Vodafone Group plc is one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and the United States. Vodafone provides a wide range of communications services, including mobile voice, messaging, data, and fixed broadband to 391 million registered mobile customers.
Vodafone has three main data centers in Europe, in Germany, Italy, and Ireland. Operations teams based in those data centers and at the head office in the United Kingdom are responsible for 80% of Vodafone’s Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) infrastructure. In Europe, Vodafone has 3,650 Oracle Databases running business critical applications, including online Web services, online Vodafone shops, automatic teller machines (ATM) for prepaid mobile top-ups (refills), and billing platforms.
Vodafone needed to find a way to manage its vast and critical database estate more effectively without increasing staffing levels. It wanted to become more proactive in database management to improve overall system stability and availability. Vodafone worked with Oracle Premier Support to more effectively use the configuration-driven proactive support services that are available in My Oracle Support and tightly integrated into Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.
Following a successful pilot in Ireland, Vodafone is now adopting Oracle’s proactive support services across all of EMEA so that it can more proactively manage its significant Oracle Database estate. The company has work underway to roll out Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and Oracle Configuration Manager to support this initiative. Oracle's proactive capabilities help to release Vodafone database administrators (DBAs) from administrative tasks to focus on other revenue-generating activities.
“The proactive support services embedded in My Oracle Support, and tightly integrated into Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, are invaluable,” said Peter O’Brien, manager of technology and infrastructure services, Oracle Competence Centre, Vodafone Group plc. “They provide free, practical advice and guidance that helps us proactively assess and maintain the stability of our Oracle Databases.”
Vodafone's Oracle Competence Centre team completed a successful pilot in embracing and adopting Oracle proactive support services. Vodafone partnered closely with Oracle Support to conduct the pilot in the third quarter of 2011.
The scope of the pilot included 108 Oracle Database environments, 16 of which were Oracle Real Application Clusters environments. The core pilot team included two personnel from Vodafone and two from Oracle Support. Vodafone dedicated a few hours per week—an investment quickly recouped—through faster service request logging, as well as enhanced configuration and change management capabilities. Oracle Support and Vodafone carried out the engagement primarily through phone and Web conferences, with one site visit to Vodafone’s Irish Data Center by Oracle Support personnel.
Vodafone installed and configured a new instance of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and provisioned the necessary agents on the target hosts. Vodafone used the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Harvester to yield configuration information from the repository and transmit it back to Oracle for display and use within My Oracle Support.
Vodafone will take the knowledge gained from this successful pilot to roll out these proactive support services across the entire Vodafone EMEA region.
One of the key lessons Vodafone learned is that for IT Operations staff to truly adopt and benefit from Oracle’s proactive support services and capabilities, they need to be embedded and integrated into existing IT management processes. Today, Vodafone has a clear plan in place to deliver on that objective.
Vodafone will initially focus on embedding Oracle’s proactive support services into its existing IT change management processes and procedures, thereby streamlining and automating previously manual and error prone tasks and activities. This will free up much needed DBA time and energy to focus on other business generating activities.