Transparity Ballard Chalmers has long been a trusted partner of the energy and utilities sector. With some very interesting development occurring currently, we thought we’d share it with you.
Startup in the Utilities Sector – A look at the Technical Work
We just migrated this client’s Cloud and Admin web applications from running on Azure VMs to running in Azure App Services. We’ve taken advantage of Azure Redis Cache to handle session state, which will allow us to scale out to multiple instances in times of high load. We’ve also updated a number of console applications (the ‘export service’) that currently run on the VM, to running as Function Apps in Azure.
We have introduced Infrastructure as Code in the form of Bicep templates for the provisioning of Azure resources, and YAML build & release pipelines.
The benefits this migration will bring are:
- The ability to auto scale the web applications in times of high and low load, ensuring maximum performance and cost efficiency
- Consistency between development/staging/production environments with the introduction of Bicep templates
- Better auditing of CI/CD pipeline changes with YAML pipelines being stored in source control
- Faster, more automated deployments
- More responsive export service, as multiple jobs will run in parallel
Here you can see the CPU and Data IO metrics of the SQL Azure database. We went live with the migration on Friday 10th Feb, at which point you can see the CPU usage (blue line) plummet, and the Data IO (orange line) decrease significantly.
Most of this is down to the improved queries used by the new export service, and the fact that we went to a notification based model with Service Bus messaging instead of a timed database polling to look for jobs to complete.
Energy Infrastructure, Data & Analytics Company – A look at the Business Case
This client is our longest running customer, with development work spanning over two decades.
We have just delivered a system for managing electricity distribution which is currently being audited by a third party. Even prior to that process completing, they are already getting us to quote to include gas distribution in this system as well.
What is interesting in this case is the client already has a system for managing gas – the only software system in the industry specifically for that purpose. On asking the question: why do you want us to do this? What are you hoping to achieve through this project?
The answer is they are tied to the current system, needing to pay what they consider to be an exorbitant annual fee for software they’re not able to support themselves, even though they have that in-house capability. Their data is fully encapsulated within that system, they can’t access it and they don’t have the ability to change any of the logic or business rules.
On the other hand, when we carry out the work, we then hand over the source code. We make no claim on the intellectual property. We give the customer the documentation that allows them to work in-house or if they want to, to go to another developer and in doing so that actually mitigates risk quite largely for clients.
This client trusts us to move them away from unnecessary fees and to provide an excellent system which they can continue to run in-house and we look forward to carrying out this project shortly.
Ballard Chalmers and Energy & Utilities Sector
You can find out more about our work within the energy and utilities sector or check out these case studies for a more in-depth look at some projects.