Elia, operator of the high-voltage electricity transmission system in Belgium, has awarded a large data storage contract to Simac ICT Belgium. Over the next five years, Simac will provide Elia with storage from NetApp. In addition, the company is also responsible for the installation, training and maintenance of hardware and software. The total value of these agreements amounts to two million euro. Furthermore, the contract stipulates a potential continuation of another five years.
“Without data or reliable storage, there is no power.” It’s that simple to Bert Van De Merckt, representative for data storage at Elia. “We operate a high-voltage transmission system of more than 8,000 kilometers in Belgium and continuously monitor what happens on the network. Properly saving, maintaining and protecting this data is highly important to us.” Some of the major requirements for selecting a vendor were immediate availability and redundancy, next to a smooth integration of storage with the back-up system. Of equal importance was the ease of integration with the virtualized server park.
A total of seven IT service providers competed for the contract, but the final vote went to the combination of NetApp storage with Commvault back-up systems proposed by Simac. Altogether, five NetApp systems will be used, offering a total capacity of three PB. These will not only be deployed for Elia’s core business – which consists of operating the high-voltage network – but also for all other applications within Elia, such as email, database, files, etc.
Mr. Van De Merckt highlights the smooth integration between NetApp and the Commvault back-up systems as the major reason for selecting NetApp (NetApp 8200 and 300). Also in Simac’s favor was its sound project management approach and the fact that it immediately informed Elia as to which experienced NetApp specialists would work on the project. Installation of the new storage systems is planned before the summer, after which extensive testing will take place in order to finally migrate the data in the fall. By the end of 2018, the new NetApp devices are expected to be in full use.
This new contract allows Simac to extend its cooperation with Elia. Not only was Simac responsible for installing and maintaining the previous storage environment, but its Cabling & Infrastructure business unit also made a significant contribution. “In the past, we have already come to appreciate Simac’s strong technical team”, says Van De Merckt, who is also highly satisfied with the IT service provider’s solution-oriented approach and speed of execution. “For us, the renewed cooperation with Elia is a recognition of the effort and good work we have delivered in the past,” comments Johan Diels, Director of Simac. “At the same time, this new contract is proof of our experience in implementing storage systems. Our reputation in that area is confirmed in the market every single day”.