National Grid Energizes IT via Virtualization
- Needed to decrease operating costs by deploying a more efficient and flexible IT infrastructure
- Find a way to consolidate, migrate and virtualize servers using standard data center solutions
- Deploy CSC CloudCompute and VCE Vblock Platform
- Use CSC Virtual Desktop Services
- CSC Hosting/Data Center Solution
- Reduced costs and increased flexibility via the migration of more than 1,000 servers to Vblock platforms
- Centralized the management of servers and storage, enabling a more robust computing environment and control in a single location
When National Grid was looking for a world-class team of IT providers to deliver highly reliable and efficient IT support services, CSC was chosen to provide enterprise services for the ecosystem. Our continued support through an “as-a-service” model and the deployment of four cloud-based Vblock platforms is helping the UK-based gas and electricity company reduce costs and increase the resiliency of its IT systems.
Enterprises want to pay only for what they use, and the “as-a-service” approach is reaping big benefits for companies such as National Grid. Working closely with our alliance partners, CSC is providing a wide range of enterprise services, including desktop computing resources, storage, data centers and network security.
Vblock provides an integrated solution
National Grid furnishes energy to millions of customers in the United Kingdom and the Northeast United States. With more than 1,000 servers spread across locations throughout Great Britain and the United States, National Grid was looking to consolidate. Reducing the number of servers would not only cut costs, it would mean increased efficiency and a more reliable operating environment.
Enterprises are turning to multivendor virtualization solutions provided by the likes of industry leaders VMware, VCE, EMC and Cisco. Simon Statham, program executive, CSC, says, “We were looking at ways to reduce their operational expenditures, and virtualization was presented as an ideal solution.”
Vblock is an integrated virtualization solution offered by VCE that allows companies to stand up server instances very quickly. Vblock provides virtual servers, desktops and storage, plus networking in a single rack. National Grid’s servers went online in a matter of days, instead of the company’s having to order hardware, wait for delivery and go through a time-consuming setup process.
Pain-free server migration
Transforming systems is no easy task. Especially for a utility company, maintaining reliable services without a hitch is essential. Bob Welch, president of CSC’s Chemical, Energy and Natural Resources Group, says, “What National Grid asked CSC was an environment that had the kinds of high availability that would rapidly transform to a lower-cost platform that didn’t degrade availability and would reduce National Grid’s cost to operate in a highly reliable way.”
Migrating systems is a very delicate process. Statham says. “When moving servers, you need to be cautious because every server is precious to some individual.” CSC developed a methodical process where we were able to move servers very quickly. The result, Statham says, was that “throughout the migration, we did not disrupt the business in any way.”
For end users at National Grid, a smooth, pain-free transformation is important. Elaine Hatzis, tower services manager for National Grid, says, “Success for the end users would be measured by minimal disruptions to their business processes and the tools they need and being able to meet their goals.”
Cloud solution proves cost-effective, efficient
National Grid had the technology, the vision and the desire to reduce costs, and CSC provided the integration expertise using an “as-a-service” model to tie everything together in an efficient and cost-effective manner. National Grid turned to a Vblock solution, which is delivered to CSC customers in concert with key alliance partner VCE.
For Welch, forging a strong relationship with alliance partners is essential for success. “Having a relationship with those companies gave us an opportunity to innovate about how to deliver these kinds of environments more quickly at lower risk and at lower cost,” he says.
Bob Millradt, Global Alliances Director, VMware, says the advantage of the end user experience is that customers are able to experience the same desktop with the same look and feel they’ve always had, but they no longer have to manage all of the data and an operating system on their desktop. “It is all moved to the data center and managed centrally in a safe and secure manner,” Millradt says.
Millradt says the “always-on” nature of cloud computing provides numerous benefits. “What CSC and VMware do with the BizCloud and Cloud Compute offerings is give customers the confidence that their computing will be always on.” He adds that cloud computing allows customers to focus on the business and let CSC and VMware worry about where the computing capacity is coming from. “The value of what CSC and VMware are bringing to the table is that we are making the promise of cloud computing a reality and not just a promise.”
Statham says cloud computing and virtualization have found many fans at National Grid. “If something is right, people use it. When you say, ‘We can virtualize this and put these instances up in the next week, rather than having to do all this other stuff,’ the answer is just, ‘Go for it!’ Then when it works, people start asking for our service, so it sells itself.”
Download this Success Story (PDF).
Download this Success Story (PDF).