To reduce costs and streamline operations, Sira-Kvina Kraftselskap needed a virtualized storage solution from a reputable vendor that could also provide faster, more comprehensive technical support when necessary.
By upgrading to IBM Flash storage with IBM Spectrum® Virtualize, Sira-Kvina was able to cut its data storage costs in half, improve system management and receive faster and more responsive technical support.
50% cost reductioncompared to previous data storage solution
Near-zero system latencyfor faster response time
One-week system transformationincluding installation and data transfer –– with no downtime
Business challenge story
A hydroelectric powerhouse
Taking advantage of its mountainous terrain and wet climate, Norway is the world’s sixth largest producer of hydroelectric power and generates more hydropower than any other country in Europe. A world leader in renewable energy production, Norway derives 98 percent of its electric power from an extensive network of watercourses, reservoirs, dams and hydroelectric facilities.
Based in southwestern Norway, Sira-Kvina produces 5 percent of Norway’s electric power and is always looking for ways to operate more efficiently and manage cost-effectively. The mandate for efficiency extends to its IT system. When Sira-Kvina needed to upgrade its aging data storage infrastructure, it looked for a new approach that could not only save money but also correct service issues the company experienced with a legacy IT vendor.
“When I had to manage the previous data storage system, I had to make an evening call to a guy that was three time zones away,” says Terje Johansen, Senior Technical Advisor for Sira-Kvina. “He would just go through a list and wouldn’t take any responsibility if something went wrong.”
Incomplete and inconvenient technical support, coupled with the need for improved management and protection of huge volumes of data at lower cost, led Johansen to shop for a new solution. “This was the right time to try something else,” he says, “and when we met with IBM, we were very impressed with what they showed us, especially with the system management.”
“ With IBM, it’s not just one factor. System management, paying less per terabyte and support in Scandinavia — the whole package is much better. ”
— Terje Johansen, Senior Technical Advisor, Siri-Kvina Kraftselskap
Charged with change
After evaluating Sira-Kvina’s current and future storage requirements, Johansen’s IT team chose a comprehensive solution from IBM. The solution included the latest generation of its all-flash family, with IBM FlashCore® Modules (FCMs) and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) technology to handle massive volumes of data at speed with the ability to increase capacity quickly.
To provide the benefits of software-defined storage, the system was built with the Spectrum Virtualize solution, which integrated seamlessly with the VMware environment running on Sira-Kvina’s office network. “The transformation was fast and quite easy. It was migrating the data that took time in the past,” says Johansen. “It only took one week and there was no downtime during the migration period.”
The IBM solution uses encryption to support enhanced data security and deploys advanced data reduction technologies to facilitate storage functions while managing backup and disaster recovery. IBM Compression technology increases the amount of data that can be stored in the same place by up to five times.
From an operational perspective, a single user interface makes managing the storage infrastructure more intuitive. “It’s easy to use and now I can upgrade everything myself,” says Johansen.
Data storage for now and the future
After upgrading its IT system with the IBM all-flash solution, Sira-Kvina reduced data storage costs by 50 percent, on a per-terabyte basis. The advanced technology also delivered near zero latency performance.
In addition, Sira-Kvina experienced immediate improvements in tech support. “When I had an issue, an IBM service representative from Finland called me and he was really good,” says Johansen. “We now have support here in Scandinavia so it’s easier to speak with them myself and I’m impressed with the support.”
Currently, Sira-Kvina maintains its data storage system and disaster recovery site on-premises. The IT staff is considering moving several applications to the cloud in the future and knows that its IBM data storage solution will make migration to the cloud easier when the time comes.
Founded in 1963, Sira-Kvina produces renewable energy from seven hydroelectric power plants using water resources and reservoirs located in Rogaland, Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder counties in southwestern Norway. With 1,760 MW of installed power generation capacity and annual power production of 6.3 GWh, the company generates 5 percent of the electric power consumed in Norway during an average year. Its Tonstad operations center is based in the Sirdal municipality and over 100 Sira-Kvina employees work at 16 locations.
Take the next step
To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner.