Largest municipal electric distribution utility in Canada deploys JBoss enterprise SOA platform to eliminate proprietary lock-in and cut costs.
Red Hat, a provider of open source solutions, and Red Hat its advanced business partner Int3s have announced that Toronto Hydro Corp. has deployed JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform and Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the platform for its Smart Meter program and has successfully completed the initial phases of its program to create a customer-focused cost and energy-saving initiative.
Toronto Hydro is the largest municipal electric distribution utility in Canada and operates two wholly owned affiliates with a combined workforce of over 1,400 people. It serves 697,000 residential and commercial customers across the greater Toronto Area, representing 18.5 percent of electricity consumers in the province of Ontario.
“We’ve succeeded because of the combination of the leadership of Toronto Hydro, the innovation of Red Hat products, and the expertise of Int3s in integrating systems. Together they allowed us to leverage the power of JBoss and really make the technology work for us,” said Eduardo Bresani, Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer, Toronto Hydro.
Toronto Hydro identified the need for a five-year strategic technology initiative, with the goal to implement a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to replace the organization’s traditional IT infrastructure. A key business driver for the change was the firm’s stretched IT resources. Specifically, building and maintaining point-to-point interfaces between all the various systems Toronto Hydro had put into place over the years – legacy as well as client-server and Web-based systems – was proving too complex and costly.
The new SOA implementation began as part of Toronto Hydro’s innovative “Smart Meter” initiative, which aims to utilize the SOA platform to introduce variable pricing based on the time of day that electricity is consumed and to price it accordingly to encourage customers to conserve during periods of high demand. Although Toronto Hydro is not the largest utility in North America, it currently has the largest production deployment of smart meters on the continent, which stands at over 600,000.
Toronto Hydro’s technology strategy required experienced resources to supplement internal staff in delivering complex custom development projects and they partnered with Int3s, a Red Hat Advanced Business Partner, to help implement JBoss Enterprise SOA platform, including JBoss ESB. Int3s was chosen due to the firm's experience in designing, developing and implementing IT solutions for energy and utility, financial, and telecommunications organizations.
Toronto Hydro and Int3s selected JBoss Enterprise Middleware for the Smart Meter program due to the size and stability of the technology and the toolsets that JBoss provided, including JBoss Hibernate, Rules, and jBPM Frameworks, to simplify the migration from Mule to the JBoss platform.
“We didn’t want to be dependent on proprietary products for our SOA framework. JBoss Enterprise Middleware provides a solution that works with other products as long as they meet open standards," said Bresani. "Red Hat doesn’t charge for the product itself, but for the support – and we valued the enterprise level support that JBoss provides. With open source, we could avoid proprietary technology lock-in, and standardize everything related to business logic, business processes, and data models."
“JBoss technology comes with everything we need to build a solid SOA for facilitating easy integration of disparate systems and data. It was the perfect solution to meet our current needs – and we trust Red Hat to meet our future ones,” said Nicholas Yee, Chief Technology Officer at Int3s.
Since the initial Smart Meter implementation, Int3s has expanded the use of the JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform at Toronto Hydro in multiple projects including the development of an ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) framework for a new Enterprise Data Warehouse and integration to various applications. The SOA Platform has also simplified large system implementations such as Oracle’s Customer Information System and SAP for the purpose of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) compliance.
“The support provided by Red Hat has been superb. As an Advanced Business Partner, we’ve had terrific access to some of the best development professionals at JBoss,” said Yee. “Not only were they very responsive when we called, but they asked for our input regarding functionality that we would be looking for in future releases of the platform.”
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