Coherent Research

About Coherent Research

Coherent Research provides energy metering intelligence for commercial and industrial markets. It has three core product offerings: metering data collection for organisations who want a simple way of managing energy usage across multiple sites; automated meter testing and communications enabling utilities/meter operators to eliminate the time-consuming manual processes associated with running very large meter estates; and alternative IP communications solutions that help the utility industry connect and communicate with meters that are poorly served by mobile networks. The company is based in Surrey, with the majority of its customers situated in the UK.

The Challenge

Having pioneered the field of energy meter management since 1989, Coherent’s growing market success presented a number of scalability issues. As the company operated all its server and communications infrastructure on-premise, every new customer brought with it an added IT overhead for Coherent staff to manage internally. This, in turn, diverted resources away from Coherent’s core activities and compromised the ability of the business to relocate offices in the future.

“Migration to a third-party data centre had been in our thinking for some time, but the idea was crystalised when one utility customer raised several resilience and data security requirements that we couldn’t support with our on-premise set-up,” said Lyn Roberts, Coherent Research’s Managing Director. “We provide our automated meter testing offering to all our utility customers as a hosted service, so to give this a platform for market expansion it made sense to explore our options with a data centre partner.”

Coherent’s list of requirements included enhanced levels of physical and data security, as well as robust business continuity safeguards in the event of disaster scenarios. “We also expected a high level of IT support and monitoring so that we no longer had to manage patching cycles, backups and other maintenance, and that issues would be addressed any time of day or night,” added Roberts.

The Approach

Allied to its requirement for greater resilience, scalability and security for its server infrastructure, Coherent elected to switch much of its analogue-based energy meter communications to SIP trunks. This would require connectivity with Coherent’s SIP provider and, more importantly, a great deal of scrutiny over application performance without compromising security.

Roberts contacted several IT providers capable of meeting his requirements, including Luminet. “We had a meeting, and I instinctively felt I was talking to the right people,” he said. “We could communicate well and I got answers quickly. To reduce upfront costs, Luminet proposed creating virtual servers and network, and protecting it all with a virtual dedicated firewall.”

Luminet was chosen to provide a secure, managed Virtual Data Centre (VDC) environment, hosted inside its geographically-diverse private cloud Tier 3 data centres. As well as its virtual dedicated firewall capability, this environment ensures 24-hour security to protect against physical threats such as flooding and fire, while dual-power to the IT infrastructure further guards against electricity failure, and multiple independent connectivity paths increase resilience against network outage. Luminet’s fully-managed SLA assures 99.999% high-availability and full backup data recovery within minutes, supported by a 24/7/365 Network Operations Centre.

The Results

Coherent’s VDC instance was provisioned in less than 10 working days, including a bespoke virtual dedicated firewall configuration to enable optimum SIP performance.

“We tested the platform and firewall to make absolutely certain of the SIP performance across the network, and it is delivering exactly what we need,” said Roberts. “Luminet has been there every step of the way, always easy to get hold of and getting things done. We are very pleased with the service and how simple it has been to implement.”

“Luminet has enabled our next phase of growth, helping us to address tougher customer requirements and scale our IT infrastructure to take on more customers. Now we’re better positioned to take advantage of new market opportunities, such as our IP solutions business and potential international expansion. If we suddenly need more data centre resources, then we can just turn them on.”

With Coherent now up-and-running with its new, fully virtualised environment, Roberts is considering migrating other IT systems – such as Coherent’s existing BSS platform – to the VDC: “Logically, we could move all our servers over to Luminet at some point and just run workstations onsite. It makes more economic sense to eventually stop running IT internally, when Luminet has the specialist skills and resources to take it on.”

Summary of Key Benefits

  • Fast response to new data security requirements without impacting secure SIP performance
  • Great value service delivering the resilience of a 99.999%, 24/7 SLA with low upfront costs
  • Scalable platform for future growth supporting the transition of more IT to the cloud

About Luminet

Luminet is the intelligent managed services provider, offering businesses Connectivity, Computing and Intelligent services and solutions. Luminet has a peer-to-peer relationship with its customers and has the UK’s leading NPS customer satisfaction score of 42 in telecoms and technology. Combining a true customer-centric organisation with strong values, culture and capability together with technical excellence and best-value makes Luminet a partner of choice for business, supported by industry-leading SLAs, and ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications.