As a natural gas and electric utility, Black Hills Energy requires 24/7 access to critical IT/business systems to deliver trusted service to over 1.2 million customers across eight states in the Midwest and Mountain West. The company also produces and sources its own natural gas and electricity across the country.
With those huge responsibilities at stake and a diverse range of services, sites, and complex operations spread across a wide and varied geography, the company’s IT services can never waver.
After working with several colocation providers, the company’s IT leadership landed on Lunavi's Cheyenne facility as a natural fit for their colocation needs. For Brian Schaben, Director of Infrastructure and Operations Services at Black Hills Energy, co-located data centers are always the top choice.
“I would never bring our data center back on premise,” Schaben said. “We could triple our size and I would still recommend colocation. We get big-time infrastructure benefits for a fraction of the cost. Plus, Lunavi’s core competency is data center management. We need our data centers to be up 100 percent of the time, and colocation provides that.
Black Hills prefers to locate facilities in the company’s service territories to support communities the company serves. That immediately made Lunavi’s modern data center in Cheyenne an attractive option, but robust connectivity, a focus on customer service and security and compliance coverage are what set the site above the competition.
“Cheyenne was a good choice for several reasons,” Schaben said. “A lot of fiber bandwidth goes into Cheyenne. And it’s a very well-managed facility.”
As an energy producer and provider, Black Hills has to adhere to strict regulatory standards in serving its 1.2 million residential and commercial utility customers.
“Considering the amount of time spent in daily operations, it is extremely beneficial for Black Hills to use some of the managed services, remote hands and eyes that Lunavi provides,” Schaben said. “If we do not have technical staff in the area, it is nice to know we can rely on Green House Data for these services.”
The professional resources available at Lunavi allow Black Hills to focus the company’s efforts where needed, while entrusting other responsibilities to a service provider focused on the customer experience.
Black Hills has many complex operations in progress at all times, and losing systems because of cooling issues or equipment shut down is unacceptable. Having experienced such issues with an on-premise data center, Schaben said he has been impressed with the onsite support and customer service delivered by the Lunavi staff.
“It’s just wonderful,” Schaben said. “I don’t have any complaints. I’ve never had to follow up on a ticket. My team loves working with the staff there, so all is well.”