True Breaks from Vendor Lock-In without Compromising on Performance with Red Hat

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September 5, 2013

Leading Thai telecommunications conglomerate True Corporation is committed to offering integrated and converged communication services and solutions on mobile platforms, cable television, and the Internet.

Customer: True

“In order to support our convergence initiative, we needed a flexible and highly scalable platform to integrate and mediate multiple back-end systems across multiple companies.” Bunjert Thungvarathum, deputy director, Customer Care and Billing, Information Technology,True

Red Hat Business Partner: Intel
Industry: Telecomm
Geography: APAC
Country: Thailand


Business Challenge:

A major hindrance was the different applications and middleware technologies adopted to support various businesses.

Migration Path:

WebSphere to Red Hat JBoss Middleware

Software:

Red Hat® JBoss® Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat JBoss SOA Platform Red Hat JBoss BRMS, Red Hat JBoss Data Grid, Red Hat JBoss Operations Network, Red Hat Enterprise Linux®, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat Consulting

Hardware:

20 HP servers in physical and virtualised mode

Benefits:

True overcame this by turning to Red Hat, which saved IT cost while delivering the same level of performance and security.

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Background:

Leading telecommunications company in Thailand True Corporation (True) is a leading telecommunications conglomerate in Thailand that offers a wide range of integrated communications services and solutions. The company’s portfolio includes TrueVisions, Thailand’s largest cable television provider; TrueOnline, the nation’s largest fixed-line service provider in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area and biggest Internet service provider with more than one million subscribers; and TrueMove, the third-largest mobile operator in the country with over 17 million subscribers. True strives to produce unrivaled innovation and deliver great value to its customers. It is the pioneer and leader in offering integrated and converged communication services and solutions on mobile, cable television, and the Internet in Thailand.

Business Challenge:

Business flexibility hindered by proprietary middleware

True faced a major business challenge with the independent way its companies adopted various applications and middleware technologies to support their businesses.

Due to lock-in by proprietary middleware vendors, most of True’s IT budget was spent on high licensing and maintenance costs, leaving very little budget for innovation. Furthermore, IT investment was not maximized; IT was only using a small portion of the functionality provided by the proprietary software vendors, meaning that the companies were paying for more than they needed. Also, some of the legacy middleware products were approaching their end of life. Because these products were not based on open standards, integration and interoperability became major challenges.

“Costly and under-utilized proprietary middleware impaired our companies’ abilities to respond to constant business changes. In order to support our convergence initiative, we needed a flexible and highly scalable platform to integrate and mediate multiple back-end systems across multiple companies,” said Bunjert Thungvarathum, deputy director, Customer Care and Billing, Information Technology, True.

Successful pilot leads to strong buy-in

True started looking for a solution that would enable migration with minimal code changes, deliver equal or better performance than its existing system, and generate cost savings.

During the company’s search, it was introduced to Red Hat by Albatross Consulting Co., Ltd., a Red Hat partner in Thailand. As its applications were running on IBM WebSphere Server, True considered Red Hat and Intel for this proof-of-concept (POC) because Red Hat middleware on Intel platform offered a lower cost alternative.

The mobile division of True, TrueMove, started a pilot to evaluate Red Hat® JBoss® Enterprise Application Platform as an alternative Java EE container to host one of its web applications running on WebSphere. This web application involved providing web service gateways to various back-end systems, including billing, customer care, and provisioning.

The pilot migration was completed in a week and the system ran for three months. The migration was led by Red Hat Consulting and proved to be successful, meeting technical, performance, security, and total cost of ownership (TCO) targets, when compared to the proprietary platform.

Stakeholders were initially concerned with the maturity of the products and lack of middleware knowledge within the organization and among potential hires in Thailand. The success of the pilot established the credibility of Red Hat and instilled confidence in its solutions, resulting in stronger buy-in.
 

Solution:

Adopting more Red Hat solutions

Red Hat Consulting and its partner worked together to help TrueMove migrate a few proprietary WebSphere Process Server and webMethods ESB instances to the Red Hat JBoss SOA Platform. True also developed new critical applications — such as mobile number portability, master customer profile, and order management — on the Red Hat JBoss middleware platform.

