East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative
East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative (ECI REC) is a 34-person, locally owned and operated electric distribution cooperative that serves more than 8,700 member accounts. ECI REC operates and maintains more than 2,275 miles of electric lines throughout 11 counties: Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Iowa, Johnson, Linn, and Tama. Its line crews are based out of operation centers in Independence and Vinton.
East-Central Iowa REC was outgrowing its existing cluster (group of hosts). The cooperative’s IT staff wanted to increase capacity of the utility’s hosts and find a better storage solution.
They also wanted to virtualize more IT infrastructure to reduce costs, minimize downtime, and improve recovery time objective (RTO), which would reduce the amount of time it takes to restore data after an unexpected disruption.
Based on a long-term working relationship, East-Central Iowa REC asked CEC about potential options to cost effectively achieve their goals. The proposed solution from CEC was a system that’s half the size of the system currently in use: It included three servers, two switches, and a SAN (storage area network).
Now that the new system is in place, East-Central Iowa REC has:
- A storage device that increases usable space through deduplication and compression, achieving 30 TB of space while only using 4 TB.
- Predictive analytics that address issues before they’re noticed – which came in handy after a SAN hard drive started to fail. A replacement arrived before the IT team even knew about the issue.
- Reduced capital and operating infrastructure costs by decreasing from 15 to three physical servers.
- The ability to access backup recovery immediately, moving from an RTO of weeks to just five minutes.
- The ability to reuse the existing cluster for its disaster recovery site – a feature that East-Central Iowa REC didn’t have before.
- Protection if the utility’s network fails and IT systems stop working.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with CEC. Once everything was onsite, racked, and ready to go for this project, we were up and running within a week.”