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Peel Ports Group protects investments in storage and secure infrastructure


Peel Ports Group is the second largest port group in the UK, handling over 70 million tons of cargo per year, or about 15% of the total port traffic moving through the UK’s waters. To help maintain around-the-clock operations and get maximum value from its IT investments, Peel Ports Group turned to HPE Proactive Care Service.

The challenge

Peel Ports Group has highly distributed operations, with ports and facilities in 26 locations primarily in the UK connected over a private network. Managing storage and server infrastructure from centralised IT operations required the ability to proactively monitor and upgrade critical hardware platforms.

Peel Ports Group has a centralised IT function based in Liverpool, and uses Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) 3PAR StoreServ 7200 and 7400 Storage. All business information is stored centrally, and the company delivers applications to its user base primarily on HPE thin clients.

“3PAR StoreServ is the beating heart of our data,” said Dominic Leeson, Group IT operations manager for Peel Ports Group. “We virtualise all the images for our server and desktop infrastructure and store them centrally, and we also store detailed hydrographic data and radar imagery that captains rely on to navigate our ports. We needed storage infrastructure that could avoid service level impacts due to unplanned component or site failures. We can never experience any downtime, so we go to great lengths to ensure that we adequately protect our critical infrastructure to ensure stable and reliable mission-critical operations at all of our ports.” 

The solution

Peel Ports Group signed a five-year contract for HPE Proactive Care Services with Personalised Services. “Our entire storage infrastructure is now protected by Proactive Care,” Leeson explained. “This means that HPE proactively monitors the equipment that is most important to us and alerts us whenever there’s an issue that needs to be addressed.” 

For example, IT was emailed by HPE that a defective part was identified in a storage array and that a replacement part would be delivered the next day. “We also got a call saying that a battery and a couple of disks failed and the replacement parts were on the way, and this level of support has been very reassuring to us,” said Leeson. “HPE identified the problem proactively, and we didn’t have to spend time looking up part numbers or troubleshooting components. In fact, our team hadn’t yet even noticed the failure. But HPE identified and resolved the entire issue before it had the chance to affect operations.” 

IT is also leveraging HPE remote support technology for real-time monitoring. “We’re really happy. Proactive Care is certainly better than any other support services we’ve used in the past,” Leeson stated. “We have visibility into remote devices so we can diagnose and resolve issues proactively, and this allows IT to efficiently support all of our facilities without being onsite. When your resources have to be available around the clock, you learn to rely on powerful remote support tools quite a lot.” 

Streamlined IT management increases business productivity 

Peel Ports Group has visibility into storage infrastructure in its ports and other locations, and has not experienced any downtime in its storage infrastructure. “Proactive Care frees up our time to look at new IT solutions for our business,” said Leeson. “It provides IT with the luxury of time to analyse new technologies to improve operations without spending most of our time troubleshooting problems.”

The results

IT now spends less time reacting to IT issues and more time proactively analysing new ways of leveraging technology to enhance organisational productivity. “Operating in a reactive fashion is more time consuming, and for us a major factor of the value-add of Proactive Care is that it is like a monitoring service combined with access to technical expertise when we need it,” Leeson explained. “Proactive Care gives us peace of mind that our critical equipment is functioning well, and if a problem occurs HPE will identify and fix it. This gives our IT department more time to provide greater value to business operations.” 

Peel Ports Group also benefits from easy access to advanced technical expertise for rapid problem diagnosis and resolution, and an HPE Account Support Specialist (ASM) acts as a single point of contact for end-to-end case ownership. “We didn’t expect to have a single point of contact at a company as large as HPE, but it makes it much easier to get answers and feel like a valued customer,” said Leeson. “It’s like we have another set of eyes working with us, and his familiarity with our business helps us make sure our support services are aligned with our IT objectives.” 

Leeson regularly reviews Proactive Care reports and works closely with HPE to optimise asset management of critical storage infrastructure equipment. “HPE proactively scans our storage infrastructure and conducts health checks, and we analyse the results carefully and look for any recurring issues or any areas we can focus on to improve lifecycle management of our storage equipment,” Leeson stated. 

Peel Ports Group recently signed an additional HPE Proactive Care Service contract to protect its critical server infrastructure comprised of HPE ProLiant Gen8 Server Blades as well as previous-generation HPE servers. Peel Ports also purchased an HPE Support Plus Service contract to provide new revisions and software patches for less-critical HPE servers. 

“Proactive Care has contributed to our overall satisfaction with our HPE solution, and adding Proactive Care coverage for our critical servers throughout the company means all of our most important hardware will be carefully protected,” said Leeson. “We also added HPE Support Plus Service so we’ll now have new software updates implemented on our less-critical server infrastructure with fast turnaround on replacement parts, and this combination allows us to efficiently consolidate support under one umbrella while proactively ensuring the protection of our most important IT resources.” 

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