Sunrise Communications cuts time to market by 75% with Red Hat OpenShift

Sunrise Communications, a Swiss provider of telecommunications and internet services, sought to enhance its focus on innovative digital services with a faster, more responsive development approach. Using Red Hat OpenShift, supported by Red Hat Runtimes, the company created a container- and microservices-based infrastructure that has helped reduce time to market by 75%. Supported by Red Hat Consulting, Sunrise also shifted to an agile approach that helps the company take advantage of more iterative development to respond to new, growing business demands, such as the introduction of 5G.

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  • Reduced service time to market by 75% 
  • Improved web application resource use by 50%
  • Reduced request fulfillment time by 92% with agile approach
  • Gained experience with OpenShift and containers, supported by technology experts

Improving customer engagement with valuable digital services

Sunrise Communications is Switzerland’s leading non-state provider of telecommunications, television, and broadband internet services. The group sees excellent, customer-centric service as strategic to its success, along with product innovation and information and communications technology (ICT) convergence. 

Sunrise has focused its growth efforts on expanding new services to current customers, such as the addition of 5G and extended fiber internet services to its portfolio. A shift to digital, mobile services is key to engaging customers effectively, as customers increasingly desire self service over traditional, physical retail experiences. Additionally, integrating third-party services will help the company add value to its offerings.

To build digital applications more efficiently and securely integrate with partners and acquisitions, Sunrise sought to adopt an iterative, microservices-based IT approach supported by container technology.

“It is crucial to stay relevant in this market, and that means continuing to develop new services, quickly,” said Luca Broggio, Head of Applications Operations, Sunrise Communications. “When we decided to use containers to do that, we knew we would need support to make the most of this new technology.” 

Sunrise Communications tackles tough business problems with Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Runtimes 

Sunrise decided to adopt Red Hat OpenShift—an enterprise Kubernetes platform—as the foundation of its digital-centric IT approach. The company had used Red Hat technology successfully in the past.

“We appreciate Red Hat’s ability to integrate old and new approaches, especially for a project using new technologies,” said Broggio. “Red Hat’s technology is clearly made by IT people who are focused on bringing benefits to business operations. Red Hat OpenShift offered the powerful functionality we needed to take an important business step.”

Sunrise also implemented Red Hat Runtimes, a set of products, tools, and components that helps organizations containerize applications and reliably transfer data between new and existing applications through a microservices-based architecture and modern development approaches. As part of this solution, the company has adopted Red Hat JBoss® Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat AMQ Streams, and Red Hat’s single sign-on (SSO) technology, as well as the Red Hat builds of Quarkus and OpenJDK

In addition, Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation (formerly Red Hat Container Storage) provides software-defined application storage—as well as registry, logging, and metrics—integrated with and optimized to run anywhere OpenShift does.

After a test deployment, Sunrise has now migrated several critical, customer-facing applications on Red Hat OpenShift, including the MySunrise service management app—a solution that lets customers view and pay bills, manage subscriptions and options, update information, check local service speeds, and more—and the Sunrise Business Portal, where business customers can manage their communications, mobile, and, internet services.

“We’re also looking at certain legacy applications and how to break elements of them into containers and microservices,” said Broggio.

Accelerating delivery to improve customer—and team—experience

Reduced time to market by 75% by simplifying configuration and management

By standardizing the creation of new applications using microservices in Red Hat OpenShift, Sunrise has simplified configuration and management processes, leading to 75% faster time to market.

A single, central team now manages its application platform, including separate development and production environments. As a result, developers can focus on their work, rather than the underlying infrastructure—and confidently transition code from test to production.

“Thanks to Red Hat, with simpler, more efficient processes, we can move faster and find new ways to accelerate innovation and improvements to our customer experience,” said Elmar Grasser, CTO of Sunrise Communications.

Improved web application resource use by 50%

Moving its web applications and portals to a container- and microservices-based environment using Red Hat OpenShift has helped Sunrise break its monolithic applications into smaller, more modular components. 

As a result, these applications use half as many resources, compared to the company’s previous server-based approach. This improvement has led to better performance — and less time spent on provisioning, configuration, and troubleshooting.

Reduced internal project delivery time by 92% with agile approach

Working with Red Consulting, Sunrise’s IT teams have adopted an agile, iterative work approach, with a foundation of modular, flexible container technology. Mirroring the modular nature of its microservices-based infrastructure, teams now work in iterative, three-week blocks—or sprints—and complete daily stand-up meetings where progress is shared between business stakeholders and developers.  

Beyond customer-facing improvements, this new approach helps teams respond to internal business requests faster. As a result, projects can now be delivered 92% faster.

“In response to COVID-19, for instance, projects are being revised and we’re really focusing on our digital presence,” said Broggio. “We need to be ready to shift direction at any time. Working with Red Hat OpenShift helps us use the SAFe [Scaled Agile Framework] methodology to adapt to change quickly.” 

Gained container knowledge with expert support

Collaborating with Red Hat’s technology experts has helped Sunrise’s teams effectively adopt  container technology and agile work approaches. The company engaged Red Hat Training to provide on-site instruction in OpenShift administration, as well as a container adoption workshop and guidance on infrastructure and application migration.

Additional customer workshops and training sessions with Red Hat Consulting have helped Sunrise learn how to use Red Hat’s hybrid cloud technologies to successfully address business needs.

“Going into this project, we had a high-level view of containers, but Red Hat Consulting helped us develop a reusable blueprint for application development to support this structural change,” said Broggio.

Growing container success with move to cloud

The success of its initial Red Hat OpenShift deployment has prompted other teams at Sunrise to consider adopting the technology. To meet this growing demand, the company is exploring solutions to move the environment from bare metal to the cloud, as well as evaluating upgrading to Red Hat OpenShift 4.

“As we continue to get more requests, moving to the cloud will help us accommodate growing business demand,” said Broggio. 

In addition to scaling the platform, Sunrise plans to continue exploring new Red Hat technology capabilities to continue improving its agile, responsive IT.

“The first year was spent learning OpenShift, and 2020 has been about using it. Next year will be about exploring all the possibilities,” said Broggio. “Our microservices and containerization approach gives us the responsiveness our business needs.”

About Sunrise Communications 

Sunrise Communications is Switzerland’s largest private non-state-controlled telecoms company. It provides fixed and mobile telephony, alongside broadband and TV services. It goes to market under the Sunrise and Yallo brands, serving distinct customer segments.

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