Aviva is Ireland’s only composite insurer providing life, pensions, general and health insurance products to its customers.  The company employs over 1,000 people between its head office in Dublin its offices in Cork and its Galway call centre.  Aviva’s data centre sprawled over an area the size of half a football pitch and the company wanted to modernise the aging IT infrastructure and reduce it  to a quarter of its footprint.

“Our Data Centre in Ireland runs in combination with part of our UK data centre.  It’s our heartbeat,” explains Sean Bellamy, Head of Infrastructure at Aviva.  “It runs every single system from our GI business which sells motor and home and our Life and Pensions business.”

Aviva engaged Triangle to develop a compelling technology proposal backed by a cast iron business case for renewed investment in the Irish data centre.  The cost effectiveness of the solution was to be measured on two scales; the initial investment and the total cost over time.

As the estate was old, it was expensive to maintain as production systems were failing. The company was having more and more incidents where outages to the business were quite significant.  Following an assessment and design phase, Triangle worked closely with Aviva to develop the project. Using their expertise in network creation and migration, they built a highly secure dark fibre data centre network and SAN fabric to provide improved connectivity in a smaller footprint.  Aviva had 350 Wintel systems running a variety of operating systems. 

The company virtualised its estate to one third and reduced those down to six hosted VMware solutions.  On the AIX side, Aviva had a P590, P595 and a P770 in the Dublin office and they eradicated the P590 and P595 and updated the local P770 and bought a new P770 for the B site which is hosted in IBM.

“Storage was another challenge for us with three huge storage units.” adds Ian Farnan, TSS Infrastructure Manager at Aviva.  “These have been replaced with a three tier solution based on IBM FlashSystem technology coupled with an IBM V7000 clustered system containing both SAS and NL-SAS tiers”.

Aviva realised savings by retiring old hardware that would have required renewed maintenance contracts and licenses for backups

Triangle converted Aviva’s legacy systems onto the new infrastructure enabling the company to run legacy applications crucial to the business.  The nature of the project improved the company’s test and development environment, improved disaster recovery capabilities, and increased flexibility to react to the organisation’s needs.  In addition, warehousing processes are much faster which makes better use of current resources.

“It is a phenomenal leap forward in technology for us.  We have saved significant costs this year – half a million euro and next year somewhere in the region of €800,000.  For us these will be year on year savings,” says Sean.

“We have achieved a significant reduction in footprint and we have been able to use the saved floor space for another purpose. This is real estate in the centre of Dublin which is very expensive so it’s a fantastic saving.  We’ve also achieved significant energy savings because our electricity use has reduced by about three quarters   and the cooling is significantly reduced as well which is great from an environment point of view.” 

Triangle has played a core part in the design, development, build and management of this adventurous project,” continues Ian.  “Without their dedication, technical knowledge and expertise, we would not have achieved all we did.   We now have the modern, future proofed, agile and flexible data centre that we wanted.”

“There are many benefits with this project,” concludes Sean.  “In terms of stability, the data centre is ten times better than it was.  Also, performance has improved dramatically, for example, we are able to run our month end processes on our systems locally and they are completed in one hour as against eight hours before we did this work.

Triangle pulled out all the stops and the project was delivered on time on 31 December.  The €3 million initial capital investment will have paid for itself in 22 months.  This project has made our business more efficient and more competitive.”