ESB awards €2.3m contract to LAN Comms

14 Sep 2004

Ahead of the arrival of deregulation in the electricity generation industry, the ESB has awarded a three-year €2.3m draw-down contract for IT equipment to Dublin-based network integrator LAN Communications (LAN Comms) following a competitive tender.

Under the terms of the deal, Eircom-owned LAN Comms will supply LAN and WAN infrastructure equipment to ESB in support of its on-going network infrastructure upgrade. Individual business units across 160 locations will share IT services from dual data centres, centrally delivered across secure, high-speed links and managed from ESB headquarters.

“Market deregulation and the need to provide highly available applications with full disaster recovery services across two independent data centres has presented us with a unique opportunity to streamline the way in which we traditionally deliver IT services,” explained Tony Keane, IT technical services manager at the ESB. “Splitting business units into separate logical networks that share the same physical infrastructure but communicate independently of one another is a new approach which will allow us to build a more responsive, efficient and fault-tolerant IT infrastructure for the ESB group of companies.”

Under deregulation, the ESB will continue to provide meter-reading services for all electricity market participants, hence the creation of a new data centre, the function of which is to provide full disaster recovery facilities for the main data centre which houses production services.

“As part of the deal, we supplied a range of next generation switches and routers to provide secure, high-speed, resilient connections with full fail-over enabled between the two sites,” commented Neil Wisdom, sales director, LAN Comms.

In addition, a plan to replace all routers on the network over the next 12-18 months will also allow the ESB to benefit from advanced features such as quality of service or traffic prioritisation.

Future-proofing the network infrastructure was also a key requirement for ESB and all newly installed routers are capable of accommodating operational traffic as well as voice traffic, when required. “Voice-over IP is firmly on the radar for us,” said Keane. “We now have the comfort of knowing that our network infrastructure is multi-media enabled and ready to carry voice or other latency-sensitive traffic as and when we decide to deploy it.”

This is the second public sector deal LAN Comms has secured in the past year, following its recent signing of a similar draw-down contract with Eastern Health Shared Services valued at €2m over three years.

By Brian Skelly