Vodafone uses Oracle Cloud to help fast-track its telecom reinvention
To move into diversified communications, the telecom relies on Oracle Cloud@Customer, a cloud offering built inside Vodafone’s own data centers.
“Together with Oracle, we’re modernizing thousands of on-premises database workloads and associated applications using a secure, fully featured on-premises cloud region—and lowering our costs.”
Vodafone, the largest pan-European and African telecom, is turning itself into a technology communications company—a software-led, cloud-based provider of high-value services to consumers and businesses.
Vodafone has a track record of building successful business platforms. It is the world’s largest provider of managed Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity services, serving customers in industries such as automotive, medical device, and industrial equipment, spanning more than 180 countries. Automakers, for example, use the carrier’s IoT platform for everything from automated maintenance scheduling to self-parking cars.
To deliver more such growth opportunities, Vodafone must ensure that its core IT services, including its business and operations support systems (BSS/OSS), can support the fast-moving needs of customer-facing IT. These front- and back-end services are interconnected, and they require low latency and high security, so moving to a public cloud presented new challenges for Vodafone.
The solution: Oracle Cloud@Customer, which puts all the capabilities and benefits of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s (OCI) public offering inside Vodafone’s own data centers. It’s an on-premises cloud capability, optimized for Oracle workloads and equipped with fully autonomous platform services such as Oracle Autonomous Database—a package that other hyperscale cloud providers couldn’t deliver.
A flexible foundation
The setup—inside Vodafone’s three main EU data centers—will give the carrier the cost, security, performance, uptime, scalability, and agility benefits of OCI within its own data centers and on its own network. Vodafone will provide the space, power, and cooling, and Oracle will manage everything else. Several thousand databases and related applications will move to Oracle Cloud@Customer.
“The flexibility offered by OCI lets us build a robust, secure cloud platform in our own facilities, with the agility and scalability to support innovation and growth,” says Pedro Sardo, director of IT operations, infrastructure, and technology at Vodafone. “We can offer better digital experiences at reduced costs.” The carrier is poised to build new cloud-based applications faster and launch them in multiple markets at the same time.
Vodafone will also have close access to compute resources to dynamically augment and scale services in multiple geographies when business requirements change, while reducing operational costs and meeting data residency requirements. Moving to Oracle Cloud@Customer will also let Vodafone use automation to accelerate code releases for core services while maintaining performance, scalability, and resilience.
“Oracle is at the heart of our core business services,” Sardo says. “We run high-transaction systems that must be highly available, and we have confidence that OCI can do this.”
Scott Petty, Vodafone’s chief digital and information officer, has supported the cost, scale, speed-to-market, and other benefits of a centralized and standard cloud computing platform.
Petty believes that instead of assembling your own platforms for your core services, use the central platform where automation and security are built in. It’s a classic “build once, deploy everywhere” approach. This method lets business unit leaders focus more on seizing revenue opportunities in their local markets and less on IT maintenance and updates.
Having cloud infrastructure within meters of its network and on-premises applications allows Vodafone to move off its legacy IT infrastructure at its own pace. “By proceeding this way, we can stay focused on addressing our customers’ needs while transforming our IT technologies,” Sardo says.
To cement their technology partnership, Oracle and Vodafone will jointly invest in a center of excellence, under which Oracle will take the lead in modernizing and migrating Vodafone’s databases to the new platform. Vodafone’s systems integrators and software providers will also be key partners, bringing their knowledge and skills to help modernize applications. Vodafone has engaged Oracle Advanced Customer Services to migrate thousands of Oracle Database workloads to OCI. These partnerships support Vodafone’s reinvention strategy, helping it bring new products to market faster while lowering total cost of IT and operations.
Another key to Vodafone’s pivot to tech comms: standardizing and automating core IT services. Oracle Autonomous Database will play a crucial role.
Ultimately, automation is a people strategy as well as a technology plan. To boost new digital-powered services, Vodafone is investing heavily in engineering and development talent, with plans to shift 50% of IT staff to such roles as it increases IT automation. “We’re creating a kind of in-house factory using our software engineering capabilities,” Petty says.