Leading French Telecoms Operator SFR Increases Innovation and Reduces Costs by Standardizing on JBoss Enterprise Application Platform

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February 9, 2011

Customer: SFR

Industry: Telecomm
Geography: EMEA
Country: France


Business Challenge:

To replace an end-of-life proprietary system, IBM Websphere, with a standardized infrastructure; rewrite and deploy business critical applications by 2012, and reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Migration Path:

Migrated from IBM Websphere and Oracle WebLogic

Solution:

SFR selected JBoss Enterprise Application Platform to develop Java applications based on open source industry standards while remaining fully supported by a trusted partner

Software:

Application servers: Solaris Sparc x86; Web servers: Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Oracle 10i

Hardware:

6 units HP DL580 G5 for customer service, 13 units HP DL 580 G5 for catalogue, and 4 units HP DL 580 G5 for order entry

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Background:

SFR, owned by Vivendi (56 percent share of ownership) and Vodafone (44 percent), is the second largest telecommunications operator in France. With 19.7 million mobile and 4.8 million high-speed internet customers, SFR is a leading mobile and fixed-line operator in Europe, offering solutions tailored to the needs of individuals, companies, and operators. SFR is a driving force in terms of innovation, development of new services, convergent solutions, and deployment of high-speed fixed-line (fibre-optic), and mobile (3G+) networks to better serve consumers. By owning its network infrastructure and having a wealth of internal internet expertise, SFR has all the necessary resources to develop leadership in innovation and quality of service.

Business Challenge:

SFR has been using proprietary infrastructures for many years to support its mission critical systems for order management, order entry, promotions catalogue, and customer service capabilities. These applications enable customers to see the availability of services as well as manage their subscriptions and spend.

As the SFR business continues to expand, the license and maintenance fees have started to restrict the company’s cost management objectives. In addition, the company develops in-house applications, which need to be updated regularly in order to add functionalities and improve customer service. In a proprietary environment, these developments can be expensive as well as extremely time-consuming, in turn slowing down innovation.

“Implementing JBoss® Enterprise Middleware is part of a larger project called BIOS, which will eventually result in an overhaul of 50 percent of our infrastructure by 2012. Due to the complexity and long timescales of the project, we were searching for technology that would continue to support our system throughout the project implementation and beyond. Our infrastructure therefore needs to have the necessary scalability to evolve in line with industry standards and the expected growth of our business,” said Pierre Auguste, Engineering Infrastructures Director, SFR.

Solution:

As part of the BIOS technology update, SFR explored several available options for its new application platform. Despite the fact that the company had very little experience with open source solutions, it recognized that open source middleware, and specifically JBoss Enterprise Middleware, was closely aligned with the company’s long-term technology strategy, which is to remain vendor agnostic whilst continuing to improve the robustness and stability of its application platform.

SFR’s IT team considered Red Hat middleware architecture, as they were familiar with the J2EE platform and knew it could migrate its development environment to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform with little effort. This was a crucial requirement for SFR, who developed customized in-house solutions in a Java environment which needs to be fully certified and supported.

“We were convinced that JBoss Enterprise Application Platform was mature enough to support our mission-critical applications. Having performed extensive in-house stability and performance testing, the platform met all our needs perfectly and has proven to be an ideal solution for our developers. We’re used to working in J2EE environments, and the migration to JBoss Enterprise Application
Platform has been seamless,“ explained Karim Ben Mustapha, Project Manager, SFR.

The testing and validation of the middleware platform was carried out across three operating system platforms including Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®, Solaris on x86, and Solaris on Sparc that could be deployed on physical or virtual machines. The evaluation and certification of the new platform had to be completed within short deadlines to allow the IT team to re-write and deploy targeted applications by 2012.

“JBoss Enterprise Middleware integrates and certifies the latest enterprise-ready features from JBoss Community projects to create a supported, stable, enterprise-class middleware distribution. It‘s the leading open source platform for next-generation JavaEE applications. Built on open standards, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform enhances JBoss Application Server with enterprise features and leading open source frameworks to provide a complete solution for Java applications,” explained Franz Meyer, vice president, sales EMEA at Red Hat.

In order to facilitate change management and enhance the security of the migration, SFR has deployed JBoss Enterprise Application Platform as an additional platform to Websphere. By doing so, SFR gave the teams an opportunity to make an informed decision instead of implementing only the accepted standard technology. To date, JBoss Enterprise Middleware runs eight mission-critical projects such as prepayment mobile contracts management. The number of supported CPUs will grow by the end of 2011 and eventually by the end of the project.

Benefits:
Selecting JBoss means that SFR no longer faces the license fee costs for IBM Websphere and Oracle WebLogic, resulting in total cost savings for this project. JBoss Enterprise Middleware improves SFR’s developer productivity, reduces time to market, automates business processes, and enables efficient sharing of enterprise data.

With Red Hat providing reliable technology consulting and support for JBoss Enterprise Middleware, SFR can dedicate its resources to projects that are the core of company’s business and focus on customer service. SFR can innovate and deliver new applications and services more quickly, in turn strengthening its competitive advantage in the telecommunications industry.

“The implementation has been carried out so seamlessly that we have called Red Hat support services only a limited number of times in 18 months. We have been impressed by their response time and the overall quality of support,” added Karim Ben Mustapha Project Manager, SFR.

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