Clavister Supplies Virtual Security Gateways for World’s Largest Privately Owned Energy Company
Clavister was the sole Security Gateway provider flexible enough to deal with our diverse IT environment. Furthermore, they met our extremely high reliability standards. By implementing virtual security gateways, we achieved our goals of server consolidation, ability to configure remotely and—most importantly—reduced capital investment.” Uwe Fischer, CIO, E.ON C&R
The German energy giant E. ON C&R has a major stake in renewable energy, and has, in a very short time, acquired some 1,400 wind and solar MW capacity around the world. E.ON C&R needed to be able to monitor all these facilities from its headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, and collect all real time data on electricity production and Turbine/Panel status. To establish and secure the necessary communications links proved to be easier said than done. Each facility has its own unique IT infrastructure, and in many cases the facilities were located offshore or in remote locations without traditional telephony and Internet connections.
Extensive internal testing showed that the problem was sufficiently complex, in fact too complex for developing a solution in-house.
Stainczyk & Partner GmbH, a Clavister systems integrator, was assigned the task of providing a solution for E.ON C&R. After showcasing a proof-of-concept, the decision was made to deploy VMware vSphere servers with integrated Clavister Next-Generation Firewall appliances at each site. These servers communicate with everything from DSL to satellite links via a relay station, from where the data is passed on to E.ON C&R’s data center in Düsseldorf. All communication links are secured with Clavisters VPN technologies and managed via a central management system.
“The overall challenge was to create a uniform and secure way to communicate across so many facilities with E.ON C&R’s diverse IT infrastructure,” said Joachim Stainczyk, CEO Stainczyk & Partner.
“There are many NGFW/VPN products on the market, but Clavister was the only one flexible enough to deal with these diverse environments. At the same time, it can be integrated into a virtual server environment, which means less equipment to deploy and support.”
Being able to limit the deployment to one physical device per facility also has a major impact on operational security while virtualization technologies represent a cost-effective way to achieve the required redundancy and streamlined maintenance procedures. For E.ON C&R, it was also important to use a VPN product from a reliable manufacturer which actively supports VMware’s virtualization technology.
“As a bonus, E.ON C&R received a number of additional advantages”, says Joachim Stainczyk.
“Since there is no need for physical firewalls, we can easily deploy and configure VPN connections remotely using vSphere templates. It should be noted that Clavister’s software security gateways use minimal server resources and bandwidth. Clavister’s solution does not rely on any bulky operating system, it only requires “Clavister cOS Core”, Clavister’s proprietary network security operating system, and this means significantly reduced patching requirements. Anyone who works with system maintenance knows that each and every patch involves a substantial risk of disruption.”
The combination of compact software code and minimal need for patches is particularly important in environments with limited bandwidth availability.
Most E.ON C&R facilities have extremely scarce server room space, often located in environments with a cold and harsh weather. Server consolidation is therefore an important factor to make the required robust server technology reasonably affordable
What Clavister did
About E.ON Climate & Renewables GmbH
E.ON, based in Düsseldorf, Germany, is the world’s largest private energy supply company, providing 25 million customers with electricity, gas, and water through its subsidiaries and associated companies around Europe. More than 88,000 employees generated just under EUR82 billion in sales in 2009. With leading market positions in power and gas and nearly 30 million customers E.ON operate in more than 30 countries www.e-on.com