BC Hydro is a Canadian electric utility responsible for generating, purchasing, distributing and selling electricity in the province of British Columbia. BC Hydro is the third largest electric utility in Canada, serving approximately 1.9 million customers throughout the province of British Columbia. The primary source of BC Hydro’s generation is a number of large hydroelectric generating stations combined with a number of water reservoirs located throughout the province. Managing and optimizing the output of the generators is a critical and challenging function, and depends on a wide number of dynamic variables.
“The utility computing model of AWS and the cloud are the perfect fit for this workload,” said Lucas Malesku, an IT Architect for BC Hydro. “We leaned heavily on the expertise of Onica by Rackspace Technology to take advantage of the AWS platform, and we were very pleased with the results.”
The obstacles they faced
Without Amazon Web Services (AWS), the newest generation of BC Hydro’s models wouldn’t be economically feasible: the relatively low average usage means that the cost of maintaining on premises hardware to meet the peak load would be too high to justify.
Using existing laptops took 10 to 20 hours to run a key model, which was impractical given that the new model needed to run 10 times per month.
“The utility computing model of AWS and the cloud are the perfect fit for this workload. We leaned heavily on the expertise of Onica by Rackspace Technology to take advantage of the AWS platform, and we were very pleased with the results.”
How we helped
By using AWS, BC Hydro is able to provide computer resources very quickly, use them to run the models, ensure the data is secure, and then shut them down to minimize operational costs. The new solution resulted in the following outcomes:
- The cloud environment, utilizing 216 CPUs, can be spun up in 10-15 minutes
- The data and program code can be deployed to the cloud in five minutes
- The model can be run in 10 to 12 minutes within the cloud
- Once results are retrieved, the cloud environment can be destroyed in five to 10 minutes
- The total cost of the run is approximately $10
What we achieved together
Implementing an on-demand model
BC Hydro did not have the in-house expertise to develop the solution, and chose Onica by Rackspace Technology to work together to enable them to run these models in an automated and secure environment on AWS.
AWS lends itself perfectly to the on-demand model, such as when a significant amount of computational resources is required for relatively short bursts of activity.
By using the expertise of Onica by Rackspace Technology both in AWS and software engineering, BC Hydro was able to understand all the necessary components and go deeper into the requirements, as well as plan and implement the right solution.
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