Scaling up growth plans
9thJune 2008, Intelligent Enterprise
Bharat Bijlee Limited (BBL), one of the leaders in the electrical
engineering industry in India, had IT infrastructure housed in a server
room ill-equipped to handle the expansion plans of the company. A
low-capacity UPS, obsolete switches, water seepage and rodents were some of
the issues the company had to contend with. Archaic infrastructure resulted
in the frequent unavailability of systems and impeded productivity.
The challenge was to have in place a state-of-the-art infrastructure that
addresses these issues and meets current as well as future demand. For
this, Bharat Bijlee decided to build a secure, integrated environment with
high performance and improved connectivity that allows quick deployment of
new generation applications.
BBL operates in two business segments-Industrial Products which comprises
transformers, motors and drives; and Contracting, i.e. Projects. "The
company has been posting an annual growth rate of 20-25%. In order to keep
pace with this growth, it was necessary to ensure operational efficiency,
possible only through having in place a sturdy IT infrastructure that
guarantees high availability of IT systems, resiliency and most
impor¬tantly scalability," says Vinod Gurnani, CIO, Bharat Bijlee Limited.
Hence, BBL decided to put a data centre solution in place that would enable
its IT operations to be highly resilient and scale with the organization's
growth. "IBM helped us put in place a highly scalable and modular data
centre that not only caters to our current business needs, but can
seamlessly scale up as our organization grows," explains Gurnani. The
objective was to upgrade the LAN, replace active components, build an
infrastructure backbone to support the growing need for increased
bandwidth, bring in constant availability and resiliency, centralize
operations to enhance and improve productivity and build a data centre that
is highly secure and available.
IBM initiated the first step of this assignment by up¬grading the existing
infrastructure. The new infrastructure was also equipped with a rodent
repellent, a water detection system, and a precision air conditioner. The
added space relieved the company of the clutter of the server room. The
implementation now allows the company to shift its focus from
administration of IT infrastructure to other, more critical value¬added
This was the first IBM project involving all three services from IBM Global
Technology Services (GTS). The first task was to merge three services that
focused on cabling, switches and setting up of the data centre. Merging of
these interdependent services brought with it a holistic view of the
customer's demands. These changes demanded an environment that accommodated
different applications in the future. Setting up a data centre was
imperative. In the process, IBM considered all factors like power, cooling,
fire protection, smoke detection, interoperability with vendor equipment
and space requirements. The implementation also bore in mind issues like
power loss. In addition, IBM provided a management device which stored
information on power events and helped predict power failures.
The data centre ensures security through access control at three levels.
Biometric scan and pin access guaranteed control of access to the server
room and the electrical room respectively. Real-time ((TV coverage with a
15-day storage capability backs this security system in different rooms of
data centre. IBM and Bharat Bijlee have worked together to deliver this
data centre project in a record time of three months.
However, they had several issues to contend with during the implementation.
To begin with, the project commenced during the monsoons and the site was
set up on rocky terrain. Thus, digging and cabling was a cumbersome task.
Despite this, the execution was completed within the stipulated timeframe.
As a proactive measure, Bharat Bijlee tested equipment during the upgrade
process. This allowed the company to detect faults and avoid delays. The
switchover to upgraded systems and transition to the data centre was a
smooth process. The only change observed was improved speed. The complete
transition was completed in 10 hours and involved collaborating and working
with other vendors.