System News
TransCanada PipeLines Consolidates Servers
Sun Professional Services
October 22, 2001,
Volume 44, Issue 4

As TransCanada PipeLines Limited (TransCanada) experienced growth, their IT infrastructure expanded and required new ways to manage and keep costs down. They decided to consolidate their servers and engaged Sun Professional ServicesSM Program.

TransCanada had about 500 servers across their enterprise. To consolidate so many servers, Sun Professional Services conducted the feasibility study and prepared a report outlining consolidation goals, success criteria, and estimated consolidation and migration costs.

After the assessment, 300 of TransCanada's mid-range servers were consolidated onto four Sun EnterpriseTM 10000 servers. A team of 40 people, which included a full-time Sun project manager, an architect, and a project engineer, provided technical migration leadership and architectural expertise to help retire the 300 servers and migrate about 180 applications to the Sun Enterprise 10000 platform.

"The Sun Enterprise 10000 server offered many attractive features--in particular, its dynamic partitioning feature will enable us to run multiple applications in isolated environments on a single server while conducting resource allocation on a live system," said Martin Cooper, Manager of Technical Infrastructure Innovation with TransCanada. "By overhauling our infrastructure, we're anticipating savings of 23 percent on hardware and software expenses and $4 million annually on IS operating costs. At this rate, we also expect 100 percent payback in two years."

The applications used by TransCanada are grouped according to their line-of-business functions. TransCanada calls these groupings "communities of interest" (COI), and they include pipeline and power operations, trading and business systems, operations and engineering, and enterprise services. Within these communities, applications are further grouped into two additional areas with different servers covering each: business critical for those requiring 24x7 availability and non-business critical for those requiring standard business-hour availability.

TransCanada is seeing improved performance in applications that were migrated to the Sun Enterprise 10000 server. "We need a standardized environment, something more manageable, as opposed to the fully distributed environment we had," Cooper notes. "The Sun Enterprise 10000 server meets our criteria for flexibility, scalability and dynamic configuration capabilities, which enables us to add resources to systems encountering performance- or capacity-related issues."

TransCanada uses Sun StorEdgeTM T3 arrays based on the recommendations by Sun Professional Services and their proven performance during testing. VERITAS NetBackup software provides the backup and recovery solution. TransCanada is moving toward a JavaTM technology-based environment with a business model architecture. They currently use Java technology for internal business applications.

Other advantages Sun offered TransCanada include the training courses which helped the TransCanada team build on their knowledge. SunSpectrum GoldSM support agreements provide TransCanada with on-site hardware service, problem escalation support, 24x7 online access to the Sun Online Service Center for technical information and software patches, and 24x7 priority telephone access, as well as use of the Sun Vendor Integration Program (SunVIPSM).

"As our organization keeps growing and changing, we'll be taking a close look at migrating our numerous core business applications to the Sun FireTM 15K Server. Of interest to us is its expanded functionality, scalability, and manageability," says Cooper. "The performance increase we can gain for our applications with the 900 MHz UltraSPARCTM III processors is also something of key interest. When the time comes, we're confident that Sun can provide what's needed for architecting and implementing a high-availability environment in our data center."

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