Based in Luxembourg and owned by the 28 member states, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s financing institution. Its mission is to provide long-term finance for major investment projects which contribute to furthering EU policy objectives. With annual lending of over 77 billion euros, the EIB is a high-profile European institution.
Managing “Business as Usual” (BAU) data-centre infrastructure for nearly 2,000 staff across a network of local and regional offices may appear straight-forward at first. But a combination of complex high-availability Solaris UNIX, Red Hat Linux, and MS Windows-based servers, storage and backup solutions, and Oracle, Sybase, MS SQL Server and MySQL databases, all managed by a third party, inevitably makes running infrastructure anything but simple. This is especially so when the incumbent service supplier was acquired and the acquiring organisation showed little appetite to continue delivering this service. The EIB was faced with a significant operational risk in keeping this core function running smoothly.
Halian’s strong credentials in providing mission critical data centre services means we understand how to transition and run a service, mitigating risk and getting to BAU rapidly. With a team of 21 FTEs covering Service Management, Systems Engineering, Security, and Database Administration, we were able to deliver a stable service on an extended hour’s basis, seven days a week. SLA responsibilities needed to cover all systems administration, engineering, upgrades, and planning of the infrastructure at the main data centre site plus two remote locations all delivered within an ITIL framework. Additionally, monthly dashboard reporting and all incident and problem management workflows were automated using Remedy.
Each month, senior Halian management meet with EIB representatives in a formal steering committee to discuss the service in general, ensure specific delivery metrics are being achieved and review progress on the key projects which are on-going at any one time. This ensure both the ongoing service and the multiple projects are delivered at an optimum level, and when changes are needed, they are acted upon rapidly.
Through an open tender process, Halian successfully won this four-year contract which has subsequently been extended for another 12 months. Whilst the size of the team has remained constant, the technology has changed considerably over the past 4 years. As a result, the storage has moved from Hitachi to EMC, many Linux servers have replaced Solaris, new Microsoft technology has been introduced such as Sharepoint, Forefront Identity Manager (FIM), and Skype for Business, and many of the servers have been virtualised. Annual technical training and promotion within Halian ensures attrition is low and team moral, high. Most importantly, the SLA-driven service regularly achieves high satisfaction ratings from the service sponsors and provide the EIB with a resilient core service at a competitive, fixed monthly price.