with Dataflow

Manages 400K individual charging stations in real time

There are more than one million electric cars registered in Europe, and that number is going up fast. Every quarter, the rate of new electric cars rolling onto the continent’s roads increases more rapidly than any other vehicle type, driving exponential growth. And because all of those new cars need places to refuel, demand for charging infrastructure is growing too.

Everon launched in October 2019 as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution that companies can customize and use to manage their electric vehicle charging networks. Benefits range from controlling how much power to give each car to creating pricing models and billing customers and optimizing the use of their respective charging networks via smart charging. Drawing on experience at its sister company EVBox, which manufactures charging stations and provides add-on services, the Everon team offers a white-label platform ready for companies to deploy. Hence, charging networks have everything they need to manage stations, and drivers can access and pay for the electricity they consume.

“The Google Cloud product ecosystem is straightforward, which certainly sets it apart from the competition. You can see what product to use when, and it supports seamless switching from a simpler, monolithic setup to scalable microservices as the company grows. That’s ideal for a startup like us.”

Piotr Krzepczak, CTO, Everon

“When someone pulls up at a charging station in the street, that station is essentially an IoT device,” explains Piotr Krzepczak, CTO at Everon. “To start the interaction, the driver identifies themself at the station. The device messages the platform, which then checks the driver’s subscription and allows the station to charge the car. But the platform also determines how much power should be output to the car. That’s called smart charging, and it considers the local situation, the profile of the user, even the season, because in winter some energy has to go into heating the car.”

Meanwhile, for every transaction started, the platform creates a billing record in near real time for a driver to consult through the charging network’s app. “At the very beginning, our CEO Kristof Vereenooghe and I realized that Everon needs to scale,” says Piotr. “It has to be future proof and ready to serve multiple clients.” To optimize scalability and create a flexible solution for clients, Everon developed their platform on Google Cloud.

“The Google Cloud product ecosystem is straightforward, which certainly sets it apart from the competition,” says Piotr. “You can see what product to use when, and it supports seamless switching from a simpler, monolithic setup to scalable microservices as the company grows. That’s ideal for a startup like us.”

“Google Kubernetes Engine is state of the art, but it’s also easy to use. You don’t have to spend long hours setting up the network configuration, nor make a significant time investment to start operating its flexible infrastructure. You get a great balance between power and simplicity.”

Piotr Krzepczak, CTO, Everon

Maturing infrastructure to match growth

As a technology startup grows, the architecture used at launch often needs to be upgraded for eventual operation at scale. Everon created its original solution on App Engine, with a simplified, monolithic architecture. The company then switched to microservices as the platform developed.

“Google Cloud is ideally suited to scaling up,” says Piotr. “We have to consider how things might look far into the future, and the kinds of challenges we might face. For example, we use one region now, but the Google Cloud network makes it easy to work with multiple regions. The open source mindset at Google Cloud is great too, not only because we can access a community of developers, but because we know we can run the solution on other infrastructure if necessary. That’s very powerful, because it means you’re ready to deploy anywhere, for any client.”

With around 20 large services, Everon chose to migrate them one by one to Google Kubernetes Engine. “We created a dedicated team to focus on migration,” says Piotr. “That team was in touch with engineers at Google Cloud, and they worked across all the different services. Something that we don’t hear enough about when it comes to cloud providers, is the people behind them. We’ve been impressed with everyone we’ve been in touch with at Google Cloud, whether it’s the account owner or technical support. They're always friendly and helpful. Culture-wise, Google Cloud aligns with us, which is really valuable.”

Now, the entire Everon PaaS solution runs on Google Kubernetes Engine, and has been prepared for deployment on any infrastructure using Terraform. “We have Terraform-ized everything,” says Piotr. “The entire infrastructure is represented as a code, and we can spin up a new environment just by running a script. This is important in terms of business strategy: it gives us a business continuity element and improved potential for disaster recovery. Google Kubernetes Engine provides tools to make that easy.” That accessibility really matters to Everon, which in 2019 alone expanded its team by 600%, mainly comprising engineers.

“Google Kubernetes Engine is state of the art, but it’s also easy to use,” says Piotr. “You don’t have to spend long hours setting up network configuration, nor making a significant time investment to start operating its flexible infrastructure. You get a great balance between power and simplicity.”

Leveraging managed services and the Google Maps Platform APIs

Everon leverages managed services across its solution for scalable, efficient services that easily work out of the box, from Pub/Sub to Cloud SQL and Datastore. Using Cloud Scheduler, Everon automates tasks to free up time for engineers. It monitors infrastructure with Google Cloud operations tools (formerly Stackdriver), ready to make targeted interventions if instabilities are detected. And, with Cloud Functions, the Everon platform scales to meet demand without compromising service to customers.

BigQuery is an amazing tool, empowering our business intelligence and data insights,” says Piotr. “It’s fast and flexible when it comes to data ingestion from different data sources. That's a great power for us to have. Managed services have a big impact on processes like invoicing, too. With Dataflow, we can do invoicing and cost calculations in real time, avoiding the need to go through every single record to recalculate respectful values at a later stage.”

As one of the Everon platform’s core functions is to connect electric vehicle drivers with charging stations, the team uses Google Maps Platform. “We use this platform to layer the charging stations over a map in a way that drivers can easily find them,” says Piotr. “We group stations together on our back end, because they are often close together on the ground. Then we display that location on a map for the driver. The driver can tap the station on the map, view the price of charging there, see how many connections are available, and then request route planning to get there.”

“We get more than just infrastructure with Google Cloud. We get the Google Cloud team, including a site reliability engineer, who is a great source of information. For any organization committed to scaling, choosing the right provider from the beginning is truly important. With Google Cloud, our decision paid off.”

Piotr Krzepczak, CTO, Everon

Reliability at scale with the SRE blueprint

With scalability a key priority, Everon ran performance tests to evaluate the platform’s capacity to perform under pressure. “We ran a 10-day load test, managing 400,000 charging stations simultaneously, which is more than all of the charging stations in Europe today,” says Piotr. “We ran 1.8 million charging sessions in twelve hours, and 9 million transactions during the test. We stopped the test because the infrastructure was scaling with no problem whatsoever.”

Now, Everon is looking to leverage BigQuery in combination with Dataflow and Dataproc to find and fix weak links in charging infrastructure. “Sometimes stations fail in a way that we can address remotely through their configuration,” says Piotr. “We plan to use machine learning to identify and correct those issues, and even run predictive maintenance to fix stations before they fail.”

To ensure the stability of the platform, Everon reached out to Google Cloud to set up Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) as a reference point. Now it works with the Google Cloud SRE blueprint that helps Everon get the most out of Google Cloud.

“We get more than just infrastructure with Google Cloud,” says Piotr. “We get the Google Cloud team, including a site reliability engineer, who is a great source of information. For any organization committed to scaling, choosing the right provider from the beginning is truly important. With Google Cloud, our decision paid off.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Everon

Everon is an electric vehicle (EV) charging management platform that allows any business to create its own dynamic charging network. Everon’s platform supports more than 21 different languages and is hardware agnostic, which allows businesses to create their own charging infrastructure, connect drivers and different sites, as well as integrate with a range of APIs.

Industries: Technology
Location: The Netherlands