The Stack

Vodafone to migrate core systems to Oracle Cloud — in its own DCs

Image credit: Vodafone

Vodafone has agreed a multi-year deal with Oracle that will see it migrate a large number of its systems to OCI Dedicated Region — Oracle’s “cloud-in-your-data-centre” managed service that puts the same tools, APIs,
and SLAs available in its public cloud on-premises under a pay-per-use model.

The move came as Oracle cut the entry cost for OCI Dedicated Region to “around $1 million a year for a typical customer”. The company is going after similar client needs to those AWS is trying to meet via its AWS Outposts on-premises managed service but touts a broader set of toolings including across security and claimed faster database workloads than AWS Outposts, on single-tenant, flexible on-premises infrastructure.

Scott Petty, Chief Digital & IT Officer, Vodafone told The Stack: “Vodafone operates in a multi-cloud environment. In recent years, we’ve seen the need for modernising our core transactional systems including the high-transaction BSS/OSS apps on the cloud. As we build more complex applications on the front-end, we required the same cloud capability for those core transactional systems in the backend as we did for front-end applications. 

However the migration of transactional systems to the public cloud can be costly, complex and can lead to performance or latency issues associated with maintaining some of those systems on-premises” he added by email: “By deploying OCI Dedicated Region, we will have a full public cloud capability in our own data centres and network. This gives us the flexibility to modernize, manage and automate critical systems while maintaining performance, security and compliance requirements – and doing so more cost-effectively.”

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Oracle touts the OCI Dedicated Region offering as an option to swap workloads “previously deployed on expensive hardware” onto standardised servers offering “all public cloud services available in the Oracle Cloud including VMware Cloud, Autonomous Database, Container Engine for Kubernetes, Bare Metal Servers, Exadata Cloud Service… [with] data and customer operations completely isolated from the internet – where the control plane and data plane operations
remain on-premises” as it eyes customers with strict compliance and latency requirements.

Vodafone meanwhile has retail and service operations split across three broad business lines: Europe Consumer, Vodafone Business and Africa Consumer. Its biggest market is Germany. Whilst core connectivity products and services in fixed and mobile account for the majority of its revenue, the company has been expanding its portfolio into high return growth areas, such as digital services, the Internet of Things and financial services.

The company has been moving to standardise processes and infrastructure across a previous somewhat fragmented global footprint that has seen operating companies take different approaches to IT.

Oracle claims that “no other cloud provider delivers a fully featured public cloud with all of its cloud
services on-premises” — a claim backed by Gartner’s 2021 Magic Quadrant for cloud infrastructure and platforms services, which notes that “Oracle’s strategy of providing distributed cloud capabilities is unique compared to all other providers in this market. Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud allows enterprises to deploy a private cloud region on-premises with full parity of the public OCI regions and may be operated disconnected from the internet.

Gartner in the July 2021 report adds “Due to the composition of the OCI customer base, cloud-native capabilities are less likely to have been deeply exercised or widely adopted [and] most Gartner clients consider OCI mainly for lift and shift of Oracle-centric workloads rather than as a general-purpose provider for all workloads, despite OCI being capable of such. However, customers often expand their use cases over time…”

See also: Oracle’s “HeatWave” is going multicloud: How hot will things get for MySQL?

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