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Costain opts for hybrid cloud and hosted bare metal from Navisite

Construction and civil engineering group Costain gets mix of pure cloud and bare metal hosted at Navisite datacentres as it tools up to provide key highways infrastructure systems

Costain has engaged outsourcing provider Navisite to provide pure cloud storage and hosted bare metal cloud for two key projects.

The construction and infrastructure company chose to have services delivered from the two platforms to meet differing requirements for performance and availability across the projects.

The projects are Esdal and Wecare. Esdal is an abnormal load delivery system for road transport which co-ordinates routing between hauliers and police, and requires highly resilient storage.

Wecare is a highways infrastructure asset management system which runs the maintenance of highways technology assets. The latter project is set to evolve towards internet of things (IoT) capabilities with the requirement to store streamed data.

Costain’s applications are split between hosted multi-tenant cloud and single-tenant bare metal tiers at Navisite’s datacentres. This is for reasons of licensing and performance, said Navisite CTO Dave Grimes.

Costain’s web serving and applications are hosted in a multi-tenant, self-service cloud environment, while high-performance databases are run on dedicated, single-tenant servers and storage.

“Not all databases are cloud-friendly in licensing terms, and need to be in single tenant environments,” said Grimes. “In terms of performance also, not all cloud platforms are created equally; you can do more on bare metal.”

Grimes also said there is a perception that a single-tenant bare metal environment afforded greater security, but he didn't see this as a “real” reason.

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Storage in the Navisite web and application cloud is predominantly direct-attached storage (DAS), while the bare metal database tier is supported by a Fibre Channel-connected IBM XIV SAN with some EMC SAN storage also.

Why did Costain choose to outsource these IT functions rather than run them in-house?

Russell Davies, tunnels strategic lead and bid manager at Costain, said: “We are the type of company that outsources IT services as policy. We own our own hardware, but we don't want to own and manage our own solution.”

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