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Case study

Leading Hong Kong telco expands to new industries with containers

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HKT, a subsidiary of PCCW and Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider and a leading innovator, wanted to introduce new customer-facing platforms for travel, insurance, and e-commerce services. A long-time Red Hat customer, the company used Red Hat OpenShift—as well as continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) and DevOps approaches—to launch and support its new services at scale. With this efficient, flexible IT foundation, HKT can bring new services to market four times faster, accommodate changing demand, and more easily add new merchants to its e-commerce platform.

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Benefits

  • Reduced time to market for new services from four weeks to one week, with scalability to accommodate traffic spikes
  • Simplified onboarding of new third-party merchants to e-commerce portal
  • Gained experience to operate new platform independently with expert, hands-on training

Speeding and scaling new services

HKT is the premier telecommunications service provider and a leading innovator in Hong Kong. HKT provides a wide range of services, including fixed-line, broadband, mobile, media entertainment, and enterprise solutions.

HKT formed a team to explore new technologies that would speed time to market and creation of software capabilities. To accomplish this agility, the service provider needed to create a scalable, easy-to-use development environment. 

“Many of our services experience traffic shifts relating to seasonal and promotional offers, and traditional, legacy technologies lacked the flexibility to cost-effectively adjust resources according to demand,” said Eric Wong, Senior Vice President of Business Technology Unit, HKT.

Building a responsive development environment

As a long-time user of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, HKT decided to use Red Hat OpenShift as the foundation of its new service development environment. “We looked at a number of options, but our previous experience with Red Hat gave us confidence that Red Hat OpenShift would be the best solution for us,” said Eric.

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform provides an on-premise Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that seamlessly integrates with HKT’s ePay online payment gateway. Based on Kubernetes, OpenShift creates a unified foundation for future cloud adoption and simplifies management with robust built-in automation capabilities

After initially using Red Hat OpenShift to develop HKT’s Security Information and Events Management (SIEM) platform, the service provider expanded its Red Hat OpenShift  environment to support new customer-facing service portals for travel, insurance, and e-commerce. HKT’s team worked with Red Hat Consulting to install Red Hat OpenShift and establish a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) approach that ensured the new services were running in production in only a few months.

Meeting customer, partner, and market demands faster

Gained scalability to meet demand four times faster

With agile processes and more effective resource allocation—such as faster provisioning than its previous virtual machine (VM)-based approach—HKT can now introduce new products and services faster than before: in one week, rather than four.

“In the past, we had to be careful with sizing and would build virtual machines to prepare, even if there was no traffic,” said Eric. “Red Hat OpenShift, paired with CI/CD and DevOps, helps our developers provision and use resources more efficiently to respond to customer needs.”

With potentially hundreds of thousands of transactions daily, HKT needs to support shifting, growing demand—particularly when new products, such as the latest mobile devices, are launched. 

“Traffic can increase dramatically depending on the season or campaign. With infrastructure based on Red Hat software, we can ensure high traffic doesn’t negatively affect our customer experience,” said Eric. “Automatic scaling in Red Hat OpenShift saves us a lot of effort and expense when responding to demand highs and lows.”

Simplified onboarding for new merchants

A significant part of HKT’s e-commerce site depends on third-party vendors, who need access to easy-to-use tools to securely update their product catalogs on the site without specialist technical knowledge. Role-based access capabilities through Red Hat OpenShift provide access to these tools while protecting confidential customer and business information.

“We want to add commercial partners to allow customers to make purchases beyond our own catalog,” said Eric. “With Red Hat OpenShift, merchants can now upload product changes quickly and independently.”

Improved knowledge with expert training

During the start of the project, HKT worked closely with Red Hat Consulting—but soon used new skills gained from Red Hat OpenShift administration and configuration instruction provided by Red Hat Training to manage the new environment independently.

“The Red Hat services team helped us develop our understanding of the new solutions,” said Eric. “They were always happy to come on-site to demonstrate and customize our platform, as well as provide technical documentation.”

Expanding to the cloud

With the successful launch of its new insurance, travel, and e-commerce portals on Red Hat OpenShift, HKT is now exploring other areas where Red Hat technology might provide performance and feature improvements. Additionally, the service provider is considering adopting Red Hat Application Services (formerly Red Hat Middleware) to support creation of an application programming interface (API) gateway and an evolution to a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

“Migrating to a hybrid cloud will release resources to be redeployed elsewhere without compromising availability, and API technology has the potential to transform how we develop applications,” said Eric. “We have been delighted with the progress made with Red Hat and have found the team very helpful, professional, and responsive. We look forward to continuing this profitable partnership.”

About HKT Limited

HKT (SEHK: 6823) is Hong Kong's premier telecommunications service provider and leading operator in fixed-line, broadband, and mobile communication services. It meets the needs of the Hong Kong public and local and international businesses with a wide range of services, including local telephony, local data and broadband, international telecommunications, mobile, enterprise solutions, and other telecommunications businesses, such as customer premises equipment sales, outsourcing, consulting, and contact centers. 

HKT is the first local mobile operator to launch a true 5G network in Hong Kong with differentiated value-added services. Backed by its substantial holding of 5G spectrum across all bands and a robust and extensive fiber backhaul infrastructure, HKT is committed to providing comprehensive 5G network coverage across the city.

HKT delivers end-to-end integrated solutions employing emerging technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate the digital transformation of enterprises and contribute to Hong Kong's development into a smart city.

Riding on its massive loyal customer base, HKT has also built a digital ecosystem integrating its loyalty program, e-commerce, travel, insurance, FinTech and HealthTech services. The ecosystem deepens HKT’s relationship with its customers thereby enhancing customer retention and engagement.

 

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