Based in Luxembourg and owned by the 28 member states, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s financing institution. Its mission is to provide long-term finance for major investment projects which contribute to furthering EU policy objectives. The EIB came to prominence following the financial crisis of 2008 which it played a major role in mobilising investment channels and helping to rebuild confidence in the capital markets.
Running “Business as Usual” (BAU) data-centre operations for nearly 2,000 staff across a network of local and regional offices may appear straightforward at first. But a combination of complex, high availability UNIX and Linux-based servers, storage solutions, back-up, and monitoring technologies, all managed by a third party, inevitably makes daily operations anything but simple. This is especially true when staff are expected to work difficult shift patterns and provide out-of normal hours support. And when the incumbent service supplier was acquired, and the acquiring organisation showed little appetite to continue delivering this service, the EIB was faced with a significant operational risk in keeping this core function running smoothly.
Being close to our customers often allows to respond with agility and add value quickly. Halian’s experience of working with the EIB as a subcontractor meant that we understood the key aspects of the service very quickly - a multi-functional and bilingual operations team with strong technical accreditations that could deliver a stable service on an extended hours basis, seven days a week. SLA responsibilities needed to cover all maintenance of the infrastructure hardware and software at the main data centre site plus two remote locations within an ITIL framework. Specifically, this required monitoring of infrastructure and applications, detection, first-level support, and dispatching of incidents, deployment of software releases, and scheduling and running the IT batch jobs. Halian also had to provide data-centre support including server installation, hardware, and cabling. All incident and problem management workflows were automated using Remedy.
Through an open tender process, Halian successfully won this four-year contract which has subsequently been extended for another 12 months. The service is delivered by a team of eight operations staff managed by a Team Leader with at least two staff being on-site from 7am to 11 pm on weekdays and one member of staff at weekends. Annual technical training and promotion within Halian ensures attrition is low and team morale high. Most importantly, the SLA-driven service regularly achieves high-satisfaction ratings from the service sponsors and provides the EIB with a resilient core service at a competitive fixed monthly price.