The Credit Valley Conservation is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, restoring, and managing natural resources at the watershed level. To meet their mission, the CVC maintains a network of sensors that monitor water levels across the region and selected the Scale Computing Platform to gather and share measurement data with residents and other regional authority organizations.
- Collect and transmit data from 40 sensors that provide monitoring data across the entire watershed area
- Limited budget and staff to manage both their internal network and data generated from the sensor network
- Manage a high volume of machine-generated data across multiple monitoring stations across the watershed area
- Deliver a new IT infrastructure in a compressed eight-month schedule
THE SCALE COMPUTING SOLUTION
- Scale Computing Platform can be deployed quickly and is easy to manage
- Self-healing, intelligent automation enables IT to spend less time on time-consuming manual tasks
- Cost-effective with no additional virtualization licensing fees
- Supports a full stack of applications, including SQL databases and proprietary applications
- One Easy Platform to Manage All Applications: The flexibility of Scale Computing Platform makes it easy for CVC to mix and match appliances depending on the needs of the application
- Accelerated Build Out: CVC IT team requested 18 months to build out the system, but was given a deadline to complete it within eight months. The simplicity and automation of Scale Computing HyperCore enabled CVC to stand up a new infrastructure while staying under budget
- Streamlined Processing: The CVC processing engine runs on the Scale Computing cluster, which collects sensor data and feeds critical watershed data live to its website
- Built-in Resilience: Seamless integration with Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud provides business continuity, backup, and rapid local recovery to the more than 300 CVC employees
As a non-profit organization, we must be judicious about every dollar we spend and when we looked at the high cost and licensing fees of VMware to virtualize our environment, there was simply no comparison.— Caswell Allen, Sr. Technical Advisor, Credit Valley Conservation
Build Out a Robust New Infrastructure on a Tight Budget
As our global climate changes in unprecedented and unpredictable ways, state and local entities are looking to new distributed technologies to help us adapt to an evolving environment. The Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is a small organization with a big charter: to manage, preserve, and ensure the long-term health of the 860 square kilometer Credit River watershed.
A watershed is simply defined as an area of land that drains surface water and groundwater into a river or stream. Healthy watersheds provide critical services, such as clean drinking water, and productive fisheries that support our economies, environment and quality of life. Situated within one of the most-densely populated regions of Canada, the Credit River watershed contains some of the most diverse landscapes in southern Ontario and the CVC is given broad authority for managing this valuable resource on behalf of its 750,000 residents.
As the Sr. Technical Advisor, Caswell Allen is part of the 12-person team that manages IT for the CVC and its 300 employees who work across the region. He’s also responsible for building and maintaining the infrastructure to support both the organization’s daily operations and ensuring that the authority’s network of 40 sensors remain online and operational.
This sensor network has been vital in understanding and monitoring flow dynamics throughout the Credit Valley watershed. The remote network allows the CVC, its constituents, and decision makers to observe and adapt to changes in flow dynamics across seasons, conditions, and long-term climate changes. Says Mr. Allen, “these sensors send vital information in real time on current environmental conditions. This allows us to better understand, predict and warn about flooding, threats to water quality, and low water levels.”
With the development of these innovative and distributed systems, however, comes the technical requirement of how to process large volumes of high-frequency monitoring data, not to mention the challenge of how to log, transmit, store, and share the resulting data with both internal and external stakeholders.
Simple, scalable and easy to maintain
The CVC was previously a tenant of another neighboring region, which meant that infrastructure components such as their storage area network (SAN) were shared resources. However, as urbanization in the region increased along with demand for water, the CVC decided it was time to branch off and build their own dedicated IT infrastructure.
While building a net new infrastructure can be a daunting task, not being constrained by existing legacy technologies can also confer certain advantages. However, the CVC IT leadership team still needed to evaluate the various IT solution providers in the market and determine the most cost-effective new infrastructure environment. Following a comprehensive review of vendors, CVC chose Scale Computing over a competing VMWare-based solution due to the completeness of its capabilities relative to its total cost and “the ease of managing an all-in-one canned solution.”
The Scale Computing cluster is also used to manage the CVC internal network along with a full suite of applications including its SQL server databases and a number of proprietary applications that include the infrastructure supporting its network of watershed sensor data. The sensors that are scattered across the region generate a high volume of machine data since they are being polled every minute and then must transfer that data back to a centralized processing engine before being fed to the CVC website, so the ability to automatically optimize network performance would be foundational to its success as a long-term solution.
Mr. Allen was also impressed by the small footprint of Scale Computing Platform, saying that, “years ago we would require a dedicated room to house all of these systems. Now our four node SC//HyperCore system can fit in just a third of a single rack. Because we don’t have to power dedicated servers for our network, storage and applications, we’ve been able to significantly reduce our electrical consumption, which for an environmental non-profit is always top of mind."
The value of Scale Computing Platform is quickly realized and delivers exactly what it says it will. From our perspective, the platform doesn’t have any shortcomings and is an ideal solution for any small to midsize organization.— Caswell Allen, Sr. Technical Advisor, Credit Valley Conservation
A Modern Hyperconverged Infrastructure to Meet Climate Challenges of Tomorrow
Since deploying Scale Computing Platform, the CVC and the IT team have realized a wide range of benefits that have improved the overall efficiency of their operations and have enabled them to keep their IT costs under control without having to hire additional IT experts to manage daily operations.
As Mr. Allen notes, “our Scale Computing deployment is truly an all-in-one solution that meets both our IT and OT requirements - from running commercial and custom-built applications that our employees use to stay productive to processing and serving the sensor data that feed our website with the real-time water level data that our constituents demand.”
The built-in resiliency of Scale Computing Platform which features integration with the Acronis Cyber Backup has also provided the team at CVC with peace of mind knowing that data is being actively protected and can be rapidly recovered in the event of a system disruption.
Finally, the overall savings that CVC has realized with Scale Computing has also enabled the CVC to conserve precious budget. Says Mr. Allen, “as a non-profit environmental organization, we must be judicious about every dollar we spend and when we looked at the cost and licensing fees of VMware to virtualize our environment, there was no comparison in terms of the value we were getting.”