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data centre project completed, long live modernity!


A major historic project has just come to an end for i-CITY, with the successful completion of the final phase of the decommissioning of the i-CITY data centre: the removal of the racks, the machines, the last of the cable trays... a whole part of our history has been definitively turned over to support the City's new digital strategy...

The aim of this 5-year project was to transform our 'in-house' model on Boulevard Emile Jacqmain into a hybrid management model for our infrastructure, shared between public (Vmware Cloud Foundation) and private (Microsoft Azure) Cloud solutions on hyper-converged servers and a physical datacentre leased from Paradigm on Sibelga's premises. The final phase of this project, the decommissioning of the premises, began in January 2023, after our move to Brucity.

Khai Huang, the project manager in charge of both the technical and functional aspects of this decommissioning, explains: "To make all this possible, we first analysed the systems and business applications hosted at i-CITY, as well as the hosted equipment, and determined a broad roadmap. The aim was to decommission and transform as many applications as possible before hosting them in the new Data Centre and on Azure. As the saying goes, it was the ideal time to get rid of our old baggage, to upgrade but also to rationalise and consolidate what already existed. We then put in place global governance for the Program Infra/Cloud (vision, communication, priorities, budget, risks, constraints, prerequisites, assumptions, etc.). These new technologies and solutions required the teams to increase their maturity in terms of technical knowledge from a cross-functional point of view (Service Desk, System Engineer, Architects) - via in-house work sessions and with suppliers, staff training and participation in seminars. POCs (Proof of Concept) and test environments have also been created.  Finally, the service model was also reviewed across the board (escalation, support, maintenance, etc.). This project has generated a major human and organisational transformation, far beyond the equipment and solutions."

Thomas Libert, Director of Infrastructure & Endpoint, comments: "This final phase was complex in terms of handling the network connectivity and separating the critical Firewall and Reverse Proxy nodes, which had to be moved to Sibelga and Brucity. The telecoms connections were provisioned between these 2 sites in order to put in place a strategy that would guarantee the continuity of network services in the Brucity building in the event of a problem at the Sibelga data centre. Numerous i-CITY teams - technical, architecture, engineering and testing - were mobilised and worked hand in hand, across the board, to ensure that this decommissioning was carried out transparently and invisibly for the users of our services at the City, the IP and third-party entities. A 100% successful objective!"

RĂ©gis Pitolet, IT Director & CTO, explains: "The digital landscape has been changing at an accelerated pace over the last few years, with the rise of teleworking and a professional world that is increasingly connected at all times, generating growing volumes of data that need to be solidly protected. The completion of this major project is quite unique for a public institution. Our move towards a pay-as-you-go model gives us local access to the most advanced cloud infrastructures. Our IT and infrastructure businesses are also changing, enabling us to focus on higher added-value services for our organisation. We're moving towards greater professionalism and control to deliver an increasingly optimised user experience."