PEC Utility Management
Commvault provided PEC Utility Management (PEC) with a data backup and management solution that integrates with PEC’s Nutanix cluster and Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC), giving it a single view across all systems and providing real-time reporting and remediation
- Lack of unified and centralised backup system
- A requirement for integration with Oracle RAC and Nutanix cluster
- Inadequate and inefficient data management
- Commvault backup and recovery software with Commvault IntelliSnap® data management solution
- Seamless integration with Nutanix cluster and Oracle RAC
- Centrally managed solution offering a single view of data across all systems
- All-in-one offering
- Fast deployment
- Best-in-class data management
- Streamlined processes
- Reduced strain on resources
- Utility management, distribution and billing
- Pretoria, with offices in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Namibia, Angola and Sierra Leone
- 500 employees
- Nutanix cluster: 58 windows servers, backed up via IntelliSnap
- SQL servers – SQL databases – virtual
- ICE Utility and Field Service
- Sage X3 ERP
- Sage X3 CRM
- Sage X3 People
- DocuVision eDMS
- SuperMicro (Nutanix Servers and Oracle RAC)
- Mellanox (networking)
- Fujitsu (backup)
As a platform, I highly recommend Commvault’s IntelliSnap solution. It is capable of managing and integrating with a vast landscape, with relative ease. It is a complex solution, however, it is simple to access and use.— Gerhard Breytenbach, IT Manager
PEC Utility Management
PEC Utility Management provides proactive utility management services across all utilities, including power, water, waste and gas. The company also offers sub-metering to multi-tenant buildings and property managers through a network of established regional offices, in a variety of both traditional and modern service packages customised to meet specific client needs. Services include utility consumption management, smart metering, technical support, local supply authority auditing and customer service in support of landlords, supply authorities, property managers and tenants.
PEC Utility Management also leverages the support of a specialised software environment for data acquisition, formatting, billing and reporting of utility usage; plus energy and solar generation solutions management utilising state of the art smart metering applications.
As an energy and utility managing service provider, PEC Utility Management initiates and maintains a direct relationship with local supply authorities (councils), and its dedicated council support departments make every effort in resolving any supply authority anomalies.
In order to deliver optimal customer service by providing customers with immediate insight into its current and historic utility usage, a single view, unified and centralised data management and backup is critical to an organisation like PEC Utility Management, which receives a constant flow of mission critical data from multiple data sources.
“The advent of smart metering as part of our service offering led to an increased demand by customers for real-time reporting, including tapping into historic data, and an increase in the number of customers we had. We realised we needed a modern solution, which would offer immediate, easily accessible visibility into our customers and their services, as well as the ability to generate reports and invoices on demand,” said Gerhard Breytenbach, IT Manager at PEC Utility Management.
Commvault’s solution provides PEC Utility Management with the ability to protect its operational systems and information from a single data backup and management platform.
“For pre-paid services, having accurate insight into usage means we can provide elevated customer service by proactively engaging with customers when they approach their usage limits. In this way, customers can be reminded to top up and are less likely to run out of basic utilities such as water and electricity. It also allows for better management of disputes in the event of non-payment,” said Breytenbach.
An integrated solution that fits in seamlessly with other key technologies is essential for an organisation to move from a manual process to a system driven, more automated process. PEC Utility Management relies on Oracle for its billing, customer and financial data management, which leverages a Nutanix cluster for high performance block storage via Nutanix’s Acropolis Block Services (ABS). It required a backup and data management system that would easily integrate with both technologies.
At the time of implementation, Commvault’s data backup and management solution was the only option available on the market that could seamlessly integrate with both, affirming Commvault’s ability to provide cutting-edge solutions. “Even though we opted for a unique solution where our Oracle RAC exists outside of our Nutanix cluster, but utilises storage within the cluster, it did not pose a problem for Commvault, and the solution integrates perfectly despite the complexity,” said Breytenbach.
Data protection and backup that caters for growth
PEC Utility Management continues to innovate in response to customer demand. Smart meters that deliver near real-time statistics and systems that enable integrated transactions to run across them as well as between PEC and its customers are just the start. PEC continues to expand into other markets and regions, growing its customer base, the number of technologies and systems it needs to integrate with.
PEC’s previous backup and recovery solution consisted of legacy infrastructure, standalone servers and typical data silos. As PEC’s business model changed from being a billing and processing company to one that was required to provide accurate, near real-time information to customers, so the need to change its data management and storage solution evolved.
Commvault’s solution integrates with PEC’s existing technology and is elastic enough to scale as required. Its ability to integrate with multiple technologies and systems makes it an attractive investment for future growth, as well.
All-in-one, centrally-managed solution
The requirement was for a data backup and management solution that not only integrated with existing technologies but also allowed for automation and single-view operation. PEC’s infrastructure changed from legacy, where backup software was installed at all touch points to a hyperconverged solution that required more management capability.
Commvault provided a solution that allows for virtual servers and data residing in PEC’s Enterprise Cloud to be categorised, backed up and archived as, and when, required. The flexibility of the Commvault solution resulted in a considerable cost saving in terms of licensing. With operations across South Africa and other parts of Africa, PEC required a centralised system that was able to store and manage data from multiple touch points. Commvault’s ability to deliver a solution that does more than simply store data, means that PEC is able to access and use its backup data from anywhere, realising the value of its data beyond simply disaster recovery.
In a landscape defined by the regulatory environment, it has become increasingly important to be able to prove what data a business has, where it resides and how well it is protected. Legislation requires that PEC retain all customer transactional data for a minimum period of 36 months, while financial data must be kept for at least five years. Commvault’s solution can easily report on data types and location, and is a secure, well-protected repository for long-term data storage.
Fast deployment and hands-on customer service
The Commvault solution was deployed quickly through Commvault integration partner, Gabsten Technologies. Assistance was also provided with change management, providing support to PEC through hands-on user training.
Breytenbach said: “We have been incredibly impressed with the level of support offered by both Commvault and our integrators, Gabsten Technologies. We invested a considerable sum of money in both this solution and changing our overall business model. Support is critical to what we do, enabling us to better help our own customers, and Commvault has remained a very visible presence, during and indeed post-implementation.”
Going forward, we wish to explore additional facets of our solution such as email archiving and end-point protection,” said Breytenbach.