Deploypartners Case Study

Ergon Energy, a Queensland Government owned corporation owns, operates and maintains an electricity distribution network, supplying electricity to 97 percent of the state of Queensland. To support the maintenance and control operations for this energy supply network, Ergon Energy also operate and maintain a Telecommunications network that facilitates remote control and field services communication. In addition to this the communications network is utilised by Nexium Telecommunications, an Ergon Energy subsidiary, to provide retail services to government departments and agencies and wholesale services to carriers and carriage service providers.

An existing InfoVista system was responsible for monitoring the performance for around 30 percent of Ergon Energy’s IP networks.

The remainder of the network was monitored by a series of smaller systems, Ergon Energy Senior Telecommunications Specialist Luke Arnold explains. “At the time we had the option of expanding our usage and licensing with the other platforms or invest in a single system that would monitor across the entire network.”

The business required a single system that would integrate with the existing Health monitoring solution (Tivoli Netcool OMNIbus), to provide proactive feedback on network performance for five networks (Core Data, Operations, SCADA, P25 and Cellular), reduce repair time on up to 3000 devices, reduce discovery time of these devices down to less than 30 minutes, and decrease operational costs.

A single view

Ergon Energy turned again to the IBM CSI (Tivoli) service assurance products and solutions specialist, DeployPartners to obtain a real-time single view of the health and performance of their network infrastructure. A single solution that could provide a clear visual interface with which the network team could proactively recognise, diagnose and resolve network infrastructure performance faults was required.

Over a 4-month period from February 2014, DeployPartners rolled out the Tivoli Netcool Performance Manager (TNPM) solution to ensure the performance of their 2000+ network devices was actively monitored and alarmed. The DeployPartners installation process began with a ‘discovery’ of the network that was designed to identify the network scope. An inventory of the current assets was subsequently assembled.

These assets were mapped in order to provide the foundation for the visual representation of the network that operations would access. Monitoring systems called ‘Pollers’ were configured to interrogate the 2000 network devices. At this stage of development the type of dashboard views Ergon Energy wished to display were designed within the flexible dash-boarding tool.

The primary goal of the tool was to present complex operational performance information in a simple and logical way. The dashboard was subsequently configured to allow operators to use external applications such as Trouble Tickets and Helpdesk.

Tivoli Netcool OMNIbus increases efficiency by filtering events through an advanced problem escalation engine, thus enabling Ergon Energy’s operations staff to hone in on the most critical problems and even automate their isolation and resolution.

When the solution detects faults, probes installed on the network enable an alarm collection. Tivoli Netcool OMNIbus is able to accelerate high priority fault events, and support certain pop-up applications to provide faster alerts. They are then processed in a high-speed database that collects events from across the network infrastructure, in real-time.

The alarms are presented in a way that allows operators to gain a bird’s eye view of the networks. With this perspective, operators are able to efficiently identify the root of the issue and substantially reduce the time to repair.

A major benefit of the Tivoli Netcool solution is the web interface. Through access to the system, staff can access a wealth of useful information including up-to-date topological maps, tables, event lists and performance reports.

Instead of keeping track of the network by manually checking several screens hosting a variety of Network or Element Management Systems, operators can now monitor the network via a single display. As the solution is hosted on the web, this information can be accessed anywhere and at any time.

A Whole of Network Approach

At the end of the project DeployPartners has delivered to Ergon Energy the ability to manage health and performance using a single software solution across the whole network, in addition to configuration management and performance management.

Through the replacement of Infovista with TNPM, costs associated with monitoring the performance and capacity of IP based networks have been reduced and there is greater product integration with the existing event management system (OMNIbus).

“Having a single unified system that is used across our entire network is probably the major asset as opposed to previously having multiple different systems,” Luke Arnold explains. “That makes life easier for our operators as well as ongoing maintenance and support.”

Luke Arnold believes the chance of a problem being missed on the network is now slim. “Everything is now configured centrally in one system as opposed to multiple different systems. Previously it was possible some systems may not have been configured correctly or not unified across all the different systems.”

Luke Arnold believes the accuracy of the TNPM system is superior to the previous solution as the network can be configured more efficiently and effectively.