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Vivo chooses Bull’s critical infrastructure solution to support its mobile core business services

Posted on 15 March 2013 by Pierre Picard

Vivo has adopted a bullion®-based infrastructure server solution from Bull aimed at increasing the scalability, availability and performance of its critical NGIN (Next-Generation Intelligent Network) core system.

The telecommunications market in Brazil is extremely dynamic and aggressive, and Telefônica-Vivo is a leader in this market according to all indicators. In May 2012, the operator celebrated a milestone, surpassing the 90 million mark for subscriptions including fixed, mobile, broadband and pay TV services.

One of the most important challenges for Vivo during 2012 has been to manage the convergence of its fixed/mobile operations – it is in the midst of integrating two very large operations – in order to achieve the efficiency gains expected as a result of this merger, and also to achieve growth based on mobile broadband. The best example of this is the explosion of popular mobile broadband in Brazil.

“So what is the role of information technology in this context? It is leading this transformation, through the implementation of new products and services, which help to enhance Telefônica-Vivo’s image as an innovator in this market and increase its strong position,” says Christiane Edington, CIO of Telefônica-Vivo Brazil. “The implementation of convergent projects to build the future of the organization – together with the automation and simplification of processes which ensure a better customer experience with the company – will bring us significant efficiency improvements.”

Challenges and solutions

Vivo operates one of the largest Data Centers in Latin America, with strong, very mature and skilled IT teams. Year on year, it has been making significant investments in IT products and services to reinforce its IT operations.

Among Vivo’s most mission-critical IT systems is its Next-Generation Intelligent Network (NGIN), which supports pre-paid mobile phone services (currently representing almost 80% of its customer base). NGIN is basically divided into two cells known as ‘NGIN Core’ – which is directly linked to the communication and telephony system itself, which manages and authorizes calls based on available credit and credit loading – and ‘NGIN Care’, which manages interfaces with retail systems, call centers, resellers and customer service. For Vivo, the availability of this system is critical for its revenue and image, which is why the company has been investing in the system over the long term, and uses the best technologies and processes that offer resilience, performance and high-availability.

The NGIN Core system needed to expand its processing power, which led the company to issue an invitation to tender for a new server solution that could bring more scalability, performance and availability to its environment while being compatible with the various components of its IT infrastructure, in order to avoid any disruption.

After extensive research and the establishment of certain parameters for the project – such as software compatibility, optimization of the environment, availability, capacity, market, portability, scalability and performance – Vivo decided to adopt Bull’s bullion mission-critical servers, running RedHat Enterprise Linux OS.

“We need to rely on partners who are committed and able to support us in this journey to the highest level of quality. We have been working with Bull for many years on our business applications, notably billing, fraud management and mediation. With the purchase of bullion servers, we have reached a whole new level. bullion servers turned out to be a very appropriate solution when compared with other high-availability servers in the market,” adds Christiane Edington.

The new bullion RedHat solution has been successfully deployed into production in the most critical sites, delivering potential for growth of up to 80%, superior performance and reliability. Key additional benefits include footprint optimization, energy consumption and heat dissipation, thanks to bullion’s unmatched form factor and energy efficiency. Besides the high scalability, performance and availability of its bullion servers, Bull also provides Vivo with expert professional services and mainframe know-how, now being applied to these Intel x86®-based servers.

Results

According to Vivo’s own data, the end-to-end system monitoring of the system (including all components between users and infrastructure, communication links, network elements, applications, etc.) has shown that the availability rate and performance of NGIN Core have reached the expected levels for such a relevant platform, after the implementation of the bullion servers. Vivo also states that the  manageability, performance and expansion capacity have increased, both for servers and its database environment.

Vivo has found Bull a highly committed partner, with its single point of contact for both servers and the operational system environment, and the technical knowledge and efficiency of its teams when it comes to designing and supporting this innovative solution.

“This is a very important project for Telefônica-Vivo, as well as for Bull, because it strengthens our trust and partnership, as these servers are used for our pre-paid mobile phone application; which is a mission-critical system and the most vital application in our organization for processing customer calls in real time,” concludes Christiane Edington.

The next step for Vivo is to keep on investing in other sites, to rejuvenate technology, improve TCO and ensure maximum availability and the highest levels of performance.

Other Bull’s experience at VIVO
According Christiane Edington, Bull has been working on developing services for both fixed and mobile operations at VIVO for the past ten years or more, including several system implementation and integration projects such as billing, interconnection and mediation, provisioning systems, a software factory, a sales and provisioning system provided ‘as a service’ for the workstation plus a broadband bundled SLA-based offering for Vivo’s small and medium enterprise market. In addition, Bull has worked on IT infrastructure projects in the company’s Data Center, such as equipment relocation and multi-vendor support and maintenance

 

Vivo key figures
Annual net revenue > €13 billion
More than 71 million mobile subscribers
More than 11 million fixed subscribers
3G coverage in over 2,500 towns and cities
69% market share of fixed access in São Paulo state
29% share of the mobile market in Brazil

More information : http://www.bull.com/bullion/

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