Making the Largest Port in Greece More Sustainable and Resilient with ICT Innovation
As the largest port in Greece and indeed one of the largest in the Mediterranean, Piraeus Port plays a crucial role in international trade. Connecting continental Greece with surrounding islands, the port is not only a commercial hub but an international cruise center, providing services to ships of every conceivable type and size. Today, the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) S.A. — the port's sole operator — has over 1000 employees and provides services to more than 24,000 ships annually. A key contributor to local and national economic growth, the PPA knew that upgrading infrastructure and services was of vital importance to developing a more effective, better performing, and economically competitive port.
As the maritime transport industry evolves, seaports around the world are suffering growing pains, from underperforming infrastructure, surges in trade growth, and a lack of production capacity to increasing regulations and growing environmental concerns. These pains, coupled with higher customer expectations, make maintaining seamless and efficient operations more and more arduous.
Ports everywhere are now looking to invest in pushing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to its limits; they need automated work processes, enhanced operational efficiency, and to attract new business opportunities that more traditional methods simply cannot provide. The PPA, during its own internal assessments, found that its aging ICT was beginning to actively limit its ability to deliver services to a level that begets high customer satisfaction.
The PPA decided to kick-start a data center virtualization project to streamline operations. "Our port provides services 24/7, 365 days a year. Uninterrupted network availability and flexibility is critical to operating all our different systems. It's also important for us to meet the ever-increasing demand for new IT services." said Fotis Bartsokas, System and Database Administrator at Piraeus Port.
If it were to keep up with demand, Piraeus Port needed to modernize its legacy data center infrastructure, introduce new IT systems into its legacy topology, and ensure smooth migration to new storage systems and an ICT virtualization environment, all without interrupting online port systems and ongoing business.
The main focus of the data center virtualization project was the renewal of ICT equipment and the transition from a physical to a virtual environment. With software upgrades performed, extra care was taken to ensure that all existing services remained compatible with new Operating Systems (OSs). Most importantly, it was essential to migrate all of PPA's applications to a virtual environment, with hardware, software, and required services customized and installed accordingly.
Piraeus Port chose Huawei's solution because of the simplicity of deployment, high performance, and clear and easy expansion capabilities. Together with local partner and IT solutions company Intrasoft, Huawei designed and created the solution's architecture and provided all hardware systems in the new data center equipment room. ''We chose OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage systems and installed them at two different sites, implementing Huawei's active-active storage solution — HyperMetro — as well as synchronous replication, to ensure the uninterrupted availability of services.'' Fotis Bartsokas explained.
Purpose-built for mission-critical services, OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage provides high-performance, high-reliability, and high-efficiency storage services. Proprietary FlashLink technology ensures up to 4 million Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) at a consistent latency of just 500 μs. In addition, the HyperMetro gateway-free active-active design delivers six-nines — 99.9999% — availability with just 1 ms latency. Inline de-duplication and compression technologies also help slash initial purchase costs.
The port's tailored solution also included OceanStor Fibre Channel (FC) switches, racks, and additional equipment. With Huawei providing End to End (E2E) technical support services, Intrasoft delivered virtualization and backup software for the new digital environment, resulting in smooth migration without business disruption.
Port solutions need to work with the environment and be flexible enough to adapt to change. Powered by Huawei data center virtualization, Piraeus Port's new infrastructure enjoys much higher operational efficiency and performs far more sustainably.
In addition, smart scheduling for energy-saving has already helped to reduce power consumption, saving energy by 15% compared with the legacy infrastructure. O&M efficiency has also been boosted by some 30%, with the performance of databases, capacity, and virtualized applications increasing by 20%.
Going forward, the port plans to advance automation and digitalization processes, placing fresh focus on new approaches to data management, new platforms, innovative delivery models, and supply and demand changes. "As a modern and dynamic enterprise, we will continue to provide high-level services and serve, in the most effective way possible, the country's trade flows. We will continue to benefit the national economy as well as individual Greek consumers," Bartsokas said. With this infrastructure upgrade made, Piraeus Port is actively charting a new course to a more prosperous, sustainable future.