Enel deploys one of the world’s largest grid virtualisation projects


Italian multinational utility Enel has partnered with a consortium of technology companies to deploy one of the world’s largest network virtualisation projects.

The utility has partnered with Accenture, CISCO and Sirti Digital Solutions to deploy telecommunications infrastructure capable of connecting more than 1,000 sites on three continents.

The new infrastructure combines private and public networks to boost agility and cost-efficiency for Enel in its operations in over 10 countries – Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Russia, in addition to a number of sites in North America.

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Designed and developed in Italy, the programme has led to a reduction in operating costs, significantly increasing the agility of Enel’s infrastructure.

Deployed as part of Enel’s Beyond Cloud Computing digital transformation initiative, the project comprises the use of software-defined wide-area network and edge computing solutions.

The aim is to merge the two solutions to create telecommunications architecture that helps to achieve operational excellence through the comprehensive digitisation of processes.

Enel Global Digital Solutions built the new infrastructure, Accenture supported management of the transformation programme, Cisco provided its Viptela SD-WAN technology for the implementation of the centralised component of the infrastructure, whilst Sirti Digital Solutions supported implementation of the distributed component of the new architecture and the migration of network services.

The programme has provided for the introduction of architectures and technologies aimed at accelerating digitisation by facilitating use of the public cloud. In addition, the use of edge computing will help Enel to reduce latency of data processing through boosting processing capacity of distributed data.

Integrating private and public data has previously been considered insecure and companies have not been willing to explore the possibilities.

Proof of the new infrastructure’s potential and agility was provided during the response to the COVID-19 crisis, as Enel swiftly enabled its more than 37,000 employees to work remotely, allowing them to access corporate applications and collaborate securely.

Carlo Bozzoli, Enel’s head of global digital solutions, said the programme “is part of the digital transformation programme launched in 2015 with migration to the cloud. During the COVID-19 emergency, the virtualisation of network equipment has allowed us to manage our infrastructure remotely, without the need to have personnel on site.”