Heathrow, the UK’s largest transportation provider, was undergoing a technology transformation that included transitioning from Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) to Oracle ERP and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). As part of the move to the cloud, they wanted to incorporate automation up front, as the IT team had been using manual processes to manage their infrastructure, migration of code, configurations and other changes across environments. FlexDeploy was the automation solution of choice, recommended by Heathrow’s delivery partner Capgemini.
Heathrow was using EBS in a private cloud, which required labor-intensive and manual processes, often riddled with errors. The team was building, testing and managing scripts to support their technology landscape, yet needed to focus on development and delivery of solutions to customer. Their processes were neither predictable nor repeatable—not to mention costly. Maintaining the solution when there were quarterly updates or changes, or when something needed to be pathed, involved significant overhead. Even a small change required a great deal of effort. Heathrow needed a fully automated solution that supported Oracle Integration Cloud, Oracle APEX, Oracle Database, and Infrastructure as code, and followed their philosophy of “buy not build.”
Heathrow looked at several automation options, including Azure DevOps, a platform used by other teams within the business. However, this option would have required creating, testing and maintaining scripts. They also considered the Oracle DevOps solution and a custom-built tool using Azure and PowerShell, a task automation and configuration management program from Microsoft. These options had shortcomings, which caused Heathrow to look at more mature solutions.
Heathrow worked with their delivery partner, Capgemini, to identify solutions. After successfully using FlexDeploy internally and with a handful of clients, Capgemini’s team recommended FlexDeploy. With an architecture principle of buy not build, Heathrow found that FlexDeploy checked all the boxes for fully automated deployment of code, including native support for OIC, APEX, Database and Infrastructure as code—repeatable processes and responsiveness to business needs.
Since implementing FlexDeploy, Heathrow has found benefits and efficiencies across their development, deployment and management lifecycle. With the attitude of “whatever can be automated will be automated,” they created end-to-end automated processes. FlexDeploy allowed the team to configure their processes with out-of-the-box capabilities without having to write (and subsequently test/update/maintain) any scripts.
In addition, Heathrow created a workflow in which the cloud infrastructure could be turned on or off overnight or over the weekend with just the click of a button when they weren’t in day-to-day use. This not only empowers users, but also saves Heathrow a considerable amount of money.
Deliveries have also seen a significant improvement. Previously, releases would take significant time and required lengthy outages, which carried substantial overhead. Where a release used to take the team a day to turn around, with FlexDeploy, they’re deploying within hours and the deployments are consistent. Outage windows have also been significantly reduced, limiting the impact to the business.
FlexDeploy’s toolchain integration and extensibility provided Heathrow with yet another win. The team has already integrated FlexDeploy with Azure DevOps Git for source control and Azure Key Vault to manage secrets and credentials. They are currently looking at integration between FlexDeploy and Azure DevOps Boards. This allows Heathrow to create a comprehensive solution, and provides better visibility, communication and orchestration across the development and delivery lifecycle.