Vestas harnesses the power of the wind with big data analytics supported by Lenovo NeXtScale

Overview
To help customers get the most out of their investment in wind turbines, renewable energy giant Vestas deployed a Lenovo NeXtScale System M5 cluster to support game-changing big data analytics. Today, the company can analyze streaming data from over 35,000 turbines around the world – delivering actionable insight to improve manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and customer services.
 
“With the Lenovo cluster, we can run the compute- intensive streaming data analyses and simulations we need to ensure customers benefit from our expertise.”
 —Lars Christian Christensen,
Vice President,
Vestas
 
Solution components
Hardware
Lenovo NeXtScale M5 with 662 compute nodes  with over 17,000 cores powered by Intel® Xeon® E5 family of processors
Lenovo Intelligent Cluster
Lenovo System x3850 X6
Lenovo RackSwitch G8052
Lenovo RackSwitch G8272
Mellanox SX 6025 switch
 
Software
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
CentOS
xCAT
IBM Streams
Open Grid Scheduler
 
Services
Lenovo factory integration services and HPC deployment services
 
“Supported by the powerful Lenovo cluster, we can perform detailed analyses of existing turbines and climate conditions to find the best possible location for new wind farm sites.”
 —Anders Rhod Gregersen,
Chief Specialist,
Vestas
 
Over the past 35 years, Vestas has continuously pioneered new technologies and solutions that have brought reliable wind energy solutions to 37 markets, thus planting the seeds of the modern wind industry. Wind power from Vestas’ more than 59,000 wind turbines currently reduces carbon emissions by over 60 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark, the company provides jobs for around 21,800 people at service and project sites, research facilities, factories, and offices all over the world.

Lars Christian Christensen, Vice President of Vestas, begins: “Vestas is the global leader in wind energy. But we don’t just manufacture industry-leading wind turbines, we also deliver comprehensive management and maintenance services to help customers realize the full potential of their wind business.”

Taking advantage of big data
Vestas recognized long ago that the key to helping customers extract the greatest value from their wind farms was data.

Lars Christian Christensen elaborates: “We’ve been gathering data from operational wind turbines located all around the world since 1991. Today, there are over 33,500 turbines connected to the Vestas grid, all of which stream huge volumes of operational data into our data lakes in real time, 24/7.”

As a result, Vestas has vast data libraries at its disposal that, when combined with data from global weather systems, form the basis of the company’s Smart Data & Consultancy Services.

Anders Rhod Gregersen, Chief Specialist at Vestas, explains: “By running in-depth analyses, we can transform this data into actionable insight to support customer operations and win new business. For example, we can pinpoint the optimal location for a turbine to ensure customers get the best energy output, increasing their revenues. We can therefore provide potential customers with business case certainty. We also use data models and simulations to ensure that we deliver best-in-class maintenance services.”

With vast quantities of turbine data streaming in around the clock, demand for high-performance computing (HPC) resources was growing – fast. To continue delivering its Smart Data & Consultancy Services, Vestas recognized the need to refresh its underlying IT infrastructure.

Selecting a powerful platform
After evaluating HPC offerings from a range of vendors, Vestas decided to implement Lenovo NeXtScale System to support its Smart Data & Consultancy Services.

Anders Rhod Gregersen comments: “Lenovo is one of the few hardware vendors on the market with a dedicated HPC group. We really appreciate the deep expertise that the Lenovo team offers – having people on board who have hands-on experience of designing, delivering and supporting HPC solutions is a big plus.”

Lars Christian Christensen adds: “For budgetary reasons, we had a very tight deadline for getting the solution on site and the Lenovo team bent over backwards to get everything done in time. Despite our signing the contract just before Christmas, Lenovo was able to deliver the solution before the end of the year. We’ve developed a great relationship with the local team, who consistently deliver excellent support services.”

Working closely with Lenovo, Vestas deployed a cluster based on 662 Lenovo NeXtScale nx360 M5 compute nodes  – the largest HPC cluster in Denmark. Powered by CPUs from the Intel® Xeon® E5 family of processors, the Lenovo system offers the high levels of performance needed to run resource-intensive data analysis, modeling and simulation tasks. The cluster runs the IBM Streams analytics platform to process and analyze data from 33,500 turbines in near real time, and uses Open Grid Scheduler to manage jobs and benchmarks at 772 TFLOPS.

Generating actionable insight
Today, the Lenovo solution ensures that Vestas can take full advantage of the huge volumes of data constantly streaming into its libraries from turbines across the globe.

Anders Rhod Gregersen notes: “Supported by the powerful Lenovo cluster, we can perform detailed analyses of existing turbines and climate conditions to find the best possible location for new wind farm sites. We use this information to create a rock-solid business case, whereby we can confidently report to potential customers how much electricity their proposed site will produce – giving them peace of mind that they’ll get a healthy return on their investment.

“Only Vestas Smart Data & Consultancy Services can deliver this level of insight so quickly – competitors have to run investigations that take at least 18 months and cost potential customers thousands of Euros. Harnessing years’ worth of big data puts us well ahead of the competition.”

As well as winning Vestas new business, the Smart Data & Consultancy Services are used to support turbine manufacture, assembly and maintenance.

“Deep data-driven insight into existing turbine operations enable us to continually optimize manufacturing and assembly processes to ensure that we always deliver high-quality equipment,” says Lars Christian Christensen. “By analyzing streaming data, we can also spot issues before they start affecting energy production.

“Thanks to streaming data analysis, we know very quickly if a turbine is facing the wrong direction or malfunctioning – rather than finding out about it days after the fact. This means that we can notify the customer, send repairmen or spare parts out immediately, and fix the problem before it affects energy production.”

Anders Rhod Gregersen concludes: “With so much data at our disposal, we know everything about our turbines. With the Lenovo cluster, we can run the compute-intensive streaming data analyses and simulations we need to ensure customers benefit from our expertise. We’ve been so impressed with the performance of the Lenovo NeXtScale System solution that we’re already planning an upgrade to meet ever-increasing demand for our Smart Data & Consultancy Services.”

For more information
To learn more about Lenovo Data Center Systems solutions, contact your Lenovo Sales Representative or Lenovo Business Partner, or visit: www.lenovo.com/data-center

For more information about Vestas, visit: www.vestas.com or connect with @Vestas
 
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