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A safe harbour for virtualization in Tunisia

Posted on 17 September 2012 by Pierre Picard


Bull delivers a new, centralized state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to Tunisia’s Merchant Navy and Ports Office

Bull has been working alongside Tunisia’s Merchant Navy and Ports Office (OMMP) to help upgrade its IT infrastructures.  The aim of the project has been to provide OMMP with a centralized platform that is robust and scalable enough to support the growth strategy for the country’s whole chain of port activities.

Key targets for modernization and better service quality

OMMP’s role is to manage and monitor operations in Tunisia’s commercial seaports, to ensure the best possible conditions in terms of turnaround times, quality and security. To achieve this, the organization has embarked on a vast modernization project. Its aim is to ensure continuity of service and high levels of performance in the centralized management of information systems, not just the business systems that manage maritime traffic, but also central systems such as financial and human resources management applications. OMMP’s priorities also include appropriate use of new technologies and simplification of procedures.

Against this backdrop, the Ports Authority decided to implement a new, homogeneous state-of-the-art architecture, to hold all the data from its seven commercial ports at a single site in La Goulette, and relying on simpler and more secure operational procedures.

Virtualization: at the heart of the IT transformation project   

Bull brought together all the necessary expertise and skills at a local level, to build and implement this new virtualized architecture, including all its components, from servers to storage and networks.

With consolidation rates of up to 400 Virtual Machines (VMs) per server, the infrastructure is designed to keep pace with OMMP’s requirements for centralization, simplification and scalability. It is based around new-generation Bull Escala Power 7-based Unix data servers – that are perfectly matched to the mission-critical nature of OMMP’s demands – complemented by NovaScale Blade application servers, guaranteeing 24×7 service continuity and capable of supporting an unlimited number of virtual servers. For effective security and resource sharing, Bull has also implemented a Storage Area Network (SAN) architecture based on EMC and Brocade technologies.

Finally, skills transfer and targeted training provided by Bull have helped OMMP to fully understand the new technical platform, so it can be administered by its own teams.

As Raouf Mkadmi, CIO of OMMP, explains: “Thanks to Bull, we will now have a truly robust and agile technical platform. We are looking forward to performance improvements and to ensuring the uninterrupted operation of OMMP’s commercial ports and central departments, 24×7, while also reducing our energy bills and management costs. This project has also been an outstanding one in terms of the mutual commitment shown by our own teams and those from Bull, in an extremely demanding environment in terms of service continuity for our users.”  

The fully optimized infrastructure is now operational and will provide the backbone of OMMP’s planned ERP system – currently being implemented – and, later on, a private Cloud.

As Moez El Ghali, CEO of Bull Tunisia, summed up: “At a local level, this project mobilized all Bull’s areas of expertise in implementing complex, mission-critical architectures, and we are very proud that we have been able to help OMMP respond to the tough challenges they face in terms of modernization, security and service quality. This clearly demonstrates Bull’s ability to respond to the new challenges of IT transformation that our Tunisian customers face.”  


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