About McConnell Dowell

Since 1961, McConnell Dowell have built thousands of quality assets and facilities for clients and communities. Their expertise has grown steadily to now span building, civil, electrical, marine, mechanical, pipelines, rail, tunnel and underground construction. With over 3,500 employees and professional engineering teams in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East, McConnell Dowell’s clients benefit from a unique mix of local knowledge and international experience.

With a reputation for delivering on what they promise, their key sectors include:

  • Infrastructure, the foundation of today’s urban communities.
  • Resource, the backbone of economies.
  • Building, the fabric of our cities.

The Challenge

McConnel Dowell have employees and engineering teams spread across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East. Together with their construction requirements, they also provide IT infrastructure and services for many of their projects, so availability and uptime are crucial to meeting contractual obligations with their customers, and the success of the business. With “downtimes” not an option, McConnell Dowell CIO, Heinrich Kukkak began an investigation into potential solutions that would mitigate the risk and impacts of systems failure. Having previously worked with blueAPACHE to implement firewall technology, Heinrich began initial discussions to assess if they could address the unique requirements that he was looking for in a disaster recovery (DR) solution.

No DR solution is the same, and McConnell Dowell’s requirements were no exception to this rule. Requiring an assured, customer driven and risk-mitigating always-on service globally, the solution would need to address the following:

  • Ensure private extended connectivity.
  • Public external connectivity remains the same.
  • Datacentre neutrality.
  • Ensure McConnell Dowell’s security posture wasn’t compromised when operating the DR
  • Ensure they’re facilitating both global workloads as well as private workloads in their independent locations.
  • A partner who can support the solution in real-time.

The Solution

blueAPACHE worked with McConnell Dowell to customise a solution that would address their global requirements, the need for datacentre neutrality, and a DR solution that wouldn’t disturb their customer driven approach and connectivity requirements. Essentially, the DR needed to be as undisruptive as possible. With a tight turnaround window of three months, the appropriate amount of discovery and design diligence was taken to achieve the desired result.

Requiring a partner who could support the solution in real-time, blueAPACHE delivered a Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution built on HPE enterprise infrastructure, including ProLiant servers and Nimble storage, powered by Veeam and intelligent HPE InfoSight technology. Nimble storage is the leader in predictive cloud infrastructure. Any slow-down that occurs across the infrastructure stack can cause an app-data gap that disrupts data delivery and slows down business. Nimble provides a predictive cloud platform that closes the app-data gap. Delivering the fastest, most reliable access to data.

As a service provider themselves, Heinrich wanted their external team to have the ability to control the DR if necessary, so blueAPACHE’s portal is available to them – in the event they wish to execute a DR failover themselves.

The Outcome

Heinrich Kukkak went to blueAPACHE looking for an assured service that would allow McConnell Dowell to recover workloads if necessary, “The biggest box for me to tick was being able to assure the executive team that if a disaster did occur, we could recover workloads efficiently and effectively. And this solution provides that,” says Heinrich.

McConnell Dowell can successfully carry out a DR test, highlighting they can invoke a DR failover if necessary. Further assurance comes in the form of monthly reporting that Heinrich can relay back to the executive team, proving they can seamlessly extend their workloads within minutes. As a service provider with many other companies depending on them to provide IT infrastructure themselves, the DR solution has also confirmed business continuity for their customers, avoiding an unwanted scenario in which contractual obligations are not met.

The ability to scale up and down is also highly beneficial because DR requirements can change based on production output. “Having the ability to scale according to our production workload was a big plus as well, and having it on a consumption-based pricing model makes it cost-predictive that we can review quarterly or half-yearly, “ highlights Heinrich.

Partnering with blueAPACHE

Having worked with blueAPACHE prior to this implementation, a big reason Heinrich elected to work with them again was the people. “They deliver their services with a customer-first attitude and passion, and the strength of their technology skills really shines through. They work well alongside our own people and augment our skills. Which didn’t surprise me really, considering 40% of their staff are engineers and 90% are technically minded.”

Built upon a foundation of engineering excellence, blueAPACHE are trusted to deliver business-critical IT (on-premises and as-a-Service) that help our clients improve business efficiency, increase agility and drive innovation – something Heinrich Kukkak can attest to. “blueAPACHE are neither too big nor too small. They employ really intelligent people who took on a demanding delivery timeline and were able to execute. I’ve had some really good interactions with technically-minded people who understood our whole environment.”

Heinrich says that in the wake of the DR business with blueAPACHE, he’s continuing to work with them as a trusted technology partner on a number of other projects. Although too early to elaborate on, these projects will focus on data analytics and digitising bundles of business-critical data.

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