Growth made possible by virtualized IT: the Trieste Marine Terminal

“We have chosen Infonet because we needed a partner that could support us – also in terms of expertise – in managing an IT architecture change, which we would have found hard to handle ourselves. It’s also for this reason that we have decided to use their remote assistance service”

Luigi Streri, head of IT at Trieste Marine Terminal

Located in a strategic position for the handling of goods between the far-eastern and central-eastern Europe, the Trieste Marine Terminal has increased its business volumes over the years aiming to maintain a positive trend in the future. Within a wider technology investment plan, the management has therefore decided to replace the Terminal operating system – the hub core – adopting NAVIS, a modern and complete software fully developed by the same US software house.

NAVIS will enable us to redesign all our processes in a more efficient way – explains Luigi Streri, head of IT at Trieste Marine Terminal – thus allowing us to connect the central system to the software managing the cranes, to further automate the activities at the terminal. At the same time, we needed to envisage an increase in IT infrastructure performances and storage to support the growth of volumes and hence information

However, to be able to adopt NAVIS, the TMT had to take an important decision to abandon the proprietary IT architecture they had previously adopted, in favour of developing an X86 server-based virtualized system instead. It has been a remarkable step for TMT since three specialists work in the IT department and the competencies to be able to migrate and manage the new architecture are still being enhanced. Therefore, a supplier and a partner, Infonet, were selected, to guarantee state-of-the-art technology and adequate know-how.

Following a thorough analysis of several options, TMT chose six X86 servers and two HPE 3PAR fibre optic storage systems. Besides operating efficiency, the company was seeking absolute continuity and availability, given that the terminal operates 365 days per year, 24h per day.

Advanced technology and remote assistance.

With the help of the Infonet and HPE engineers, Trieste Marine Terminal has implemented two different virtualized infrastructures in a VMware environment: the former intended to support the terminal general services, the latter only for NAVIS, the new Terminal operating system. The IT configuration is complemented by the Microsoft SQL Server environment and the Veeam backup system. The two virtual infrastructures lie on two data centres located in different places of the terminal and connected by fibre optic, the standard for HPE 3PAR architecture, to guarantee business continuity in the event of malfunction or unexpected events.

Selecting the most appropriate storage was a natural choice. Modern architecture was being sought, able to ensure continuity and performances (in particular in terms of I/O), alongside easy management and clustering. HPE 3PAR could offer all this, but to achieve greater reliability, given that in-house expertise was not particularly developed in that kind of environment, Infonet was included in the project to supply an effective remote assistance service, which, together with HPE engineers, could proactively warn in case of problems.

Thanks to HPE technology and the experience Infonet has gained, the system will be active from May 2017, but the architecture monitoring activities are already running and have demonstrated considerable operating efficiency.

“The combination between HPE and Infonet is the perfect mix of innovation and knowhow we had been looking for to undertake a path that is so innovative and important to us – continues Streri – but the most striking aspect is the helpfulness of all technicians who are always there to assist us”

Future is automation.

With the support of Infonet, TMT has completed the various stages of the project which, once finalized, will envisage the activation of a customized 24/7 assistance contract by the partner whilst the 3PAR systems will be directly supervised by HPE engineers.

“The investments in technological renovation by the company won’t stop here – concluded Streri. Part of the EUR 70 million allocated to renovating infrastructures and equipment will be invested to continue increasing innovation at the terminal, automating also the gate (for the entry and exit of trucks) and crane activities”