With 1,100 staff, Hydro Tasmania has been supplying renewable energy across Tasmania for over 100 years.
The government-owned organisation discovered that its data centre infrastructure was nearing end of life, slowing down data processing times and access to information.
Specifically, cooling, support and maintenance costs of ageing equipment were seen as notable issues; it was becoming harder to cool new equipment, and Hydro Tasmania’s in-house IT team had their hands full dealing with multiple CPU generations and equipment from multiple vendors.
David Ovington, senior project manager at Hydro Tasmania, oversaw the project and noted that replacement of the older equipment was necessary to avoid any risk to business continuity.
“Old equipment becomes expensive, and increased risk of failure increases support costs,” said Ovington.
“If investment is not made, there is a risk of outage to systems that support everyday operations. It is, of course, prudent to operate without interruption.”
A major requirement for the new system was the ability to scale up or down to meet market demand.
Aside from renewing ageing systems, another major consideration of the project was that there was value for the local community.
“Data#3’s proposal showed a continuing commitment to upskilling its local presence in Tasmania. Their follow-on benefits to our local economy were a key consideration,” Ovington added.
Data#3 worked closely with Hydro Tasmania from 2018 to implement the new systems over the course of the year, implementing technology from Cisco, Dell EMC and VMware and provided an additional three months of support for no charge – a major plus for Hydro Tasmania.
From Cisco, core network equipment based on application-centric infrastructure was used, along with software-defined networking to make management easier.
Meanwhile, 40 Dell EMC VxRail hyper-converged compute/storage nodes were installed in four data centres to provide Hydro Tasmania the required scalability it desidered, with the ability to add more nodes when needed to meet new workloads.
“There was a genuine commitment to understanding our business and delivering a good outcome on the project. This was a significant engagement for the local Data#3 team, and they showed an enthusiasm and willingness to understand what success looked like for us,” said Ovington.
The technology from Cisco and Dell EMC was then tied together through VMware, which Hydro Tasmania’s IT team was already familiar with.
“This offered the right balance between skills the team already had and building on new skills, supported by Data#3 and Dell EMC – it made us self-sufficient,” Ovington shared.
With Data#3’s help, Hydro Tasmania saw performance improve across its existing SAP system and tracing environments, according to the senior project manager.
“This gives us a user experience benefit and also allows us to complete our overnight batch processing safely within the available time window,” Ovington said.
By utilising a cloud-based platform, traffic no longer routed through head office, and the use of the nodes can allow for Hydro Tasmania to make individualised cost assessments and make accurate charges to the right department, rather than the IT budget absorbing overheads.
“The Data#3 team was working on-site with us for a year, and operated with us as one team working towards the best outcome for Hydro Tasmania,” he said. “You only get that attitude when it is genuinely threaded throughout the organisation, and it is part of the organisation’s culture.”