PUBLICATION:  HR HIGHWAY
DATE:  06 AUGUST 2010
BioTherm Energy plugs into Integr8 Group to charge up ICT efficiency
BioTherm Energy, a national developer and owner of cleaner and renewable energy projects and independent power producer, has invested in the service and support of its ICT managed services partner the Integr8 Group, in order to bolster operations.

BioTherm invests in, owns and operates energy projects primarily in Southern Africa. It focuses its service on several key sectors include co-generation (combined heat and power, process waste to energy), biomass and pure renewables (wind and solar) energy projects larger than ten megawatts (10MW).

BioTherm raised an equity investment of $150 million in October 2008 from Denham Capital, a US based private equity fund.

The company’s mission is to develop, finance, own and operate maintain cleaner and renewable energy assets in Southern Africa. Its service and activity portfolio includes initiating and conceptualising the project opportunity, developing a comprehensive financial model, engineering, design and procurement of project assets, amongst others.

One of the main requirements from BioTherm Energy was the acquisition and implementation of a more efficient system that could adequately manage document synchronisation, availability and security.

The system BioTherm had in place was entry level and could not handle the volume of communications and information transfer requirements.

Integr8 was approached to implement, manage and oversee a technology enhancement project which took place over a period of two months.

Robert Sussman, joint CEO at Integr8, said the project had to be planned from scratch, including the purchase of software and hardware.

The company purchased a hybrid of technologies that included an array of HP DL380 G6 and also upgraded HP DL380 G5’s to Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise.

Utilising Microsoft’s Hyper-V technology with the design led by Integr8 Consulting Services and implementation by Integr8 Technical Services, the team then proceeded with the task of creating a substantial amount of virtual servers on multi physical boxes required for this project, These Virtual servers run Exchange, Microsoft TMG, SharePoint and SQL.

“We felt that this infrastructure provided the most effective platform to negotiate a number of challenges. These challenges included transferring all data into the SQL format required for SharePoint and MS Groove systems, a meticulous and lengthy process due to the naming constraints. Each file had to be renamed and illegal characters individually removed. Other challenges included layout and structure of the filing system, as well as a security matrix that regulated access control to data,” Sussman explained.

The technical implications aside, the scope of the project was sizeable with Integr8 having been outsourced to complete an overhaul of how its client’s employees performed tasks as well as how they communicated with each other.

“We revamped and upgraded our client’s document storage and related security, two key aspects of any sized operation today. We also introduced a complete backup system using a tape library from HP and Symantec’s backup exec 12.5. We also transferred the entire domain controller from a Linux platform over to hyper-V as well as introduced TMG as a frontline firewall. We are proud of the fact that this entire project was completed without any disruption to our client’s core function and operation,” added Sussman.

Integr8 was involved from the inception to completion of this project, including training and ongoing onsite support with onsite resources.

Andre Dippenaar, Chief Financial Officer at BioTherm Energy, said that Integr8’s technical skill, business acumen and ability to deliver is exceptional.  Integr8 has proven its worth as a provider of strategic and mission-critical services.

“We are very pleased with the expertise and level of credibility the company has in the managed ICT services market,” said Dippenaar. “This overhaul of our mission-critical document management system has resulted in substantial improvement in several areas of operation.”