Coopservice, an Italian company specialising in designing, provisioning and managing integrated facility services for businesses and communities worldwide, struggled to manage its many custom-written applications. By standardising on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for application hosting and Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform for development, the company has accelerated delivery times, helped staff work more efficiently and reduced costs.
Complex IT environment lags as services business accelerates
Founded in 1991, Coopservice Group provides a wide range of outsourcing services to companies in Italy and worldwide — including cleaning, energy and facility management, security, logistics and staff leasing and recruiting. Its customers include hospitals, public and industrial groups, banks, airports and shopping centres.
To manage its specialised services and staff, Coopservice develops many of its own applications including human resources (HR), field management and workforce planning. However, as business accelerated and partner companies demanded more custom applications, the company found IT management increasingly difficult.
“We had many applications and we were using Red Hat and community versions of JBoss, IBM WebSphere, Apache Tomcat — every type of application server on the market. We had a very complex environment and didn’t have a standardised platform for our development teams,” said Gianfranco Scocco, CIO at Coopservice. “We also needed to move towards an agile methodology because we have to get many solutions into production in a very short time.”
Enterprise platforms unify application development approach
Coopservice researched available options — specifically container-based solutions — then chose Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform as its application hosting platform after completing a successful proof of concept (POC).
“We are always comfortable with open source technologies. We have a rapidly changing business and sometimes it’s difficult to allocate budgets. Open source can make it easier to manage project costs,” said Scocco. “We found that OpenShift met all our requirements and would be easy for us to move to because we already had experience with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”
The company expanded its use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, managed by Red Hat Satellite, as its operating system foundation for OpenShift. In addition, Coopservice decided to standardise new application development on Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP), with Red Hat Data Virtualization providing near real-time data integration.
“While we have different kinds of applications running on OpenShift such as PHP, JBoss EAP is always the first choice for new applications,” said Scocco. “We know the quality of Red Hat products. The stability and consistency between updates is key to delivering applications without problems. We see Red Hat as the only company who can support us in the use of the latest technologies with this level of performance.”
Coopservice worked closely with Red Hat Consulting to define its new system architecture, as well as successfully install and configure its new Red Hat platforms. “The Red Hat Consulting team have excellent technical skills that were apparent while the team worked closely with us to successfully roll out the new system,” said Scocco.
Standardised development environment speeds delivery
Greater efficiency with unified management
Coopservice has unified and streamlined IT management by standardising on OpenShift Container Platform. By running JBoss EAP and Red Hat Data Virtualization on OpenShift, the company has established a single environment for managing most of its applications, as well as all of its development and delivery processes. Data Virtualization allows multiple data sources to be treated as a single source, speeding data access for applications and streamlining data governance. In addition, using JBoss EAP on OpenShift Container Platform streamlines platform management and patching.
“We have many databases with many different kinds of information. With Red Hat Data Virtualization, we can give each application the access to the data it needs and enforce strict data governance without replicating the information in our IT systems,” said Scocco. “We can now keep just a single copy of each set of data such as payroll information. Running both Data Virtualization and JBoss EAP on OpenShift makes them more scalable as our application portfolio and data volume grow.”
Faster delivery with agile development
Using Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, JBoss EAP and Red Hat Data Virtualization helps Coopservice keep pace with business demands by taking advantage of more agile, adaptable development processes and resources.
“We have a standard language between the development and IT operations teams, so we don’t have to arrange or adapt a new technology every time we develop a new solution or service,” said Scocco.
With greater visibility and control over applications and processes, as well as integrated technologies from a single vendor, Coopservice helps both development and operations teams save time. As a result, the company can meet increasingly short time frames for production delivery.
“The new platform lets us respond faster to the demands of our business which is important because the time we have to put solutions into production and meet customer demand is getting shorter and shorter,” said Scocco.
Lower staffing costs
With a single platform built with flexible open source technology, Coopservice has improved its staffing costs through more efficient work.
“We create about 40 or 50 new services each year and for each new service we develop, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform saves us about 5-7 days of development work, adding up to 200-300 work days per year,” said Scocco. “Additionally, management is much easier for the two people in IT operations who manage the platform. They each save two or three hours per day. In addition to improving our delivery speed, saving our staff time helps us reduce costs.”
Openshift expansion supports cloud adoption
Coopservice plans to continue its OpenShift journey by expanding support and integration of the platform. The company is planning to create a new role for a service manager who will use OpenShift Container Platform to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and improve service delivery.
In addition, the company is evaluating using OpenShift Container Platform on Microsoft Azure to expand its use of cloud computing. “At the moment, we just use Azure as a resource if we need more computing power for a special project, but we are rapidly evolving to a hybrid cloud architecture,” said Scocco.
Coopservice is also working with Red Hat on developing a new digital platform architecture. “We have about 18,000 employees across Italy who we want to help work smarter with our company, so we’re working with Red Hat to develop a blueprint for a digital platform,” said Scocco. “We have a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years for IT to act as a digital business partner, working side by side with our business teams. Red Hat has the right technology and the right vision to support these efforts, which makes them the right partner for us.”