Swisscom, a leading telco and IT services provider in Switzerland, had a clear vision: simplify its internal IT infrastructure. So several years ago, the telco mapped a cloud strategy to consolidate IT functions onto one platform, then enlisted Red Hat to help it build a secure, flexible, and unified foundation using open source technology and open standards. The result? A cloud environment based on OpenStack that’s accelerating development and delivery of new services for customers, boosting revenue and advancing innovation.
The Säntis transmitter, operated by Swisscom.
Already, a solution provider for the hospitality sector is developing its latest hotel door access management applications on the Swisscom Application Cloud. And for its residential customers, Swisscom has launched MyCloud, a Dropbox-style app that offers unlimited storage. This new solution runs on Swisscom’s PaaS, supported by Red Hat OpenStack Platform.
Swisscom’s cloud platform dovetails nicely with the telco’s fundamental strategies for success: always be available for customers, take advantage of internet-based protocols, and scale globally to compete worldwide. The telco’s early bet on cloud was also a way to avoid lock-in of traditional vendor solutions. “We wanted the flexibility to switch vendors if we needed or develop our own solution,” Marco Hochstrasser, head of cloud platform development at Swisscom, said in the Red Hat case study detailing Swisscom’s standards-based, OpenStack cloud.
Its cloud strategy is also about better managing and securely storing the increased amounts of data the company was accruing. “Data is exploding, both from enterprise and consumer customers,” Swisscom’s VP of cloud Stephan Massalt pointed out in the case study. “It was clear we needed to provide a secure place to store this data.”
Swisscom says it chose Red Hat not only for its standard, open source solutions, but also because it has a strong ecosystem of partners. “We wanted partners we could integrate into the system and the means to find the best components to create our solution.”
Red Hat Consulting worked with Swisscom to deploy deployed Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Enterprise Linux and create an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) for simplifying its cloud environment into one platform. Red Hat Virtualization was chosen so OpenStack could be deployed virtually, rather than on bare metal, making adding or integrating new components easier, even those from partners as part of Red Hat’s broader ecosystem.
Using this elastic IaaS OpenStack foundation from Red Hat, Swisscom launched its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering. Together, these as-a-service offerings form the company’s application cloud, and help Swisscom achieve faster, more agile development and easily scale applications in response to customer demand.
“We can easily scale up when we see more load coming and fully automate deployments, with almost no downtime when we make changes in production,” Hochstrasser said in the case study. “And we can host different workloads from different customers on the same platform, in just one cluster.”
In addition, Swisscom’s PaaS offering, supported by the company’s IaaS based on Red Hat OpenStack Platform, lets the company provide self-service capabilities to its customers.
The very nature of open source development – and Red Hat’s commitment to its ongoing development and involvement in open source communities – offers additional advantages.
“Red Hat Consulting has proved to be invaluable,” said Hochstrasser. “We could go back to the community version of OpenStack in the future if we wanted to, even though that’s unlikely at this stage. It’s reassuring to strengthen our ability to maintain a cloud platform, because that ability allows you to be more flexible and adapt to business changes.”
Another benefit to the new cloud platform: improved collaboration and strong DevOps. Hochstrasser said in the case study that the Red Hat solution has helped the company become more collaborative and embrace a DevOps philosophy. With assistance from Red Hat Consulting, Swisscom’s teams created the structures and resources necessary for DevOps, such as management buy-in.
Do read the entire Swisscom story of its new cloud environment and its partnership with Red Hat. And let us know about your own open source, cloud-based success stories in the comments section below.