Turbonomic Customer Success Story: EDFRE Delivers the Cloud
I came across Turbonomic probably about three or four years ago when I worked for a different company. It was shown to me in a way that I didn’t really understand, but I did not like it. It looked like it was a job killer. Everyone’s afraid of the cloud, even though that’s here now. People think, “Oh, okay. So Amazon and Azure are going to steal my jobs,” and that’s what this kind of felt like to me. As I looked at it, it was automating processes within VMware that I did on a daily basis and I remember sitting there feeling pretty sorry for myself, that this product that I had avoided for three or four years now was going to be my responsibility.
My name’s Matt McColm and I am a senior data center engineer at EDF RE. EDF is a renewable energy company. We do wind power, solar power, but on a very large scale. EDFRE provides power to Google in Oklahoma to the tune of 225 megawatts. Microsoft has a wind-powered farm that they use for their operations in Illinois; it’s 175 megawatts. It’s not just all wind. We provide solar power to Safeway in Hawaii. A megawatt is a tremendous amount of energy, but we’re talking about a few hundred megawatts on a site. So projected costs on a wind-farm we’re standing up is about half a billion dollars. These are giant farms with a few hundred turbines and these turbines are a few hundred feet in the air. We’re providing power for the future and this is the way that the future is going and it’s a huge responsibility for the data center operations team in San Diego.
It’s one of those things that nobody sees the data center operations team until they actually need them when something’s going wrong at 2:00 in the morning. We provide a service that can’t be stopped, so we have to always be best of breed and we automate a lot. We were looking for something similar to an autonomic system, something that was always there, but we didn’t really know we needed it until it actually happened and then it jumped in and did something for us. And I remember poking around and starting to look at what it was doing and looking at the examination between our vCenter and what Turbonomic was doing and after I saw it start to move things around independently and make accurate autonomic decisions for me, it kind of started to click and it kind of had one of the “aha” moments.
What Turbonomic is moving is it’s moving VMs between hosts and that is something that I was doing manually before. I’d have to sit there and look at the CPU, look at the memory count, and I don’t have to do that. It just does it for me. I don’t do that calculation anymore. It knows what I have at all times. Now that decision is made for me within 30 seconds and it’s…the move is made for me. I mean, the cost win on that is just astronomical.
One of the things that I have really driven, based off Turbonomic decision-making, is to have the ability to make our own cloud. In the past, if you put a ticket in with a cloud provider, it takes you a week, sometimes maybe a few days, to get a VM stood up and ready to go. EDFRE prides itself on providing turnaround with VMs within a day. We have these environments that we can spin up on the fly and we do this efficiently with Turbonomic. They make the decision with the product for us to provide these environments.
So I mean, I avoided Turbonomic like the plague for a very long time. It’s something that I wish I had used years ago and it’s something that I will use for the rest of my career. I don’t want to run a data center without it. It’s always on, it’s always there and I don’t have to think about it.