Success Stories

Familiar Toolsets Extract Maximum Value from the Move to Cloud

Climate change, the dangers of fossil fuel emissions and the arrival of viable, renewable energy alternatives are transforming the energy industry. Motor Oil, the Greek energy giant, powers transformation on the back of cloud elasticity, underpinned by Azure VMware Solution.

There are now fewer than 100,000 petrol stations in Europe. That number may seem high, but it has been falling steadily for years, driven by the widespread transition to electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles will change the way we fuel. Vehicles can be charged at home overnight, during the day at work, or while parked at the shopping center. To survive in this new market, fuel station owners are already reimagining the customer fueling experience. What will they do with these all-too-familiar plots of roadside real estate?

Motor Oil has a long history in the oil and gas sector, but its future will also be in renewables. Yet, the company is investing heavily in buying fuel station networks across Europe. Where others see decline, Motor Oil sees opportunity.

If charging requires customers to wait longer, fuel stations will become places where people are happy to linger. Places formerly associated with fumes and grease will become attractive destinations to eat and shop, local meeting points where people gather to work, bank or plan community projects. These new venues will create a diverse range of new revenue streams.

These are exciting times for Motor Oil. The business recognizes the old ways of working will rapidly change in this New World. Vasilis Anastasiou, the company’s director of IT operations and infrastructure, predicts this new business environment will demand a new approach to IT: “We need to grow and shrink our IT environment as required. We need automation, templates and consistency in our processes.”

Moving toward a hybrid and multi-cloud strategy

Motor Oil uses Azure VMware Solution to support its new ways of working. The solution eases the migration to a Microsoft Azure environment, enabling the business to tap into new levels of capacity and flexibility unlocked by the cloud.

Cloud allows elasticity,” Anastasiou says. “It creates standardization and helps us keep the lights on.”

These features matter. Over its 50-year history, Motor Oil has grown to include 82 operating companies with presence in eight countries. Bringing agility to this sprawling, dispersed enterprise is no simple task. Cloud promises to make fresh capacity available, delivering consistency and common standards.

Azure VMware Solution reduces the complexity of migrating to the cloud. As a dedicated, longtime user of VMware products, Motor Oil wanted to avoid refactoring as it moved certain workloads from its on-premises infrastructure to Azure. Azure VMware Solution allows Motor Oil to deploy VMware infrastructure from the Azure Portal and automate tasks to create and monitor VMware vSphere virtual machines using the VMware CLI or APIs.

With the business required to move more quickly than ever, familiarity and simplicity are essential. “We’re not wasting time learning new toolsets. When the business is focused on innovation and moving quickly, these savings matter,” Anastasiou says. “We’re now much more focused on continuous improvement and finding ways to support the business.”

Extracting maximum operational efficiency using multi-cloud solutions

The migration to Azure was planned and implemented with support from VMware Professional Services. This was the first large-scale use of Azure VMware Solution in the Mediterranean region. Anastasiou was comfortable with going in early on the technology, with crucial help from the Professional Services teams at VMware and Microsoft. “We worked with their fast-track teams, from the proof of concept through to migration. The pilot was instructive. It allowed us to fine-tune the infrastructure regarding high availability, disaster recovery and quality assurance.”

The focus now is on extracting maximum operational efficiency from the cloud migration. Anastasiou’s team is creating templates to accommodate current and planned business tasks. For example, Motor Oil recently acquired a chain of 27 fuel stations in Croatia. It took three months to onboard the acquisition’s systems. Anastasiou expects this time to fall to four weeks with the new template: “We want to create templates for other scenarios. It could be fuel stations; it could be wind farms or solar parks. The business sees that IT can help accelerate how we take on new opportunities.”

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