Tata Sky reduces TCO by 75% by migrating to Red Hat

Tata Sky’s critical Electronic Voucher Distribution (EVD) application was running on a proprietary middleware platform. Sustaining the platform was expensive, due to high license maintenance and support costs. As the existing platform reached end-of-life and needed a version upgrade, Tata Sky decided to replace the proprietary platform with Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

The migration helped Tata Sky to reduce the TCO of the EVD application by 75%. Performance also improved significantly and turnaround time for the recharging process was reduced. With this success, Tata Sky plans to use Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform as a standard middleware platform for all of its applications.

High licensing cost limited business growth

Incorporated in 2001, Tata Sky Limited is a joint venture between Tata Sons and 21st Century Fox. Tata Sky offers Indian viewers a world-class television viewing experience through its satellite television and interactive services.

Tata Sky developed EVD, an in-house application that allows customers to renew subscriptions for Direct-To-Home (DTH) satellite television service through text messages (SMS) and on a web portal.

“EVD is a critical application for us, as it handles more than 300,000 transactions per day and approximately 80% of the company’s revenue,” said N Ravishanker, chief information officer at Tata Sky.

The EVD application was running on a proprietary platform with proprietary middleware, Oracle 11g database, and Oracle Solaris 10 operating system. The underlying infrastructure was Oracle SPARC Enterprise M9000 server. Although the performance of the existing middleware platform was satisfactory for the current load, the company was challenged to support this platform in the long term due to high license maintenance and support costs.


When the existing middleware platform reached end-of-life and needed a version upgrade, Tata Sky had two options — either embark on a costly and labor-intensive upgrade of the existing middleware environment, or standardize on a new middleware platform. “While we were leaning toward deploy-ing a new solution, we had some very specific requirements,” said Ravishanker.

First, the new middleware platform should have a sustainable total cost of ownership (TCO) and should limit or eliminate disruptions to the EVD application. The platform also has to be scale to handle an increasing transaction load, estimated to exceed a million transactions per day in the next 3–5 years. Tata Sky wanted the platform to be flexible to allow business agility.

Making the right choice

After research and proof-of-concept testing, Tata Sky chose Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform as its new middleware solution and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for its underlying infrastructure. IBM Websphere solution was also evaluated at the initial stage.

Tata Sky was already using JBoss community solutions for some of its applications. “We completed the migration from a legacy JBoss community solution for our billing and SMS aggregator applications to JBoss Enterprise Middleware seamlessly,” said Ravishanker.

The company also replaced the Oracle SPARC enterprise server with x86-based commodity servers from IBM.

“JBoss Enterprise Application Platform met our business needs, as it is flexible to deploy, scalable, cost-effective, and provides enterprise class performance at par or even better than other propri-etary solutions,” said Ravishanker.

Streamlined migration process

The migration of EVD application from proprietary middleware platform to Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform went smoothly. Tata Sky extensively used Red Hat Professional Services during the migration, ensuring a smooth transition without any impact to existing operations.

“Red Hat Consulting has given us full support during the migration process in terms of effort estima-tion, application readiness testing, and issue resolution,” said Ravishanker.

The solution was implemented in 4 months and has shown exceptional stability.