In 2014, the Daiwa Institute of Research (DIR) Business Innovation Ltd. implemented a new Energy Management System (EMS). The system required the large capacity and high level of reliability similar to a social media infrastructure. However, at the same time, the company had to monitor costs as if it were a startup. The Company chose EDB Postgres™ from EnterpriseDB® (EDB™) in order to satisfy these conflicting demands for enterprise-class capabilities at a low cost as it planned for major expansion.
One of the foremost think tanks in Japan, Daiwa Institute of Research (DIR) Business Innovation is a member of the Daiwa Institute of Research Group and has developed systems integration projects over a wide range of fields. DIR Business Innovation has a keen interest in projects comparable to social infrastructures that make the best use of close ties with the Research Group. It recently has been focusing its efforts on the opportunities presented by the business of electric energy, where the market is expected to expand in conjunction with changes in Japan's national energy policy.
One example of this is the EMS. EMSs make it possible for users to optimize energy usage based on the results of visualization of ongoing energy usage at facilities or buildings managed by clients. Such applications are highly promising as a future information and communications technology solution for residential services, when "smart meters" will be in place in ordinary households.
DIR Business Innovation had already provided EMS solutions a large number of corporate clients on an individual basis, and started developing an EMS infrastructure system as a packaged product that could help bring this type of service to a greater number of users.
Enterprise Performance on a Start-up Budget
According to Yasunori Takagi, manager of Systems Development 4 at DIR Business Innovation's System Integration Division, "The business was still in a startup phase and we could not incur massive costs. That's why we decided to build the middleware as an open source-based product. However, for the database, we were not comfortable with using a completely open source product, because as the heart of the entire system, the database had to have both high performance and high reliability."
At that point, DIR Business Innovation focused on EDB Postgres. EDB provides an enhanced version of open source PostgreSQL with enterprise-class performance, security, and manageability features and capabilities organizations require to succeed with open source. EDB also developed database compatibility for Oracle so that most workloads and applications migrate from Oracle with little or no refactoring. Further, EDB Postgres costs up to 80 percent less than traditional database management solutions.
Mr. Atsushi Yamauchi, also part of the DIR Business Innovation team, said: "Since this was going to be commercial service used directly by customers, it had to offer support service so that in the remote possibility of system failure, the developer/vendor could take care of it immediately. Compatibility with Oracle was another reason for choosing EDB Postgres. We felt that in the future, when it becomes necessary to link the EMS to peripheral systems, the greater the affinity with Oracle, the smoother the linking would go."
Ashisuto, a major technology systems integrator in Japan, was DIR’s partner for support and services and also an EDB partner. Ashisuto was put in charge of providing and supporting EDB Postgres. Ashisuto had also provided support for DIR Business Innovation’s Oracle and open source PostgreSQL deployments. According to Mr. Takagi: "The continued high level of support that Ashisuto had already been provided for us, as well as their deep knowledge of both Oracle and EDB and PostgreSQL, led us to ask Ashisuto for help with EDB Postgres."
In a short time, the EMS product the DIR Business Innovation developed was already in use at a number of municipalities, enterprises and utility companies. As of June 2015, power usage data was being collected from tens of thousands of endpoints daily, a number that continues to grow today. At its fastest, data can come in at intervals as short as once per minute. Accordingly, a system infrastructure that can process this data must have extremely high capacity. The EMS infrastructure also provides an inter-system authentication function, and there are about about 2.7 million instances of system authentication today.
According to Atsushi Yamauchi, also part of the team at DIR Research Institute, "The power usage data that is sent in from endpoints like sensors is stored in a database built with Hbase, and then reconciled with endpoint attribute information that is stored in EDB Postgres. Because the entire EMS is rendered unable to function if a delay with EDB Postgres reconciliation processing causes a failure, it needs to have extremely high levels of performance and reliability. To date, there have been no problems with the database and we have absolutely no concerns about either performance or reliability."
Mr. Yamauchi added that EDB Postgres could go toe-to-toe with Oracle databases and other ordinary commercial databases in terms of performance and reliability. As use of DIR Business Innovation's EMS grows in scale going forward, Yamauchi said, EDB Postgres will likely sustain the same level of performance and safe operation that it does today, even under drastic strain.
EDB Postgres Supports Long-term Growth Plans
The EMS that was released by DIR Business Innovation has "visualization of energy usage" as its major objective, but according to mission director Hiroshi Yoshimoto, who heads the Global Competency Center at DIR Business Innovation's System Consulting Division, the goal for the EMS solution is more than simply data visualization.
Said Mr. Yoshimoto: "What we can currently capture with our EMS is mainly power usage data, but in the future we are hoping to develop an IoT (internet of things) infrastructure that can gather data about not just electricity but all kinds of devices and equipment that exist in facilities, stores, factories and homes. This EMS we have now represents the first step in that direction."
"There is potential for heightened need for energy management systems going forward in the emergent nations of Asia where the electric power infrastructure is not fully advanced,” said Mr. Yoshimoto. “Because our EMS can better control costs with EDB Postgres on a subscription license basis, it will be the perfect system to bring into the emergent nations of Asia.”