Centralize and Simplify City Council Systems To Safeguard Public Services
With around 250,000 inhabitants, Graz is the second largest city in Austria. It is a manufacturing hub for a range of goods as well as the cultivation of fruit and cereal crops. The City Council of Graz has extensive responsibilities, including providing waste, water and education services. It is also pioneering a number of smart city initiatives.
ITG is a function of the City Council, providing IT services to numerous internal departments as well as other public authorities and selected commercial enterprises. As a central service provider, ITG sets the IT strategy for the City Council and provides the IT services needed to facilitate core municipal functions, from scheduling public transport to approving planning applications. The 84-strong ITG team supports 8,000 City Council users across 210 locations throughout Graz.
Balancing data availability with security is a top priority for ITG and the City Council, which handles a lot of sensitive information on local citizens and businesses. “Our goal is to deliver efficient and secure IT services to the city's administration, so they can better support the local community,” explains Siegfried Fassolter, Department Head at ITG. “Being able to store, protect and access internal and external data is essential to this goal.”
A growing volume of data and various organizational changes had resulted in a complex, heterogeneous infrastructure. Support for some systems was ending, and the infrastructure was not keeping pace with the changing requirements of the City Council and other ITG customers.
To simplify day-to-day infrastructure management and support future initiatives, ITG decided to deploy a range of new systems that would enable a more centralized approach. "We wanted an easy-to-manage, scalable solution that could grow with the requirements of running a modern city. At the same time, we wanted to cut costs in order to remain competitive,” comments Fassolter.
Cost-Effective and Agile Infrastructure
The transformation initially began with the installation of an original Hitachi converged solution, which provided the foundations for a virtual server farm. Later, this was upgraded to the converged infrastructure Hitachi Unified Compute Platform CI (UCP CI), which combines all-flash storage with Hitachi’s next-generation of network and compute hardware.
"We selected Hitachi Vantara as our transformation partner, as its solutions can be combined to form a homogeneous platform. This means we can continue to adapt the infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of the City Council," says Andreas Weiler, ITG’s Team Leader responsible for the Hitachi platform. “The modular nature of Hitachi’s converged systems makes deployment quick and easy,” adds Weiler.
ITG has now migrated 95% of its infrastructure to the Hitachi solutions, which can be updated and expanded based on future business needs. ITG currently operates 800 virtual machines running on 42 Hitachi UCP servers, which provide the backbone for core public administration systems, such as Microsoft Office applications and email services.
Hitachi content solutions have also been integrated into the IT landscape, replacing the incumbent solution at two data centers operated by ITG. To securely store and manage historical data, which is generated at a rapid pace by city initiatives such as aerial mapping, ITG implemented Hitachi Content Platform (HCP). And to increase collaboration, the team also added Hitachi Content Platform Anywhere (HCP Anywhere) to introduce file-sync-and-share capabilities.
By ensuring employees have secure and reliable access to data, the City Council can respond to queries more quickly and execute key processes more efficiently.
Head of Department ITG
More Efficient Delivery of Public Services
By migrating to Hitachi solutions, the City of Graz now has a central and agile infrastructure supporting all departments. Automation capabilities powered by Hitachi UCP Advisor and ecosystem integrations have made managing the infrastructure much simpler, and cheaper.
“Thanks to Hitachi UCP CI, we now need 80% less rack space to store the same amount of data,” says Fassolter. This has contributed to a 45% decrease in energy consumption and costs within ITG’s data centers, which supports the council’s sustainability goals.
“Hitachi Vantara helped us establish a secure and stable platform that is future-proofed to meet the needs of a smart and green city. We can now offer better IT performance for a lower price,” says Fassolter. “This makes us more cost-effective than public cloud providers, which means we will be able to compete for new business with organizations across the region.”
The City Council can also deliver more efficient and seamless public services while safeguarding compliance with data protection rules. “By ensuring employees have secure and reliable access to data, the City Council can respond to queries more quickly and execute key processes more efficiently,” says Fassolter.
Since the first system was deployed, ITG has established a close partnership with Hitachi Vantara: "The team helps us overcome any issues, even if they are caused by third-party solutions. Our close partnership with Hitachi Vantara was key to the success of the data center transformation and will help us plan for the future," concludes Fassolter.
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