Adopter Spotlight: QuintoAndar uses Backstage to create a source of truth

Emma White, Spotify
Backstage spotlight on QuintoAndar

A fast-growing tech startup, QuintoAndar is already Brazil’s largest digital real estate company. Their distributed development teams work together to create an “end-to-end online self-service experience in the real estate market.”

They adopted Backstage to help their engineers create, manage, and explore their tech ecosystem. In a recent post on their QuintoAndar Tech Blog, engineer Gabriel Dantas describes how their platform team built their Backstage-powered service catalog to create a “source of truth” for all their services.

Bookmarks and spreadsheets, oh my

Before adopting Backstage, QuintoAndar’s developers were managing their tools with browser bookmarks and using a spreadsheet as a services directory (hey, we’ve all been there 😬).

That might work when you’re a small team working in the same room, but over the last two years, QuintoAndar’s business had grown 4x and wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down. As we saw with fintech Brex, when your startup is growing quickly, complexity comes at you fast, with your headcount growing along with your infrastructure.

From Gabriel Dantas' post:

It is typical for developers to use more than one tool in their daily development, such as ArgoCD, Drone CI, Grafana, Thanos, and Kibana.

Inside QuintoAndar the tools are dynamically provisioned and can have their addresses changed. This means that addresses that were saved in the favorites bar or in documentation were deprecated with a certain frequency. Keeping our developers up to date with news is always a challenge and not addressing this issue has a strong impact on engineering productivity.

Not only was QuintoAndar managing tools with bookmarks and spreadsheets — but also the local addresses and owners for their tools changed on a steady cadence. So the information on these tools often became deprecated, outdated, and lacked awareness. The disjointed approach hurt internal productivity for developers. QuintoAndar needed a source of truth for their tools that remained up-to-date and acted as an easily discoverable and usable developer hub for the entire company.

Out with the old and in with the new

QuintoAndar knew that managing tools via bookmarks and spreadsheets was not sustainable alongside their rapid growth. So, they turned to Backstage to help mitigate the spreadsheet chaos. Within Backstage, they found the Software Catalog the most helpful.

Gabriel Dantas:

With Backstage we are able to expose in a unified way everything that is needed to create and maintain infrastructure resources, follow CI/CD pipelines, and visualize observability metrics, without the developer needing to have specific knowledge about the tools, being a true hub of information for any developer within the company.

Remember the spreadsheet? It was time to kill it with fire.

The Software Catalog enabled them to highlight and unify tooling required to create and maintain infrastructure, follow CI/CD pipelines, and visualize observability metrics, without the developer needing to have specific knowledge about the tools. They found the Software Catalog to be a source of truth for every developer in the company.

From chaos to creators

QuintoAndar didn’t stop upgrading their developer experience just with the Software Catalog. They integrated Backstage into their production workloads with custom yaml and even created a number of their own plugins. And the most exciting part? QuintoAndar created three new plugins (Security Overview, Service Assessment, and Toolbox) that they plan to contribute to the Backstage Open Source community soon! THANK YOU QuintoAndar!

QuintoAndar went from struggling with managing developer tools with bookmarks and spreadsheets to not only solving their own challenges, but sharing tools to combat challenges that other companies face.