Meridian Energy

Proving the value of a cloud transformation

Meridian Energy initiated a cloud-first strategy and wanted to perform an economic assessment and a proof-of-value exercise to demonstrate how best to exit physical data centres to deliver a disaster recovery solution in the cloud. Long-term partner Fujitsu migrated 16 applications from the disaster recovery site to Azure VMware Solution; a cloud-based solution running on Intel central processing units technology, proving that it can be done with high velocity minimal business disruption.

Challenge

Meridian Energy wanted to enable a cloud-first strategy but first needed to perform an economic assessment and technology POV to validate the approach.

Solution

  • Fujitsu Cloud Economic Assessment performed in collaboration with Meridian to confirm the total economic benefit of the proposed solution
  • Fujitsu Multi-Cloud Architect engagement to identify and migrate 16 applications from Meridian’s production and DR sites to AVS, a cloud-based solution powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and Intel® Solid State Drives
  • Fujitsu and Meridian evaluated candidates, business services and technology offerings through documented goals and measures
  • Returning 16 applications seamlessly migrated from on-premises locations during the POV

Outcomes

  • Confirmation that workloads can be rapidly migrated with minimal business interruption
  • Networking challenges reduced by using the same VMware tools for migration and a common virtual machine format
  • Meridian is positioned with confidence to continue with its cloud-first strategy for broader cloud migration to deliver its forecasted economic business benefits
Working in close collaboration, Fujitsu and Meridian performed a Cloud Economic Assessment to validate the economic value for the move. Following this, Fujitsu executed a rapid migration to AVS.

About the customer

Meridian Energy is an integrated renewable energy company, and the largest electricity generator in New Zealand. It employs approximately 1,000 people and retails electricity to many customer connections, including homes, farms and businesses throughout New Zealand. Meridian only generates electricity from renewable sources – wind, water and the sun, supplying approximately 30% of New Zealand’s total electricity needs.

Plotting a seamless cloud migration

Meridian Energy recently initiated a cloud-first strategy, designed to eliminate significant efforts of an upcoming data centre refresh as well as reduce maintenance requirements. However, it needed to assess which parts of the business to migrate and wanted to prove that its current applications and infrastructure would work in the cloud, while also potentially reducing costs for workloads.

Firstly, the company wanted to perform an economic assessment to validate its cloud ambitions. It then wanted to follow up with a proof-of-value (POV) exercise to demonstrate how best to achieve a transformation to Microsoft Azure.

To achieve this, Meridian Energy turned to long-term strategic partner, Fujitsu, which has been responsible for running Meridian’s managed services for 13 years. Working closely together Meridian and Fujitsu undertook an economic assessment to validate the value for the proposed move. The Fujitsu Apps & Multi-Cloud team performed a detailed value and application candidate assessment to identify workloads to prove the proposed cloud technologies and migration strategies.

Multi-application POV

Over a 49-day period, 16 applications were moved from the Meridian production site in Wellington and the disaster recovery (DR) site in Auckland to a Microsoft service, verified by VMware. It runs on an Azure infrastructure called Azure VMware Solution (AVS) and is a cloud-based solution powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and Intel® Solid State Drives. AVS enabled Fujitsu to seamlessly move these VMware-based workloads from the Meridian data centre to the cloud and integrate the VMware environment with Azure. The POV proved that Fujitsu could keep managing the existing environments with the same VMware tools, and provided Meridian adjacency to transformative Azure services without the need for immediate transformation activities. Intel technology enables and provides compute and storage consistency while running a demanding workload such as AVS.

Candidates were made up of a combination of client/server, database, intranet, proxy and feed-gathering third-party applications. They were transported to the cloud via either VMware HCX or JetStream, which enables the capture and testing of DR procedures. Networks were extended into the cloud from on-premises alongside additional unique networking, allowing for the rapid re-deployment of some workloads.

To ensure the validity of each application candidate, a high-level journey of change was produced, with configuration steps and testing goals captured in testing and configuration plans. Resources and technology were then engaged to move each business workload to AVS cloud, configure it accordingly and return to on-premises.

Ease of transformation

The POV succeeded in proving that Meridian’s business workloads can be moved with little transformation from the on-premises data centre to familiar cloud platforms with marginal business interruption. It also demonstrated that networking challenges are reduced by using the same VMware tools for migration and extension to Azure cloud. This achievement is attributable to Fujitsu’s cloud automation and migration services with the use of AVS.

Meridian is now well positioned to create a robust roadmap for broader cloud adoption, confident in the knowledge that disruption will be minimal and business benefits will be realised. By taking the data centre out of the equation, it will become more adaptable and agile while potentially reducing energy consumption and costly hardware upgrades. At the same time, cloud-hosted applications require considerably less in-house maintenance, freeing up Meridian resources and enabling them to be redeployed more strategically on higher value tasks.

With 389 VMs across the estate, Meridian and Fujitsu have their work cut out. However Fujitsu’s POV using AVS and Intel provided the peace of mind that this ambitious cloud-first transformation will be a success.

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