After the successful implementation of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform and application migration to this new solution, True started to look at the next steps. Service-oriented application (SOA) development workshops were conducted for two project teams around late 2010.

The True project teams completed the SOA implementation on their own after attending the SOA development workshop. One project team migrated services from WebMethods to Red Hat JBoss SOA Platform, while the other used Red Hat JBoss SOA Platform to integrate various back-end systems and services and used jBPM 3 to orchestrate the processes and services.

During the implementation and migration process, most of the setbacks the team encountered were due to the scalability of the back-end systems or the complexity of the existing legacy systems. Red Hat Consulting and its partner worked very closely with True to address those challenges, cementing a trusted relationship.

True’s adoption of Red Hat solutions has since expanded to include Red Hat JBoss BRMS. Red Hat worked together with TrueMove for the convergent order management project to define business rules related to promotion and service bundling. This allows both IT and business to change and test the rules quickly whenever new products are launched.

Benefits:

Red Hat JBoss Data Grid improves response time

A system bottleneck was discovered through engagement in the billing system upgrade, and while not constant, the bottleneck impacted overall performance. JBoss Data Grid was deployed, improving average response time from 10 seconds to 50 milliseconds.

After rounds of evaluation and testing, True bought a JBoss Data Grid subscription and engaged Red Hat Consulting to implement in-memory caching to reduce the interaction between the integration layer and billing. Red Hat JBoss Data Grid will also be used to cache frequently accessed information such as product catalog, promotions, and discount information.

To get the most out of enterprise open source offerings from Red Hat, True also adopted Red Hat Enterprise Linux® and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as the standard operating system and virtualization platform for JBoss servers. Red Hat solutions now run on about 20 HP Intel Xeon processor based servers in both physical and virtualized mode.

Largest pool of Red Hat certified professionals

True is a firm believer in equipping its staff with the necessary skills and knowledge they need to deliver outstanding telecommunications innovation. Its developers and administrators attended JBoss and Red Hat training courses and achieved certification and, as a result, True now has the largest pool of Red Hat-certified professionals in Thailand.

Red Hat Consulting played a pivotal role in the landing and expansion of Red Hat technologies in True. Red Hat consultants were actively engaged from the pilot project through the rest of the implementation.

“Through our engagement, we have learned to trust Red Hat consultants, who have provided invaluable insights in our deployment of Red Hat solutions,” said Manoj Chansuthirangkool, assistant director, Implementation and Integration Management, Information Technology, True.

Lower TCO and higher success rate with Red Hat

Switching to the open standards-based architecture of Red Hat middleware and Red Hat technologies on Intel Xeon based servers has benefited True in many ways. The move from a proprietary platform and associated software licensing fees has lowered total cost of ownership. True achieved significant savings in software acquisition cost by choosing Red Hat JBoss middleware. With Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, there was an estimated saving of 85%, when com- pared to deploying a WebSphere Application Server ND; up to 14 times in savings on Red Hat JBoss SOA Platform as compared to WebSphere Message Broker, and another estimated 30 times savings with Red Hat JBoss BRMS, as compared to WebSphere Operational Decision Management1.

Another major benefit is lower project risk by engaging directly with Red Hat Services. “This direct engagement not only reduces the overall project risk but also increases the success rate,” said Manoj Chansuthirangkool, assistant director, Implementation and Integration Management, Information Technology, True.

“The Red Hat subscription model has generated a lot of savings in our IT budget, while maintaining the same level of performance and security. These savings are channeled to the better utilization of resources such as training and consultancy,” added Manoj.

Plan to expand adoption across companies

True plans to expand its use of Red Hat and Red Hat middleware technologies across its companies, particularly as the organization moves forward to adopt TM Forum Frameworx to standardize their business processes and information.

“Red Hat and its enterprise middleware offerings will play a strategic role as we embark on an enterprise-wide architecture refresh to standardize and establish our reference architecture” said Bunjert Thungvarathum, deputy director, Customer Care and Billing, Information Technology, True.

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