Manitoba Hydro gives their data centre a power boost Case Study

The Power of Being There ®
Case Study
Manitoba Hydro gives
their data centre a power boost
“I asked our IT staff to give me
one reason why our new Avocent
solution was so beneficial.
They gave me five: saves time;
increases response time; lessens
downtime; reduces cable clutter;
and meets our server density
John Coutts
Manitoba Hydro is the province’s major energy utility and the chief distributor of natural
gas in the province. Manitoba Hydro is headquartered in the capital city of Winnipeg and
provides electricity and natural gas to provincial residents and businesses. With satellite
offices located throughout Manitoba and with over 5,000 employees, Manitoba Hydro is
one of the largest electricity and natural gas utilities in Canada.
Current problems drain IT energy and efficiency
With that level of responsibility, efficient management of Manitoba Hydro data centres is
critical. Approximately 350 servers are located in three separate data centres in the
Winnipeg area, several servers are housed in unmanned computer rooms around the city
and the IT server support staff is often located in different buildings than the data centres.
So, when there’s a problem or a critical server goes down, time often becomes an issue –
sometimes a nightmare.
Manitoba Hydro used analog KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switches for local control of
their servers. Remote control needs were handled through software tools. Unfortunately,
this approach presented several limitations. For example, in cases where a remote server
was unhealthy, software remote access tools were impossible or impractical. The result was
critical downtime while someone was dispatched to the site.
Network Operations Supervisor
Manitoba Hydro
In addition, server density and cabling seemed to be creating a complicated maze of confusion.
“When cable management, server density and access started to become real issues,
we knew we had to go with a higher capacity KVM switching solution,” said John Coutts,
network operations supervisor for Manitoba Hydro. “We needed one that could meet the
IT department’s need for reliability and our accounting department’s need for a return on
Avocent solution leads to total control
A previous successful experience with Avocent Corporation products made the company
an obvious choice for a new KVM solution. Avocent specializes in high quality KVM over IP
solutions designed to address various server access and control issues.
“We have been using Avocent analog KVM
switches for over 10 years and because the
experience has been so positive, we knew that
upgrading to Avocent digital switches would
be the solution we needed,” said Coutts.
Manitoba Hydro selected an Avocent DSR®
KVM over IP switching system. Complete
with click and connect DSView® management
software, the DSR Series is considered the
premier KVM over IP solution for enterprise
installations. It provides powerful server and
serial device management from anywhere,
CAT 5 cable management, centralized
authentication and administration, and
unlimited user and server scalability.
With DSView software, users have easy click
and connect access and control of all their
servers; anytime, anywhere. Manitoba Hydro
IT personnel have the power to view and
manage all connected data centre devices on
one screen – regardless of whether the
devices are a mix of multi-platform servers,
routers and power devices – or located in
offices around the city.
The power of success
Implementation of the new Avocent solution
was straightforward, and realization of the
benefits was immediate with quicker
response and reduced downtimes.
dropped dramatically with the use of Avocent
“Because we don't have to be on-site, we can
DSRIQ cable interface modules as servers
now fix the problem from wherever we are.
could be attached via standard CAT 5 cabling.
This means we are able to react and respond
to problems much quicker. And it makes
Coutts explained another benefit. “While we
more efficient use of our IT staff time, since
anticipated our new Avocent solution would
we're not wasting time running back and
provide better cable management and less
forth between different offices,” said Coutts.
congestion in the rack to meet our current
“We plan to implement Avocent solutions
server density issues, we have found that
into all of our data centres in the future.”
we are spending a lot less time travelling
around between data centres, and more
importantly, are enjoying the TCP/IP
About Avocent
connectivity – which essentially put control
Avocent is the leading worldwide supplier of
of our entire data centre at our fingertips.”
KVM switching and connectivity solutions
Security and expandability are additional
that provide IT managers with access and
benefits achieved by Manitoba Hydro.
control of multiple servers and network data
“Avocent has the matter of security really
centre devices. Avocent was formed in July
well covered as there are multiple levels of
2000 by the merger of leading industry
security available. Our solution even offers
innovators Cybex Computer Products
additional security features to what we were
Corporation and Apex Inc. Avocent KVM
currently using,” Coutts added.
solutions are distributed by the world’s
largest server manufacturers and installed
“Plus, we can expand our system as we see
in Fortune 100 companies around the world.
fit and there are no additional hardware
costs necessary for the authentication
Headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama,
software because it will run on almost any
Avocent has locations in the states of
Windows workstation. It’s things like these
Washington, Florida, Massachusetts and
that please our accounting department.”
Texas. International locations include
Canada, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain,
Germany, Japan, China and Singapore.
The future looks bright
Visit for more information
Manitoba Hydro is extremely pleased with
about Avocent products.
the new Avocent solution. It has helped them
The new solution enabled Manitoba Hydro
to free up valuable data centre space by
eliminating an abundance of unnecessary
keyboards and monitors. Cable clutter
achieve business goals by providing a very
efficient method to access servers – locally
Avocent Canada
and remotely – and take total control of
Toll-free Tel: 1.877.992.9239
their systems.
E-mail: [email protected]
Avocent DSR switching solutions offer a flexible,
scalable design that works with existing network
20 Mural Street, Unit 5
Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 1K3 Canada
Toll Free Tel: 1.877.992.9239
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