Train at station, Alstom rail transport

VMware helps Alstom ease Amsterdam’s traffic woes

Posted on 14/07/2021 by Pierric Chabat

The city manages its traffic using a digital clone built by Alstom, its partner DXC Technology, and based on VMware hyperconverged infrastructure.

Alstom is a global leader in the railway industry with more than 75,000 employees worldwide in 60 countries. The business generates annual sales of €15.5 billion. 

Alstom spans hardware — high-speed trains, trams, and subways — as well as signalling management services and maintenance of the equipment in circulation. It is an increasingly digital enterprise. 

The Alstom Digital Mobility (ADM) department produces rail traffic management systems. It is focused on optimizing real-time performance in signaling and multimodality by offering connectivity and automating driving. It is currently developing the world’s first driverless, regional train network.

ADM is also central to the traffic management of one of the Europe’s biggest cities. The Amsterdam metropolitan area is home to 2.5 million people and boasts a highly-integrated public transport network. ADM provides management for the city’s tram and subway system.

To explore different traffic scenarios, ADM wanted to create a digital clone of Amsterdam’s public transport network. To do this, says Mehdi Belahcen, a Senior Cloud Architect at Alstom, the ADM team needed scalable and secure technical infrastructure. In this case, a pool of more than 3,000 servers were hosted on Alstom’s premises in a private cloud, managed by the ADM entity itself.

Creating a digital clone accelerates innovation

Digital services company DXC Technology has supported Alstom since 2015. Alstom’s private cloud, public cloud, and legacy infrastructure environments are operated by DXC Technology’s technical teams.

DXC Technology, with the support of its manufacturer and publisher partners – in this case VMware – integrated a Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged platform combined with a software-defined data center (SDDC) and VMware Cloud Director

“Security is a strong demand from Alstom. In response to this demand, we integrated the VMware NSX Data Center software suite to segregate its production environment and secure it as a whole. Segregation allows us to isolate all environments operated and hosted on the VxRail platform and provide a level of security and exchange around applications,”

Stéphane Torlet, Chief Technology Officer EMEA, DXC Technology. 

In the end, the platform is a pre-packaged solution of 21 hyperconverged units integrating storage, CPU, and RAM. It allows Alstom’s project needs to be met in complete security and remains scalable.

Adopting the hyperconverged platform on new projects

“The digital clone allowed us to demonstrate to our Amsterdam client the viability of the proposed solution. Where a traditional model would have taken several months, the digital clone produced only required a few weeks of work, including validations,” says Belahcen.

The Amsterdam success has accelerated the adoption of this platform by other business projects within the group. Alstom has gone from a base of 300 virtual machines to more than 1,500 virtual machines, in less than two years. In the future it intends to go even further by replicating this model based on VMware solutions in the public cloud to bring even more agility and scalability.

“The VMware solution enables us to achieve a level of delegation of actions that are completely optimized and directly consumed by Alstom’s businesses, in an autonomous and perfectly secure manner,” adds Torlet.

About DXC Technology 

For more than 15 years, DXC Technology has been developing IT solutions that leverage VMware technologies to modernize data centers and integrate with public clouds, modernize applications, and transform security.

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