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ZE Power Accelerates Database Testing with Enhanced Performance

ZE Power and Actifio partner to continuously evolve high-performance data management and expand business while avoiding disruption.

Summary
Keeping pace with customer expectations is what drives ZE PowerGroup Inc. to make continuous improvements in services delivery. Implementation of Actifio copy data management and database virtualization in 2017 had provided a better way for clients to refresh databases fast with added self-service automation. Now, clients need more than just high-performance production data solutions. Higher performance testing is required to support the intense testing of essential analytics and business processes. To match testing to production performance speeds, ZE transitioned the Actifio platform to all-flash storage. This upgrade means that timebound testing can now precisely simulate what will happen in production. Analytics that required precise timelines can assure customers of predictable durations.

Organization Overview
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, ZE PowerGroup Inc. helps clients gain efficiency and reduce business risks through data automation and services. The ZE family of companies is a group of interrelated organizations providing enterprise-level software solutions, consulting, support services, and design engineering services. Customers span the globe, including the world’s top oil and gas companies, the largest utilities, large multinational banks, and agricultural commodities trading companies. Their ZEMA Platform is a comprehensive data management and business process automation solution that provides data collection, analytics, data automation, and integration capabilities. The company also offers end-to-end automated business process solutions, including a full range of support and implementation services.

KEY FACTS

Who: ZE PowerGroup offering data management and business process automation solutions.

Challenges: Improving testing performance.

IT Environment: Three data centers across Canada replicating a private cloud, IBM all-flash storage, Oracle RAC and compression, Hyper-V clusters.

Solution: Actifio database virtualization moved to all-flash testing utilizing self-service and automation

The Challenge
As ZE PowerGroup Inc. (ZE) continues to experience exponential business growth, the company has faced new challenges. A long-time customer of Actifio, ZE had already closely united its ZEMA SaaS offering with Actifio’s Virtual Data Pipeline (VDP). The power and functionality of ZE’s platform had helped to expand its diverse client base across international industries ranging from oil and gas to utilities to Fortune 500 financial firms. These clients continued to require high performing, reliable, automated data solutions to help manage their businesses. However, their demands for new capabilities were also growing. Reliance on the ZEMA platform for constant testing had expanded beyond performance testing to intense testing of essential analytics and business processes. Testing had become central to the operation, and clients wanted even-faster performance.


“It’s not just the technology, but the partners and the people that enable us to be agile. We surround ourselves with partners like Actifio and IBM. And if I have a problem with IBM, it rains blue. Any issue with Actifio, it rains orange. It’s the partnerships that are important.”

NADER EL- RAMLY, CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER

The Solution
As ZE’s client base expanded, its Actifio platform had nearly tripled. “Customers make daily use of Actifio’s testing capabilities before any move to production,” said El-Ramly. “If Actifio is down for any reason, there is panic. And the constant testing covers more than performance. It’s used for business process and analytics testing. It is central to our operation and keeping our customers happy.”

Although the ZE private cloud uses flash storage to maximize production performance, the Actifio platform was implemented on spinning disk. Now, clients were demanding the ability to test faster, and a new approach was needed. Where testing was time-bound, customers needed to simulate what would happen in production precisely. Where analytics required precise timelines, customers needed predictable durations.

To achieve the required performance, ZE added all-flash storage for testing to match production speeds.

Now, a workflow will build in a predictable timeframe. Workflow automation can be demonstrated in advance and will easily meet clients’ expected SLAs. El-Ramly provides an example: “A large financial firm uses our product to drive energy prices on their website, but that process has to happen within a fixed time window, and we have an SLA to assure that. When they roll out new pricing, they want to ensure that the timing is predictable. It has an impact on their clients and their revenue, and when they change, it needs to be what’s intended.

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES
The copy data management and virtualization capabilities enabled by Actifio have helped ZE PowerGroup Inc. reach its potential in some unexpected dimensions. When major oil and gas customers could not reach their offices after severe flooding hit Houston, Texas, workers continued remotely, thanks to the ZE cloud. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ZE customers continue to sustain their businesses by working remotely and tapping ZE test and production resources. With minimal disruption, ZE also shifted its internal workforce from 20% to 90% remote.


We were prepared. We had designed the infrastructure so that work could continue without pause. Actifio is part of the story that enables us to reliably provide services to our clients even when outside forces intervene. It’s been essential to our clients, and there’s no way to put a price tag on that.”

NADER EL- RAMLY, CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER

The original testing use case for application development, DevOps, and analytics is still dominant for ZE customers. With all-flash storage, it has become even more effective and reliable, with the capacity to push hard and have no impact on production.


“Actifio has helped us expand our client base. What we can do now for customers is to be more responsive. We can always say yes.”

NADER EL- RAMLY, CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER

Immediate Benefits
• Testing performance to match production
• Continuing top-line revenue growth
• Advanced automation and self-service
• Efficient testing and training environments with no production impacts

Learn more about improving the devops application testing process with Actifio