Discovery: Taking the cloud-smart approach to global growth

Over three decades, Discovery has pursued a strategy of innovation and dynamic growth. The company’s unique business model—Shared-value insurance—allows Discovery to analyze the essential drivers of risk to help customers lead healthier, more secure lives. By analyzing myriad behavioral trends, Discovery provides information customers need through its innovative Vitality and other programs to understand their behavior and empower them to actively improve their well-being.

Discovery needs to move quickly on new opportunities, introduce new services, and scale flexibly in concert with customer demand. For most of its history, the company has harnessed data to enrich the products and services it offers to customers. More than a decade ago, recognizing that the ability to scale IT infrastructure would prove a crucial differentiator, Discovery embraced the transformative power of virtualization, enabling the company to center data at the core of its business.

As its innovative data-driven business model evolved, Discovery soon saw business growth outpace the capabilities of its digital infrastructure. By 2018, tasked with managing more than 9,000 servers, the small six-person team struggled to manage the growing sprawl of its IT resources, and feared losing track of key operations. With business growth accelerating and an exponential rise in resource consumption, escalating costs threatened the company’s financial health. Continuing its expansion of a global, on-premises infrastructure serving multiple divisions of the company proved impractical and costly.

Spanning 14 unique companies, each with distinct strategies and products, Discovery employs expert technology advisers to ensure optimal corporate growth and excellence in service delivery. “Every one of those companies has its own strategy, its own direction and its own product sets they might be using,” says Johan Marais, platform services manager, Discovery Limited. “How do we make sure our customers get the right value, and how do we deliver that from an IT perspective?”

Creating a comprehensive multi-cloud environment

To tame the capital and operating expenses of its sprawling IT estate, Discovery embraced a hybrid cloud model, enabling it to move as many workloads to the cloud as possible and reduce its reliance on expensive and difficult-to-maintain on-premises data centers. By aligning with major cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Discovery transformed its IT infrastructure with a multi-cloud, hybrid solution.

“We've been partnering with companies like AWS since 2012,” says Marais.

"As our cloud adoption grew, we had to find solutions to do this in the multi-cloud space because we're not only a single cloud provider. We do this across multiple and hybrid clouds.”

—Johan Marais, Platform Services Manager, Discovery Limited

To manage this complex multi-cloud environment, Discovery turned to Tanzu to help realize the full value of its cloud and application investments. “Part of my role is to advise the business as to what technologies best suit their needs,” says Marais. “We are the ones who broker decisions for them. And then, with the rest of the IT department, we can provide those services holistically.”

Led by Marais, the company's platform services team implemented a suite of products in the Tanzu portfolios of application and cloud management solutions. Using Tanzu CloudHealth (formerly VMware Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth), Discovery gained transparency and control over costs in its multi-cloud environment. By enabling the company to streamline its expenses and resources, the solution helped Discovery realize a 40 percent reduction in costs in less than a year’s time.

“We have to do more with less. And the key function, the key aim for us, is to deliver better every single day and be that cloud broker of choice,” says Marais.

To speed deployments across multiple clouds, Discovery implemented Tanzu Guardrails (formerly VMware Aria Automation for Secure Clouds). The solution delivers self-service access to cloud accounts and workloads for the company’s internal customers. The automated solution reduces manual intervention, freeing valuable employee time and resources, and empowering the company’s IT employees to devote their time and resources to higher-value projects.

Insights into the operation of public clouds are vital to the insurance industry, where compliance, risk management, and informed decision-making play a vital role. To deliver crucial insights into security and cost, Discovery chose Tanzu Hub to provide exhaustive visibility into two of the company's public clouds. The comprehensive overview provides the insights Discovery needed to make well-informed, data-driven decisions. Integrating its cloud infrastructure with these solutions delivers substantial savings on staffing costs, enhancing precision and speed in reporting and security management.

Adding to its existing platform, Discovery expanded its Tanzu solutions portfolio to include Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and is preparing to adopt Tanzu Application Platform. Both solutions will empower the company to fully embrace modern application development.

Paving a path to enhanced operational efficiency

By simplifying container orchestration, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid allowed Discovery Holdings to deploy, scale, and manage containerized applications effortlessly across diverse cloud environments, paving the way for enhanced operational efficiency.

Leveraging these platforms not only smoothed adoption processes for Discovery, but also helped the company harness the full potential of its multi-cloud infrastructure. Discovery turned the complexity of its multi-cloud estate into an advantage, accelerating its digital transformation journey while minimizing risks and optimizing costs.

By continuing to foster a partnership with Tanzu, Discovery opens the door to adopting innovative technologies that ensure customer satisfaction. As the company continues to improve and deliver superior services, Discovery is steadily becoming the preferred cloud broker for the company.

“Part of our role is to drive technology adoption in the multi-cloud space, containerization, space, and also in SaaS services,” says Marais.

"I think we've seen great benefits when considering using Tanzu Kubernetes Grid as a platform. We envision seeing similar benefits with Tanzu Application Platform for removing friction, ease of adoption while also removing the sprawl of applications.”

—Johan Marais, Platform Services Manager, Discovery Limited

Tanzu solutions promise to be game changers for the company’s multi-cloud infrastructure and application modernization.

Looking ahead

Its collaborative partnership with Tanzu has allowed Discovery to harness the power of leading-edge technologies to streamline operations and enhance the customer experience. Robust solutions provide Discovery the flexibility and scalability necessary to meet the needs of its expanding customer base.

By implementing its multi-cloud strategy in concert with AWS, Discovery continues to demonstrate its commitment to leveraging some of the most powerful resources in the industry. The use of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and the anticipated use of Tanzu Application Platform further underscores this commitment, enabling Discovery to accelerate digital innovation and effectively manage application sprawl.

Tanzu Application Platform will help Discovery deliver a developer-centric experience, streamlining the path from code to production, and enabling rapid application development and delivery. It promises to offer the consistency and control needed to manage applications at scale, without stifling the innovation and speed that are integral to staying competitive in a data-saturated digital landscape.

“Tanzu is always on the forefront of technology breaking new innovations,” says Marais. “Discovery is the same. With our partnership and our joint ventures, we definitely work with the same common interest at mind to be successful in adopting new technologies and do better for our customers.”