Handles data from almost 1 million electricity meters through Oracle Cloud
Validér collects and forwards data from 820,000 electricity meters on behalf of 23 companies. Here, CEO of Validér Thomas Thiis talks about how the Oracle Cloud provides scalability, operational reliability and predictable costs for the socially critical service.
Validér is responsible for operating and monitoring AMS meters (automatic current meters) for 23 grid companies. The company was established as an extension of the grid companies' decision on joint acquisition and operation of AMS in 2013. The company grew rapidly from having to handle 200,000 measuring points to the current 820,000.
Measured values from the electricity meters are collected and sent to Elhub, the national data hub that handles all measurement data and market processes in the Norwegian power market. In addition, Validér collects alarms, events and data related to voltage quality and earth faults and offers tools and services that contribute to the efficient utilization of real-time data in network operations and continuous monitoring of the metering fleet and data flow between the actors. The services are critical for both business and society and require that the IT systems work 24/7 all year round.
Validér have previously chosen very solid solutions, software, middleware and hardware from Oracle.
Some accused us of shooting sparrows with cannon when we went for the Oracle solutions, but it was a well-thought and correct choice, the systems have coped with our strong growth.
Thomas Thiis, General Manager of Validér (pictured).
Moving to the Oracle cloud
Necessary infrastructure was purchased in 2014 and further in 2016 in line with the AMS rollout. In the winter of 2020, Validér was faced with the choice between replacing and increasing capacity on-prem or going for a cloud platform.
“With rapid growth and ambitions for further growth, we need a platform that can grow with us. Together with SYSCO, a feasibility study was conducted in the autumn of 2019, which concluded that the solution would be moved to Oracle Cloud. This ensures access to the latest technology, the desired scalability and flexibility for the future”, Thiis continues.
Through the SORIA program (a collaboration between a number of grid companies on joint introduction and operation of AMS), Validér has had a relationship with SYSCO since 2013. SYSCO knows the market, the solution and several of Validér's customers well. Since Validér already makes extensive use of Oracle's basic services and has invested heavily in raising its own Oracle expertise, it was only reasonable to choose an Oracle Cloud platform.
The Oracle Cloud provides many benefits
What are the benefits of moving to the cloud?
“In addition to scalability and increased flexibility, we get reduced costs. At the same time, the cloud solution enables us to even better identify which services that generate which costs. This makes it easier to prioritize necessary measures and price the various services correctly to the grid companies”, Thiis answers.
Until now, the collection system and necessary infrastructure have run on their own servers (on-prem) with an external operating provider. Thiis says that the licensing and maintenance costs were almost the same as an on-prem solution in relation to moving to the cloud, but with on-prem, operating costs would be added. For Validér, the transition to the cloud is not a "lift and shift" project, where the infrastructure is moved "untouched" to a cloud platform, but rather a "move and improve" project. The cloud solution has consequently given Validér a unique opportunity to fine-tune the need for machine power and thereby resulted in a better solution than anticipated.
“When choosing on-prem, you buy machines for five years at a time and are in reality bound up five years. With Oracle Cloud, we will be able to adapt along the way.”
“It is a relatively intense project. We have wanted to sit in the driver's seat during the project, with associated ownership of the solution, but have always received the necessary assistance in project management, consulting and expertise from SYSCO. We have now established an innovative platform that we can further develop together with our customers and owners without taking into account the large, five-year renewals in the machine park”, says Thiis.
For SYSCO, it has been a demanding and educational project to be part of.
“All the time there are major changes and improvements with the cloud platform. Oracle and all other major technology providers today think ‘cloud first’ and new services are launched first in the cloud, and it is not certain that they will go to old on-prem systems anymore. With the Validér project, we see that Oracle Cloud also works for socially critical services that will work around the clock, all year round, says Frank Vikingstad, who is responsible for the Oracle partnership in the Nordic region.
Validér was established as an extension of the grid companies' decision on joint acquisition and operation of AMS in 2013. Today Validér is responsible for operating and monitoring AMS meters for 23 grid companies and collects data from 820,000 measuring points.
Access the complete article here: Almost a million electricity meters going to the cloud