Best Overall DevOps Project – Communication Sector: Sandhata in partnership with Vodafone UK

Sandhata in partnership with Vodafone UK has been selected as a finalist in the DevOps Industry Awards 2019 for Best Overall DevOps Project in the communication sector. After 48 hours of tough debate and expert analysis, a team of 12 independent judges reached their final conclusions. Such was the quality of the entries that it was down to the line, with the final decisions on which teams and projects should be given the awards, proving particularly tough. With all votes now cast – it’s time to look forward to the awards night itself!

A bit about the DevOps transformation project 

Vodafone UK middleware backbone, based on TIBCO technology, handling hundreds of million messages per day and less than one second response time for critical services, has gone through a release and deploy transformation. The middleware layer is at the very heart of Vodafone’s servicing capability hosting hundreds of business-critical services which were historically governed by labour-intensive manual controls. Optimisation initiatives across Vodafone culture, technology, process and governance and resulted in exceptional outcomes of business value.


  • This story is about how the Vodafone Integration team and Sandhata worked together to deliver the primary business outcome “Accelerating predictable Middleware Change”.
  • The transformation project empowered the delivery engineers to drive middleware releases with significantly reduced dependencies on functional teams and significantly increased the efficiency of releases reducing the weeks of effort to days or hours..
  • A framework design and deployed which resulted in Environment availability increasing by 99.9% and deployment defects reduced by 99.9%. The business value and savings is hard to quantify but is believed to have given Vodafone UK a very good return on investment.
  • The transformation project has enabled the integration middleware platforms to perform Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment, which has been one of the most complex use cases due to the complexity of the technology, breadth of interface both front and back end, and limited commercial coverage for tooling leveraging open source.
  • Sandhata’s DevOps experts worked with the Vodafone architects, Leads, engineers and operations teams in implementation and adoption of the technology, processes, controls and governance, which were critical to middleware delivery efficiency and quality.


The Bigger Picture

Middleware deployments are complex, expensive, time-consuming and resource-intensive.

It is often one of the slowest moving parts of the Business Change Value Stream and this is because it is the highly critical backbone of the business.

Vodafone’s middleware technology provides

  • Millions of messages processed every day
  • Thousands of orders per day
  • Hundreds of Services hosted across data centres
  • Hundreds of Clients and backend integrated
  • It is a focal technology point of the organization and likewise is highly governed due to risk criticality.

From our experience, the majority of organisations face challenges within the delivery process. This is mainly due to:

  • Sheer volume of front and backend processes
  • Environment availability and cost
  • Manual effort required for configuring, deploying and validating the change
  • Complexity in introducing fully automated software delivery pipelines
  • Complexity in the integration of multiple front and back endpoints with the CI/CD pipeline

The outcome is often weeks and months of time required to deliver production releases.


The Solution

  • Automation framework allows the engineer to deliver and validate features without manual intervention.
  • This solution enables the team to be more self-sufficient with highly available environments configured with a pre-defined baseline and sanity test without dependencies.
  • The framework provides exceptional integrity of software IP with all configurations under strict change control.
  • This framework is an integrator for an automated integration test framework inclusive of a service virtualization strategy, the next step in our journey.
  • It enables shift left testing with the benefits that brings and has reduced production defects by 99.9%. This has been achieved by removing the dependencies on the upstream systems
  • This solution is critical to CI/CD capability as it removes all manual process and handoffs
  • This framework provides better visibility and auditability which removes the necessity for the developers to manually evidence.
  • Software delivery is optimized as it enables intuitive troubleshooting through smart logging & audit.
  • This solution is key to enable agile practices within middleware as it supports a lean approach, enhanced automation and collaboration between dev and test.
  • This solution supports multiple testing phases, i.e. Unit Test, Link test, Integration Test, UAT test and Staging with maximum reusability of resources



Why the project was shortlisted to win a DevOps Industry award

Innovation is Key to today’s telco organization

Fostering creativity and innovation requires time for software engineers to think about the next customer experience, and to satisfy their curiosity. Software Engineers are the artists of an organisation who create beautiful customer experiences from a blank canvas. A critical factor in an organisations success is its ability to adapt to achieve or maintain its position as the market leader. It’s the ability to create space for those artists to create our future experiences is a big factor in this ambition. The collaboration between Sandhata and Vodafone UK is working hard to free up space for smart thinkers to build Vodafone customers next experience.


Full case study to follow

Meet Sandy, the DevOps brain!

We would like you to meet Sandy, the DevOps brain! Sandy will guide you along your quest to bring DevOps to the mainframe!

Watch the video to see how Sandy can help your business achieve successful mainframe DevOps!

The Mainframe is at the heart of many organisations. It is essential for ensuring an effective front-end service layer. However, the entire service layer, and the batch systems, need to be managed in a more agile way.

Whilst software on the mainframe has some level of automated promotions and releases, most of the tools work in an autonomous way and are not integrated with each other. This leaves many areas requiring manual processes with the potential of lengthy release processes and lengthy and expensive quality assurance processes.

Other platforms embraced DevOps to innovate and bring changes to market more quickly. However, DevOps is still relatively new in the mainframe ecosystem. Traditionally, mainframes have limited release cycles, limited automation capabilities, and limits on build and deployment.

Sandhata wins Best Overall Testing Project at TESTA 2018

The DevOps., Integration and IT transformation specialist, Sandhata is delighted to announce its joint entry with RBS won ‘Best Overall Testing Project – Finance’ at The European Software Testing Awards 2018.

Now in its sixth year, The European Software Testing Awards (TESTA) celebrates companies and individuals who have accomplished significant achievements in the software testing and quality assurance market.

Sandhata, in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, has been recognised by TESTA for its innovative testing project ‘Accelerating Mainframe Change’ delivered by the RBS engineering team and Sandhata.

The judging criteria was rigorous and included:

  • Evidence of working closely with stakeholders to deliver the project on time and within budget.
  • Demonstration of a successful software testing project utilising a best practice method/technique.
  • Verification of project goals, importance, achievements and successful results.
  • Evidence and evaluation of overcoming project challenges/obstacles.
  • Detailed discussion around project methodology and justification of resource choices.
  • Evidence of commitment to industry best practices and standards.

The team were given six weeks to prove a working solution for automated testing of mainframe batch systems. They were able to empower test engineers to drive mainframe testing with an average of 90% savings in execution, time and effort; enabled mainframe platforms to perform continuous testing; and assisted engineers and operations teams in the realignment of processes, controls and governance.

Commenting on the award, Sandhata’s CEO, Gary Thornhill said:

“I am delighted that this joint entry with RBS received the recognition it deserves. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work from a highly capable, talented team. RBS deserve much credit for adopting a holistic approach to testing, regardless of platform.

Testing within a mainframe environment is characterised by manual testing. However, an automated testing solution is critical for big software development projects. This is seen as being too expensive or too complex. The project team helped break down conventional thinking delivering a solution within an incredibly short timescale. This project helps demonstrate what is possible within a mainframe environment and that these projects need not be overly long or expensive.”

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