Vumatel has grown in significance in the fibre to the home sector. To manage the scale of growth it was experiencing it needed to be forward-facing and innovative in the way it tackled challenges. Vumatel has a start-up mentality in the way it brings technologies to market and are interested in using techniques and methodologies that give them agility in its dealings with its customers, internal and external.
An initial challenge was faced in this project was that at the time Vumatel used very few if any traditional Microsoft technologies and very much embraced open-source technologies. As such there was a misinformed inclination to view Microsoft skeptically when it comes to running open source workloads in the cloud. Despite the initial skepticism Vumatel was happy to try Azure on Tangent’s recommendation. While some of the services used were early-stage releases there were some teething problems in their deployment on Azure. Through Tangent Solutions’ close relationship with Microsoft these were quickly stabilized, and to date, there have not been any production issues due to the stability of the resources deployed on Azure.
HOW WE HELPED
Tangent Solutions assisted Vumatel in migrating their workloads into the cloud and chose to use Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes offering, AKS, as the container orchestration framework. At the same time Tangent Solutions helped build up their microservices architecture using Python. This API layer was needed to comply with the TM Forum standards. The TM Forum Framework is a suite of best practices and standards that provides the blueprint for effective, efficient business operations for the telecoms industry. Vumatel highly values agility and as such utilized Azure DevOps to manage their pipelines and CI/CD. Tangent Solutions also created a field services mobile application using Xamarin Forms. This mobile app benefits both the company and its installers throughout the whole country. It enables installers to see their day to day schedule from Vumatel, payments from customers and indicates to the relevant installer that the fibre to the home which he has just installed is connected and operating. Being able to get access to this information onsite reduces the amount of times installers need to visit the site of an installation significantly reducing friction with the end customer.
Vumatel embraced the Cloud enabled their execution with a DevOps culture. Using CI/CD pipelines Vumatel can rapidly deploy workloads and microservices into their different environments. Vumatel’s IT department is now able to deliver the agility that an innovation focused business like Vumatel demands. The architecture put into place is Highly Available, ensuring Vumatel’s mission critical workloads are always available and that business will always be able to operate uninterrupted. To achieve this level of complexity and a highly reliable disaster recovery plan on-premise would be significantly more expensive and mostly likely not as dependable as deploying on Azure. Due to the ISP agnosticism of the mobile app functionality used by the Vumatel installers, the company is not restricted to installing fibre for just one specific ISP but can also service almost all ISP companies in South Africa.
The field services mobile application leverages the microservices API layer hosted in Azure and provides a good example of the importance of a well architected and broadly consumable API. The ability for the mobile app and other internal and external facing application to consume the API is a good example of an omnichannel strategy can be enabled from a bottom-up execution. The API service layer has become central to operations at Vumatel and thus is it is essential it runs on the public cloud for performance and reliability. Moving to the Azure Cloud has enabled Vumatel to be more agile in its business operations, putting the company on a sound footing to continue growing as a company.