Hosting company MedOne and technological firm HP have set up two new IT centers for Israel’s national lottery organization Mifal Hapais: a main IT center in the company’s headquarters building, and a backup (disaster recovery, or DR) center inside MedOne’s data center at Tirat Carmel.

The project won in the infrastructures and technology category of the 2014 People & Computers IT Awards, with MedOne receiving an award of excellence for its contribution to the project’s success.

HP and MedOne had won a challenging, complex Mifal Hapais tender for setting up new IT centers and moving the IT employees’ personal computer equipment to a new building and a new backup center.

HP was chosen to set up the main IT center inside Mifal Hapais headquarters in Tel Aviv, and to transfer all the organization’s systems from the old IT center nearby to the new one, while MedOne was chosen to host the DR site at MedOne’s advanced installation in Tirat Carmel, with HP performing the actual transfer of the DR systems.

The challenge

The challenge consisted of two main projects, including twenty subprojects performed by the Mifal Hapais employees, to be completed in a record time of four months for planning and execution, with no system shutdown and with Mifal Hapais activities continuing in ordinary, uninterrupted fashion, as well as — of course — with optimal price/performance.

The solution

MedOne, Israel’s most advanced provider of IT system hosting and storage services, was chosen for the job because of the high security and backup standards enforced at each of its three subterranean security sites: built-in hosting cabinets with high survivability, compliance with a top-level SLA (99.99%), comprehensive security by means of 8 overlapping security circles, and electrical systems that guarantee the ability to operate autonomously through 72 hours of full demand (an ability unique to MedOne’s installations).

MedOne gave Mifal Hapais the highest-quality data center solution and it set up the DR site in the course of some seven weeks, which included constructing the dedicated site for hosting the Mifal Hapais DRP systems, connecting them by numerous communications channels to the Mifal Hapais points of sale, and connecting the hosting site to the MedOne communications center by means of a communications infrastructure exclusively for use of Mifal Hapais.

When the backup site had been speedily and optimally set up, the IT systems were transferred there by employees of HP and of Mifal Hapais pending completion of the new main IT center.

At the peak of the re-hosting work, while the main computer room was shut down for roughly a day in order to be moved, the backup system at MedOne went into operation as the main site for performing all the principal business transactions of Mifal Hapais, including the entire sales deployment, the sales support systems, and the important in-house organizational systems.

Throughout the period of the IT center’s setup and transfer, continuous service from the IT systems was fully and uncompromisingly preserved.

The head of business development for data centers at HP Israel, Jacob Shaaltiel, coordinated the project from the HP side. He recounts: “The entire effort of constructing the DR capability was led by the MedOne CEO, Ronnie Sadeh, together with their projects division manager Tali Harari and their sales manager Zarina Nishanov; all of them worked in full cooperation with the HP team and with the Mifal Hapais representatives. That made it possible to set the site up with great success, having come jointly to all the decisions quickly, jointly, and with full transparency.”

The two new IT centers were set up for Mifal Hapais with Tier-4 survivability, the highest existing level of survivability in Israel, and in compliance with the goal of complete business continuity free of all interruptions to Mifal Hapais sales activities (which depend completely on the IT systems).

Ronnie Sadeh, CEO of MedOne, sums up: “For MedOne, this meant undertaking another large and challenging project where we had to meet a demanding schedule while providing top security and backup capabilities and guaranteeing complete work continuity. I can say, with much pride, that we handled the assignment with great success.”

Daniel Nahum, VP for IT systems at Mifal Hapais, relates that the activities in cooperation with HP were part of a strategic project for vacating the organization’s IT building. Along with the work that HP carried out, that complex project also included other subprojects such as accommodating the IT workers in the new building, moving into a new logistics center, and transferring the contents of the warehouses. The IT move required additional construction work as well. Particularly emphasized were practicing risk management and having the entire company involved. The project brought together all the organizational units of Mifal Hapais. They were deeply involved in the project and contributed greatly to its success. In all, the project included tens of sensitive subprojects that were handled in parallel under the crowded schedule that was imposed. Mr. Nahum pointed out that the project’s scope was rare in Israeli IT. “We are very pleased with the quality of the solution that emerged from our cooperation and with the administrative and technological abilities our project partners displayed — the Mifal Hapais employees, HP as primary contractor, and all the other contractors and advisors involved in the project.”

Shraga Parnas[2], CTO at Mifal Hapais, notes that in parallel with the very intensive cooperative work by the Mifal Hapais infrastructures division together with HP, some twenty further multidisciplinary projects were carried out as preparation and support for the process of transferring the IT centers and the local employees into the new building. They included setting up separate new infrastructures for the DRP systems so that they would be ready for transfer to MedOne, setting up a new storage and backup system, setting up new LAN and WAN communications for thousands of Mifal Hapais points of sale, and transferring the telephony.