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Nutanix Cloud Solutions, Digital transformation Modernises Ailing Infrastructure of UK Energy Company

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
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Nutanix, a worldwide leader in enterprise cloud computing, announced the adoption of its software by UK-based Total Gas & Power, a gas and electricity supplier for industry, commercial and business sectors.

Nutanix’s solution has placed the energy company on track to develop a single streamlined architecture, aiding it in reducing operational overheads as well as improving security compliance, consolidating workloads and increasing resilience over legacy infrastructure.

Dramatic system efficiency gains followed the successful deployment of Nutanix’s technology and solutions. Total Gas & Power has now also increased its use of Nutanix stack products and continues to migrate to the NC platform at “the correct pace for accurate regression testing and system functioning.”

Digital transformation, both a big-time tech buzzword and a massive global imperative for energy companies, helps companies seeking to build more agile and adaptable approaches to the variable market demands facing the business. Since Total Gas & Power has been reliant on ageing and complex infrastructure, entangled in multiple service level agreements, crumbling systems and multiple support contracts, the company has years and years of technology debt with endless reams of data, custom-designed apps with no record of development and disparate systems – all leading to operations progressing at a sap-like crawl.

“When we came upon Nutanix we were looking to develop a coherent solution that would ensure consistency and capability across a diverse range of systems and hardware equipment, much of which had been installed over the past 30 years while creating a future-proof company that could scale at speed,” says Dominic Maidment, Tech Architect for European Enterprise Architecture at Total Gas & Power.

“One of our primary goals was to create a DevOps approach to the development and the maintenance of applications that could also help us build on our desire to innovate within our highly competitive sector.”

The company’s legacy systems ran old Sun SPARC boxes and x86 systems, SAN storage, remote office integration, and complex licensing requirements – throughout the transition process, these ancient systems would have to be considered. The Total Gas & Power IT team became lost in a maze of moving IT pieces, turning to Nutanix to help it upgrade and update, but maintain compliance, simplify development and ensure comprehensive disaster recovery and multi-site integration.

New solutions would also have to contend with the fact that the company already had limited real estate on public clouds (AWS) and ensure that they were easy to provision and scale for full DevOps capabilities as well as support its move to replace legacy in some areas with Open Source (Linux).

Although still not entirely migrated, the new IT environment is made up of a production site with VMs (virtual machines) running on VMware and branch sites that run on Nutanix AHV (Nutanix’ own non-chargeable hypervisor), totalling 300 VMs with middleware, file and print services, alongside a billing and phone system, as well as miscellaneous business applications. These built-in Nutanix VMs provide high availability support with automatic workload transfer in the event of catastrophic system failure.

According to Maidment, the next steps in achieving single target architecture will include the company’s investment in the Nutanix Era database automation tool, to enhance its DevOps strategy. A Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) pilot project designed to allow for user access to virtual desktops across existing cloud infrastructure using Frame, is also underway.

“We are focusing on becoming a truly hybrid organisation, which is not as easy as it sounds. Complications arise when companies have some pots of technology in the cloud and a lot of crumbling legacy equipment that they have hidden by a façade of new technology. Our original systems were in chaos and we needed a solution that could resolve issues in our legacy infrastructure within realistic parameters, but that still supported our business drivers by giving us the ability to move faster, develop more and become more agile,” added Maidment.

“Before we aggressively rolled out specific workloads into the cloud, we needed to know what we could control and what visibility we would have. With Nutanix, we are able to assess our systems more accurately and determine exactly where the challenges lie, as well as find solutions that can realistically overcome them into the future,” he concludes.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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