IT overhaul helps Croke Park score ISO sustainability goal

4 Jun 2014

Pictured: Edel Creely, managing director, Trilogy Technologies, Declan Fanning, IT manager, GAA and John Casey, sales director, Trilogy

A focus on sustainable IT has enabled Dublin’s Croke Park to become one of the first sports stadiums in the world to achieve the ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System International Standard.

ISO 20121 is designed to help venues and organisations, such as Croke Park and the GAA, to recognise their impact on the economy, society and the environment.

“In order to maintain and improve our event sustainability management system still further, we identified areas where we could cut down energy costs and, at the same time, improve efficiency.” Tracy Bunyan, Deputy Head of Stadium Operations at Croke Park. 

An audit of Croke Park’s core server technology infrastructure by Trilogy Technologies led to the deployment of a more centralized server and storage architecture that would be more energy efficient.

Trilogy then drew up a strategy with the GAA IT Department to design a Private Cloud solution that encompassed current requirements with future growth while containing Croke Park’s IT budget. 

As part of this strategy, it focused on new ways to maximize resource efficiency through consolidation and virtualization. 

Moving to a virtualised environment would result in improved ease of management with impressive power consumption and air conditioning savings.

By consolidating applications that had been running on physical servers throughout the business to virtual servers, IT staff could efficiently manage the applications from a single point of control.

“Our core IT Infrastructure was one such area identified to improve sustainability,” Declan Fanning, IT Manager GAA. 

“Servers had been procured over time to support specific tasks and projects, resulting in servers employing different operating systems and hardware builds. 

“Conducting updates was, therefore, a complex and time consuming process, whilst additional hardware would often have to be commissioned to support new applications.” 

Trilogy implemented a private cloud infrastructure built around energy efficient NetApp Storage and VMWare VSphere Software.

The project has enabled Croke Park to replace over 30 physical servers with the new Private Cloud Infrastructure.

The new infrastructure provides Croke Park Stadium with a readily available fully redundant platform to run its core administration, match day and building management systems while offering automatic failover, business continuity and disaster recovery.

Green IT initiatives

In compliance with Croke Park Stadium’s energy efficiency initiatives, the new Private Cloud Infrastructure has a power consumption of 10,512 kWh compared to the previous physical infrastructure which consumed approximately 70,080 kWh. In annual savings that results in savings of 59,568 kWh. 

The annual environmental impact results in savings in carbon emissions of 31.61 kg which is equivalent to 13 cars off the road and 42 newly planted broadleaf trees.

Tracking power usage to eliminate waste can lead to huge cost savings. With the new solutions, real-time monitoring allows Croke Park to comprehensively track where and how electricity is consumed and can offer opportunities to better manage and even reduce a server’s power draw. 

The complete solution is underpinned by a 24/7/365 outsourced Trilogy Managed Service contract for a fully outsourced helpdesk, the on-going administration and management of the infrastructure including match day support with added application and system monitoring all of which is reported via the Trilogy edge/point portal.

“The virtualised cloud based solution that Trilogy has implemented for us gives Croke Park the stability and performance boost that we needed to meet our sustainability initiatives and reduce costs,” Fanning added. 

“Sustainability can achieve significant cost savings through resource efficiency.”

Trilogy Technologies is a Silicon Republic Featured Employer, comprised of top tech companies that are hiring now

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years