Croke Park brings IT into sustainability project with great success

Pictured from left: Edel Creely, Managing Directory, Trilogy Technologies, Declan Fanning, IT Manager, GAA, John Casey, Sales Director, Trilogy Technologies


Thursday 21st August 2014

Croke Park brings IT into sustainability project with great success

Croke Park has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over a hundred years. Boasting a capacity for 82,300 people, the stadium is the home of Gaelic games and the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Croke Park has been a leader in green initiatives since 2008 having taken a holistic sustainable approach to stadium operations and developed a range of Environmental & Sustainability initiatives and projects.

Croke Park has become one of the first sports stadiums in the world to achieve certification in the recently released ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System International Standard. ISO 20121 is designed to help venues and organisations, such as Croke Park and the GAA, to recognise their impact on the economy, society and the environment.

“In order to maintain and improve our event sustainability management system still further, we identified areas where we could cut down energy costs and, at the same time, improve efficiency.”
Tracy Bunyan, Deputy Head of Stadium Operations at Croke Park.

“Our core IT Infrastructure was one such area identified to improve sustainability. Severs had been procured over time to support specific tasks and projects, resulting in servers employing different operating systems and hardware builds. Conducting updates was, therefore, a complex and time consuming process, whilst additional hardware would often have to be commissioned to support new applications.”
Declan Fanning, IT Manager GAA.

Trilogy Technologies, Croke Park’s IT Solutions Partner undertook an audit of the GAA and Croke Park’s core server technology infrastructure. Trilogy decided that Croke Park needed to have a centralised server and storage architecture so that it immediately provides greater control, a more stable infrastructure and be more energy efficient. At the same time Trilogy experts looked at system performance, business needs and future planning to create a project that would ultimately provide Croke Park with a high capacity, high performance centralised solution that would also be cost-effective.

Trilogy then drew up a strategy with the GAA IT Department to design a Private Cloud solution that encompassed current requirements with future growth while containing Croke Park’s IT budget. As part of this strategy, it focused on new ways to maximize resource efficiency through consolidation and virtualization. Moving to a virtualized environment would result in improved ease of management with impressive power consumption and air conditioning savings. By consolidating applications that had been running on physical servers throughout the business to virtual servers, IT staff could efficiently manage the applications from a single point of control.

Trilogy implemented a private cloud infrastructure built around energy efficient NetApp Storage and VMWare VSphere Software. The project has enabled Croke Park to replace over 30 physical servers with the new Private Cloud Infrastructure. The new infrastructure provides Croke Park Stadium with a readily available fully redundant platform to run its core administration, match day and building management systems while offering automatic failover, business continuity and disaster recovery.

In compliance with Croke Park Stadium’s energy efficiency initiatives, the new Private Cloud Infrastructure has a power consumption of 10,512 kWh compared to the previous physical infrastructure which consumed approximately 70,080 kWh. In annual savings that results in savings of 59,568 kWh. The annual environmental impact results in savings in carbon emissions of 31.61 kg which is equivalent to 13 cars off the road and 42 newly planted broadleaf trees.

Tracking power usage to eliminate waste can lead to huge cost savings. With the new solutions, real-time monitoring allows Croke Park to comprehensively track where and how electricity is consumed and can offer opportunities to better manage and even reduce a server’s power draw. The complete solution is underpinned by a 24/7/365 outsourced Trilogy Managed Service contract for a fully outsourced helpdesk, the on-going administration and management of the infrastructure including match day support with added application and system monitoring all of which is reported via the Trilogy edge/point portal.

“The virtualised cloud based solution that Trilogy has implemented for us gives Croke Park the stability and performance boost that we needed to meet our sustainability initiatives and reduce costs. Sustainability can achieve significant cost savings through resource efficiency.”
Declan Fanning, IT Manager GAA.