Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) adopts network with Cisco Universal Power Over Ethernet (UPOE) capabilities
With its fast-growing economy, India faces significant challenges in meeting the energy needs of its population and industry. As a result of this, and its responsibility as one of the top five greenhouse gas emitters globally, the government has prioritized the development of locally generated, renewable energy resources.
India's National Action Plan for Climate Change calls for the contribution of renewable energy in the Indian power generation sector to increase by 1 percent annually to reach 15 percent by 2020. Because renewable energy projects can have high costs in terms of initial investment and ongoing generation operations, they typically require funding for terms much longer than those normally available from lenders. To address these challenges, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) was established in 1987.
As a Public Limited Government Company based in New Delhi, and operating under the administrative control of India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, IREDA promotes, develops, and extends financial assistance for projects involving renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, and conservation.
With the growth of the renewable energy sector depending on much larger projects requiring substantially higher funding, IREDA recognized the need to optimize use of its resources and leverage technology advances to better serve its constituents. To improve the efficiency of its increasingly complex operations, IREDA sought to replace its aging heterogeneous campus network infrastructure with a scalable, unified solution. Key requirements included superior reliability and security as well as energy efficiency to foster the agency's values while providing cost savings.
After evaluating alternatives, IREDA standardized on an end-to-end Cisco solution for its two New Delhi offices. A collapsed architecture for core, access, and edge infrastructure is supported by Cisco Catalyst
® 4500 E-Series Switches running Supervisor Engine 7L-E and reinforced by a Cisco
® ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance.
"Our network data transfer speed and application performance increased by using Cisco Switches/Router/Firewall, etc.," says Sanjay Kumar, deputy manager for MIS at IREDA.
Cisco security features help ensure that sensitive financial information related to business loan applicants and recipients remains protected. Distinct VLANs on the network connect IREDA's data center, on the back end, to key groups of users, with advanced role awareness. Cisco TrustSec
® mechanism for SGT Exchange Protocol (SXP) makes role information available at every enforcement point in the network, making the entire network role-aware to protect access to confidential data. The Cisco ASA provides firewall, intrusion prevention, VPN, remote access, and other services to safeguard access.
High-availability features of the Cisco Catalyst switching platform, such as In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU), Non-Stop Forwarding (NSF), and Stateful Switchover (SSO), support uninterrupted operations even as IREDA needs to scale its environment to accommodate growth. "We also plan to use VSS functionality available on the Catalyst 4500E switches to further minimize management overhead while improving the availability of our core layer," says Kumar.
The Cisco Catalyst 4500 E-Series Switches feature the unique capability of powering network devices requiring up to 60W with Cisco Universal Power Over Ethernet (UPOE) technology, minimizing wiring costs and easing deployment while helping ensure a resilient power infrastructure. IREDA evaluated UPOE for powering the Cisco TelePresence
® EX60, saw the possibilities for consolidating its Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS), and also discussed the potential for UPOE to power a future Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployment.
"We were truly impressed by these new, forward-thinking features on the Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series Switches. Its capability to extend resilient UPOE power to phones, videoconferencing systems, and even VDI adds a lot of value beyond what a simple network switch normally offers," says Kumar.
The embedded support on the switches for Cisco EnergyWise
™ technology, allowing power monitoring and management of network devices, also complements IREDA's principles around innovation in energy efficiency.
With a refreshed, unified Cisco network in place, IREDA has noticed an immediate benefit in lower-than-expected energy consumption. "The power efficiency of the Catalyst 4500 E-Series Switches is proving to be very high, so we are seeing important reductions in energy use. The green features of the switches resonate perfectly with IREDA's mission to promote energy conservation," says Kumar.
The ease of deployment and management of the consolidated network environment, in addition to the investment protection afforded by the long chassis life of Cisco switches, increase ROI and provide an overall low total cost of ownership. "With the ability to automatically discover and download images and configuration to access layer switches, Smart Install Director functionality on the Catalyst 4500E has enabled us to increase overall operational efficiency," says Kumar.
Medianet features embedded in Cisco IOS
® Software will allow IREDA to accelerate its voice and video deployments. For example, Cisco IP Service Level Agreement Video Operation (IPSLA VO) will help IREDA network managers stress-test the network with simulated video traffic. Another feature, Mediatrace, provides hop-by-hop analysis of a media flow in real time to isolate issues. Exposing and addressing any weaknesses in advance of video application deployments will help IREDA help ensure superior user experiences.
Once deployed, IREDA can leverage the Performance Monitor feature of Medianet to collect metrics on round-trip traffic flow time and packet loss occurrences. "As we looked to future-proof our network, we saw that advanced Cisco features like Medianet would allow us to monitor voice and video quality in real time and optimize bandwidth. Providing our users with reliable, high-quality voice and video experiences will promote collaboration while reducing our operating expenses," Kumar says.
With a robust, enterprise-class network foundation in place, IREDA is now more capable of supporting escalating demands for renewable energy initiatives across India. "Uninterrupted, secure operations are critical to meeting the needs of our staff and upholding the confidence of our constituents. With solutions from Cisco, we are in a better position to scale our operations intelligently and efficiently toward our goal of `Energy Forever,'" says Kumar.