DNM Technology boosts Dublin power plant with cloud strategy

When a plant ran out of data centre space and capacity, it turned to a private cloud and disaster recovery strategy: The project won the plant's integrator, DNM Technology, a Best of VMworld Europe 2010 award.

What began as the need for more space and capacity for Dublin Bay Power soon turned into a private cloud and business continuity strategy.

Dublin Bay Power is a gas-powered plant based in Ringsend, Dublin. The plant needed more server capacity to run its systems 24/7, but it had run out of data centre space. Expanding into DNM's data centre was not an option because DNM, too, struggled with space and power constraints. As a result of the project, the plant's system integrator, DNM Technology, won an award in the Best Private Cloud Computing Project category at the VMworld Europe User Awards.

With limited IT staff and resources, Dublin Bay Power was under pressure to deliver more servers in its environment, but so was DNM. The integrator's data centre also suffered from space constraints and overheating concerns.

"We took a business view of the project and what was needed to help the business run more smoothly," said Richard Nunan, the operations director at DNM Technology.

Turning to the cloud
To solve the power plant's problem, DNM designed and implemented a private cloud strategy to enable speedy application deployment, infrastructure self-service, automatic failover of key applications in the event of a disaster and the creation of future hybrid cloud infrastructure that can integrate with public cloud services.

The utility is delivered through DNM, enabling Dublin Bay to improve its service-level agreement (SLA) requirements and use a platform that could potentially provide future public IT service delivery.

According to Dublin Bay, its new private cloud infrastructure is "highly automated, fast and easy to manage." With it in place, "it will ease the integration of public cloud services" in the future.

We took a business view of the project and what was needed to help the business run more smoothly.


Richard Nunan, operations director for DNM Technology,

Nunan said that what started off as project to help the company save space in its server room turned into a business continuity project. "For a company that needs to run 24/7, it was clear that they needed a self-managing and self-healing infrastructure, rather than purchasing more servers or investing in more data centre space," he said.

The plant uses Exchange, File Servers, Print Servers and a SIMO (or single input, multiple output) system for trading and bidding, which need to be available round the clock.

According to Nunan, it took a total of six weeks to roll out the private cloud infrastructure.

VMware to the rescue
Dublin Bay's private cloud is made up of geographically separated dual virtualised data centres, which communicate via high-speed interconnects from Dell Power Connect and HP ProCurve. It is based on VMware's Enterprise Cloud Software, in addition to Dell hardware and Dell EqualLogic storage area networks. Across four SANs, tiered storage is used and connected via iSCSI and Fibre Channel in production.

Judges of the VMworld Europe User Awards were impressed by DNM's rapid adoption of VMware vCloud Director in such a narrow time frame.

The cloud houses 75 virtual machines (VMs) in a production private cloud and 75 VMs in its disaster recovery cloud. To build the infrastructure DNM decided on seven Dell R710 severs, three Dell EqualLogic servers, one CX310 and one MD3000, all with a total capacity of 20 TB.

Nunan said DNM did not encounter any major challenges because, apart from the VMware part of the project, most of the cloud technologies have been around for some time.

"Cloud looks like an earlier adopter, but the bones of cloud have been here for a while already. Most cloud technologies are not new, just the term cloud is," he said.

For all the news and coverage from VMworld Europe 2010, click here.

Kayleigh Bateman is the Site Editor of SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.UK.

Read more on Cloud computing services