Supporting three pillars
In 2017, following the time when Innogy npower’s infrastructure was hosted (or colocated) in one of its own data centres, Sungard AS proposed moving the npower infrastructure onto its Managed Cloud platform. This satisfied npower’s desire to move away from a CapEx model to more of an OpEx one.
Three pillars support this partnership: availability, resiliency, and security.
For availability, Sungard AS’ Enterprise Cloud Service (ECS) delivers an enterprise class, multi-tenancy scalable IT infrastructure that provides a platform to deliver IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Customers need only buy committed resource pools (compute, memory and storage) for today’s requirements. Extra resource or burst capacity can be provisioned to a live environment, and any changes made to that environment are automatically replicated to the secondary site/data centre. In the event of a disaster, the live services can be activated within the secondary data centre, providing customers with a resilient solution without having to purchase additional hardware.
“What makes Sungard AS stand out from other providers is its level of response. In the instance of a major incident, a bridge call with the respective teams happens very quickly and includes the engineers investigating it,” said Ian Jordan, Digital Operations Manager. “This is incredibly useful and gives us a view into how the investigation is progressing. It also allows us to speak directly to the engineers rather than having to go through an intermediary. This helps to resolve issues much faster.”
Resiliency is also integral to availability. Having a full replica of the environment within a second data centre means any changes made within the production environment are automatically replicated to the second data centre. Should a disaster disable the primary environment, Sungard AS can activate all services quickly and easily, recovering environments with only seconds of data loss.
Achieving that level of business continuity and disaster recovery is especially meaningful for npower and its customers. “Getting people heat and power is a basic need. To that end, we need to ensure all of our services, including our website, are as resilient as they are commercially viable,” said Drinkwater.
A third pillar, security, is likewise indispensable to npower operations. In addition to providing services such as IDS (Intrusion Detection System), log harvesting, DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) monitoring and OS security, Sungard AS also provides npower with a monthly security report which highlights vulnerabilities such as security incidents that were raised during the month. The report, in conjunction with a monthly security meeting, allows Sungard AS to advise npower on any recommendations to consider.
“Sungard AS takes the security of our environment very seriously. We know the importance of protecting our infrastructure and customer data, as well as the impact a security break would have on our business,” said Jordan.
“Our monthly meetings are invaluable to review the security of our environment while having an analyst onsite to explain, in layman’s terms, the security events reported. This gives us the confidence that our environment is in safe hands.”
Additionally, Sungard AS solutions also support npower’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements. This includes being able to provide evidence of what npower was doing with customer data, how it was protecting it, and who has access to it.
“The Sungard AS security design and the service they provide has helped us meet our GDPR requirements and given us the confidence our digital infrastructure and customer data is protected to a very high standard,” said Jordan.