The leading producer of heat and electricity in northwest Russia, territorial generation company number 1 (TGC-1) operates 53 electrical plants in Saint Petersburg, the Republic of Karelia, Leningrad, and Murmansk. Nineteen of those plants are in the Arctic Circle. The organization also exports some electric power to Finland and Norway.
The company’s primary objective is to deliver a continuous supply of energy and heat to the region. That’s why TGC-1 must ensure the stable and secure operation of its IT infrastructure. As a result, the company decided to virtualize all elements of the IT infrastructure.
During the first stage, all of the company’s servers were virtualized. That was followed by storage virtualization two years later. By 2013, TGC-1 needed to upgrade or replace the physical network connecting the company’s two data centers. It could no longer handle the current workload, forcing the company to disable most of the hardware functions, including security.
“We had application groups that needed to be isolated from each other and assigned different access levels,” says Alexey Malafeev, the director for control and technological management and IT at TGC-1. “It was necessary to provide access to different user groups in different segments of our network—a task that our current hardware firewalls could not cope with.”
Improving Stability While Strengthening Security
The company turned to network virtualization with the VMware NSX® platform. As well as being more cost-effective than updating the physical network, network virtualization allowed TGC-1 to achieve higher levels of resiliency. “The failure of data centers would cause a serious blow to our business,” Malafeev says. “Using virtualization at all levels, including the network, improves resilience and also allows avoiding the costs of physically duplicating the entire IT infrastructure.”
In addition, TGC-1 has been able to bolster security without adding management complexity. The company can rapidly segment the network and more, without needing any specialized skills. “Network virtualization allowed us to simplify and standardize our hardware network equipment, reduce maintenance and administration costs, and improve security in the data center,” Malafeev says.
To learn more about how TGC-1 is improving the resiliency of its IT infrastructure, view the video below: