Once an aluminium smelting facility starts up, production cannot stop. That’s because cleaning out production pots where the liquid metal has solidified brings significant costs.
At the Tomago Aluminium Company Pty. Limited plant in Australia, production has continued 24 hours a day since 1983. Everything at the plant supports the processing of alumina into metal using 840 smelting pots organized into three enormous production lines.
The Tomago IT department plays a critical role in keeping the pot lines in production. “For example, we have a large warehouse of spare parts for critical plant infrastructure, and we depend on our SAP ERP platform to locate those parts quickly if something breaks,” says Dennis Moncrieff, IT Superintendent at Tomago. “We need to get production back online as soon as possible.”
Several years ago, the IT team was approached by a third-party provider, which offered Tomago the opportunity to upgrade its business-essential SAP® software to the SAP HANA® platform — if Tomago also migrated to a public cloud provider.
However, not long after Tomago completed its migration, issues began to surface. “The cloud was a true black box. We had no insights into it at all,” says Moncrieff. “It was challenging to make decisions because we couldn’t see how much capacity was being used by the environment. All we had was up-or-down monitoring.”
“Tomago knew that the service was running, but they didn’t know much more than that,” says Talor Holloway, Chief Technical Officer of IBM Business Partner, Advent One. “How could they spin up a sandbox environment or how would they know that backups were occurring — where’s the proof?”Read the case study