Warwickshire-based utility company Severn Trent Water has implemented a SAP business intelligence solution, and taken the opportunity to decommision a mainframe of a type it had been running since the 1980s.
Severn Trent Water CTO William Hewish told Computing that implementing SAP left only a small number of applications on the organisation's mainframe.
"After implementing SAP our mainframe was left with a number of small but critical applications running on it, so we had a great business case to replatform them.
"Some of the applications moved into SAP and some into [Microsoft collaboration software] SharePoint."
He explained that the critical applications needed to be redeveloped in order to be moved off the mainframe. Decommissioning this legacy system has saved the company hundreds of thousands of pounds in running costs.
Longer term, Hewish's strategy is also to consolidate down from five to two datacentres.
"We have a strategy to migrate to dual datacentres. We currently have five sites with server rooms – which effectively count as datacentres. This will simplify our estate, reduce our costs and will give us the opportunity to improve our resilience further. During the consolidation other systems will be decommissioned."
Hewish is also examining the possibilities offered by big data, with the extensive sensor network he operates throughout the utility firm's network of water pipes.
"In the water industry we have tens of thousands of loggers placed around thousands of miles of underground water pipes. We use these loggers to monitor water pressure and flow rate. Monitoring and trending this data allows us to identify underground leaks that would otherwise go undetected.
"I am looking at big data technologies to see if we can intercept the data from the thousands of loggers in real-time, to quickly make sense of and analyse the data, and target leakage reduction teams even faster than we do today."
Sometimes, the power of the mainframe is the most cost effective answer. Computing's Peter Gothard puts Computing's readers' questions on the future of the mainframe to IBM's Z13 expert Steven Dickens.
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