IBM Business Analytics Forum 2012

Shikoku Electric Power Company strengthens communications with IBM Lotus Notes and Domino

Published on 29 Oct 2009

"By integrating multiple Lotus Notes/Domino servers in a System z, operations and management are simplified. We value the virtualization technology highly because it is not necessary to purchase hardware in order to install a new server." - Haruo Kanetake, System Promotion Group Assistant Leader, Shikoku Electric Power Company

Customer:
Shikoku Electric Power Company, Incorporated

Industry:
Energy & Utilities, Media & Entertainment

Deployment country:
Japan

Solution:
Collaborative Innovation, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Virtualization

Overview

One of 10 electric utilities in Japan that generates and delivers power locally, Shikoku Electric Power Company supplies electrical service to more than 2.8 million people. As part of the Yonden Group, a multiple utility business group, the company has expanded beyond the electrical service infrastructure it originally developed and now offers new data communications services, including cable TV, Internet and phone service over fiber to the home (FTTH).

Business need:
To implement a communications system for knowledge sharing throughout the company, including critical information to enable rapid recovery from power outages during emergencies

Solution:
Employ virtualization to deploy multiple IBM Lotus Notes and Domino servers on an IBM System z9 Business Class server, and use the resulting expanded software implementation as the basis for a new knowledge sharing system

Benefits:
Extends the value of existing IT investments in IBM technology, simplifies operations and systems management, and enables cost-efficient scalability by using virtualization to add servers rather than buying new physical equipment

Case Study

One of 10 electric utilities in Japan that generates and delivers power locally, Shikoku Electric Power Company supplies electrical service to more than 2.8 million people. As part of the Yonden Group, a multiple utility business group, the company has expanded beyond the electrical service infrastructure it originally developed and now offers new data communications services, including cable TV, Internet and phone service over fiber to the home (FTTH).

Realizing the value of groupware as a communications tool

Since 1997, Shikoku Electric has used IBM Lotus Notes® and Lotus® Domino® for the company’s groupware—initially just for internal e-mail, but eventually on a larger and larger scale. Today, it has become indispensable for guaranteeing that the company can continuously provide service to customers—not just on an everyday basis, but also when there are emergencies.

“Lotus Notes/Domino has deeply penetrated the entire company, and is now indispensable for daily business. Today, knowledge is shared throughout the company, in the form of daily business manuals and recovery procedures for equipment problems, by using groupware. This ensures that even during an emergency such as a major earthquake, we can recover quickly from a power outage,” says Shinji Nakauchi, System Promotion Group Leader in the company’s data systems department. “The outage therefore doesn’t impact the customer, and we are able to fulfill our mission of providing electricity to people.”

Designing a new system based on existing technology strengths

When Shikoku Electric began to look at setting up a new system for internal communications, the company’s existing Lotus Notes/Domino implementation seemed a logical starting point. At the time, about 6,000 employees were already using Lotus Notes/Domino to send more than 14,000,000 e-mail transmissions annually. The system also included a database of about 6,500 documents, as well as a workflow system that was being used throughout the organization.

“We investigated the system with a focus on improved service levels and improved security management, including trace auditing,” says Haruo Kanetake, System Promotion Group Assistant Leader in the data systems department. To achieve improved service levels, the company took advantage of the wide-area high-speed network and data center operated by STNet, another member of the Yonden Group, to make it possible to provide service even in the event of a catastrophe such as an earthquake.

“When we were setting up the new system, we took into account preparations for such emergencies, believing that it was necessary to provide higher reliability than in the past,” recalls Nakauchi. “And we studied the requirements for continuous business operation.”

Using virtualization to simplify and scale

While Shikoku Electric has historically relied on a number of UNIX® servers to support the company’s groupware environment, the expanded Lotus Notes/Domino solution runs on an IBM System z9® Business Class (BC) server.

“We considered setting up multiple UNIX servers with a redundant configuration, but after studying the number of servers that would be needed at the backup computer center to handle problems, it appeared that both the cost and the operational load would be excessive,” Kanetake explains. “The IBM System z® uses open-source Linux® and virtualization technology to provide multiple copies of Lotus Notes/Domino in one machine. The reliability that the central system demonstrates is also realized in the open environment, making this an effective system structure.”

Achieving a wide range of benefits

Shikoku Electric’s new communications system connects redundant IBM System z9 BC machines in the main computer center and the backup computer center with 100 Mbps high-speed circuits, creating a Domino cluster that can synchronize data across the servers in real time. By minimizing unplanned outages during emergencies as well as planned maintenance outages, it is an infrastructure that prepares the company for emergencies over a wide area.

By deploying multiple virtual Lotus Notes/Domino servers on the IBM mainframe platform, the company simplifies operations and management and is able to better control both hardware and software expenses. “We value the virtualization technology highly because it is not necessary to purchase hardware in order to install a new server,” says Kanetake. “Rather, we simply add a virtual server.”

In addition, through server consolidation, the data center space required for the system has been reduced to about one-third. The network equipment is also extremely simple. The System z9 BC installed at the main computer center uses five special-purpose Linux processors (Integrated Facility for Linux, or IFL). The System z9 BC at the backup computer center generally runs only one IFL, although when there is an emergency, a capacity backup (CBU) configuration provides four backup IFLs with the same processing ability as in the main environment.

Evaluating the new system for future use

The new communications system at Shikoku Electric has provided better reliability and security. By strengthening basic access control and setting up a framework to address the issue of information leakage, including the capturing of logs for trace management, the company has created an environment of improved governance.

“We believe we have succeeded in deploying a system that is easy to use, with high reliability and security,” says Nakauchi. “It is currently centered on Shikoku Electric, but in the future, it will be expanded to the entire Yonden Group, with the goal of being able to provide better service to customers. We are also investigating a future portal configuration to more effectively use the knowledge that is being accumulated every day by the system, both within our company and throughout the Yonden Group.”

Components

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
IFL, System z: System z9, System z: System z9 Business Class (z9 BC)

Software:
Lotus Domino (US), Lotus Notes, Linux (US)

Operating system:
Linux (US), Novell SUSE Linux

Legal Information

For more information Contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner. Visit us at: ibm.com/systems/z For more information about Shikoku Electric, visit: www.yonden.co.jp/english/index.html © Copyright IBM Corporation 2009 IBM Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, New York 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America November 2009 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Domino, Lotus and Lotus Notes are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries or both. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. Offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Performance data for IBM and non-IBM products and services contained in this document was derived under specific operating and environmental conditions. The actual results obtained by any party implementing such products or services will depend on a large number of factors specific to such party’s operating environment and may vary significantly. IBM makes no representation that these results can be expected or obtained in any implementation of any such products or services. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS-IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. ZSC03063-USEN-00

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