Haven Power is an energy company based in Ipswich UK and serves the electricity needs of small to medium sized business customers across the East of England. The company was started in 2006 and now has more than 350 staff and revenues of more than £125 million (EUR150 million, USD 190 million).
Haven Power earned the number one position in Datamonitor’s B2B Energy Consumer Survey for 2010/11, which looks at customer satisfaction across key areas relating to electricity procurement and account management. Haven’s focus on customer service has fuelled a rapid level of growth since its launch and in early 2009 the company was acquired by Drax Group Plc, one of the UK's largest generation groups. Following this move the company's customer base has expanded significantly and now includes some of the UK's leading business names.
With Haven Power's customer base growing rapidly they needed a technology infrastructure that could keep up with demand. In 2011, Paul Armstrong was recruited by the organisation as Business Systems Manager with a remit to look at everything in the IT estate. Until Paul was brought in, the company’s IT had mixed virtualisation and was made up of a mixture of onsite and offsite servers. Its systems were not as flexible as it would have liked, it had limited support for technology testing and development. It had invested in technology on a reactive basis as a result of business change rather than to drive growth.
Haven Power also had limited disaster recovery capability at the time, which became an overriding concern that had to be addressed quickly. In 2011, Paul embarked on a project with the backing of IT services firm Smart421, to implement a complete business continuity and disaster recovery plan. This work was undertaken to build systems to support the current and future growth of the business.
Haven Power looked at three options for their business continuity and disaster recovery plan. The first option was to get disaster recovery though the datacentre of its parent company Drax Group. The second option was for a re-location disaster recovery service through a third-party and the final option was a cloud-based service. After a consultation period with Smart421, Haven Power decided to implement their business continuity and disaster recovery solution using Amazon Web Services (AWS).
“We sent the tenders out in January and February and by April we had started moving our disaster recovery to the cloud” said Paul Armstrong. “Having a robust disaster recovery plan in place was important to us as a company and we needed to do it quickly and as cost effectively as possible. The natural choice for us was to go to the cloud.”
As part of the disaster recovery plan Haven Power and Smart421 set about building a replica copy of the majority of their technology infrastructure sitting in the AWS cloud. For this Haven Power has Oracle and SQL Server databases, Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Windows file shares and other Amazon Machine Images hosted in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) in the EU (Ireland) Region in Dublin, ready to go at a moment’s notice should something happen. AWS services Haven Power is using include:
- Compute: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)
- Storage: Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)
- Networking: Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC)
- Deployment & Management: Smart421’s ‘SmartSentinel’, an AWS Resource Management tool utilising AWS APIs and Amazon Smple Notification Service (Amazon SNS)
- Support: Smart421’s Cloud Service Management capability
“We are very happy with the flexibility, agility and cost savings that an AWS disaster recovery solution affords us” adds Paul Armstrong. “Working with AWS for our disaster recovery led us to investigate using AWS for our development and testing. As we only need compute power for short periods of time, for our development and testing, the cloud means we pay for only what we use. Also, because we don’t need to spend time maintaining infrastructure my team can spend more time on using technology to improve our service to customers and helping the company grow.”