Black Mountain Mine streamlines systems management with Microsoft solution
Black Mountain Mine, with the help of its IT partner Gijima, has rolled out an end-to-end systems management solution based on Microsoft technology. The new platform provides a cost-effective, automated and powerful management platform that will scale alongside
the mining company’s IT environment.
A transition in ownership from Anglo American to Vedanta Resources meant that Black Mountain Mine needed to implement a whole new IT infrastructure. With only a small IT team at its disposal, Black Mountain Mine wanted to put systems management tools in
place that provided high levels of automation for management, deployment and configuration processes.
Black Mountain Mine depended heavily on its previous owner, Anglo American, for many of its IT services and infrastructure requirements. As such, it needed to urgently deploy a new technology infrastructure of its own to meet its business needs when it was
acquired by Vedanta Resources.
The mine embraced the shift towards its own infrastructure as an opportunity to modernise an inflexible legacy environment that had become complex and expensive to maintain and manage. From a systems management point of view, the old environment needed a
great deal of manual intervention by Black Mountain’s IT staff and its IT partners.
For that reason, Black Mountain wanted to put in place state of the art systems management tools that would enable it to automate as many processes as possible. This was a non- negotiable requirement since Black Mountain has only a small IT team of its own
and is located far from any major city centre, meaning that external IT skills are expensive and difficult to source.
Black Mountain also wanted the new solution to provide for proactive, centralised management of its infrastructure so that it could deliver high levels of availability across all of its mission-critical systems. This solution needed to be flexible and dynamic
enough to grow with Black Mountain’s business.
The split from Anglo American meant that Black Mountain Mine faced an aggressive timeframe for the rollout of a complete new infrastructure – it had just one month to complete the implementation of its new platforms.
The mining company appointed JSE-listed systems integrator Gijima to oversee the project – from consulting and implementation through to ongoing technical support. Black Mountain regarded Gijima as perfect partner because of its understanding of the business
drivers in the mining industry and its excellent track record with a range of mining companies.
Gijima is one of the largest Microsoft Gold Partners in South Africa with end-to-end competencies across the entire stack of Microsoft enterprise products. It began its engagement at Black Mountain with an in-depth evaluation of the mine’s infrastructure
and then architected a tailored solution based on its requirements.
Black Mountain Mine has decided to standardise end-to-end on Microsoft software for its IT environment. Gijima proposed, for that reason, that Black Mountain leverage off the full suite of systems management solutions that Microsoft provides. Taken together,
these tools provide complete control over the Black Mountain Mine IT environment.
With Gijima’s assistance, Black Mountain Mine deployed Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to manage its client and server devices. This solution assesses, deploys, and updates Black Mountain’s servers, client computers, and devices across
physical, virtual, and mobile environments.
Configuration Manager 2007 provides tight integration with Forefront Endpoint Protection, the solution Gijima implemented at Black Mountain to deploy, manage, and update antimalware protection and vulnerability prevention on all endpoints. The solution also
ensures that all systems connecting to the network comply with corporate security policies.
For end-to-end service management, Gijima rolled out Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 for Black Mountain. This solution works seamlessly with the mine’s infrastructure and application servers, giving it better control of the IT environment.
Operations Manager integrates with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 to allow for centralised management of physical and virtual IT infrastructure as well as dynamic resource optimisation across virtualised platforms.
Gijima implemented Microsoft Application Virtualization (MS App-V) at Black Mountain to allow for the real-time deployment of applications to any client from a virtual application server. It removes the need for local installation of the applications.
Finally, Gijima put the Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010 (DPM 2010) solution in place for Black Mountain to provide for unified data protection across all servers, desktops and notebooks. DPM 2010 is an easy-to-use and best-of-breed backup and recovery
solution for Windows environments that takes the pain out of data protection.
Gijima has helped Black Mountain to put a cost-effective solution in place that frees it concerns about the cost of attracting, training and retaining IT staff to manage and support its IT environment. The consolidated, virtualised and automated new IT infrastructure
is helping Black Mountain to save direct costs and indirect costs while providing it with the flexibility to grow into the future.
With the complete suite of Microsoft systems management tools in place, Black Mountain Mine has a dynamic and scalable IT management solution for the future. The solution has given the mine more autonomy from external service providers and enables it to
achieve more with its own small IT team of just three people.
From an ageing infrastructure that required a great deal of manual intervention for routine processes and tasks, Black Mountain now has an integrated, adaptable and automated environment with low administration overheads. The solution implemented in conjunction
with Gijima allows Black Mountain to maximise its investment in hardware infrastructure and supports its IT governance and information security demands.
Gijima’s solution automated the deployment and patching of operating systems to client, saving a huge amount of time for Black Mountain’s IT team. Thanks to the Configuration Manager, Black Mountain can force any device – authorised notebooks and home PCs
alike - that connects to the network to comply with its corporate policies.
Applications can be delivered using traditional, virtualised or remote desktop delivery and then all managed using the same tools and processes. Users can access the same profiles from any machine and can even restore their own data if they lose a file,
providing an easy and seamless experience for the company’s 400 end-users.
The solution provides a centralised view of IT operations with full visibility into the health of all applications and systems. Now Black Mountain is able to respond dynamically to systems changes in an automated manner, keeping the environment running optimally
with little need for human intervention. Managing and provisioning virtual servers is a snap, thanks to the System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
"The Microsoft System Center solutions have empowered us to manage our physical and virtual IT environments across our data centre, client computers, and devices in a seamless, integrated and automated manner.
“Some of the benefits we are seeing as a result include reduced costs, better application availability, and a level of flexibility we could only have dreamt of in the past. Gijima's excellent expertise and skills in Microsoft's platforms were absolutely
central in this project."
-Hannes Van Der Berg, Head of Information Technology at Black Mountain Mine