Columbia Pipeline links up with IBM in $180m cloud deal

CPG is sending most of its applications to the cloud

CPG is sending most of its applications to the cloud

Newly independent Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) signed a $180m deal with IBM this week that will see the firm support the migration of its application infrastructure from on-premise datacenters into a hybrid cloud environment.

CPG recently split from NiSource to become an independent midstream pipeline and storage business with 15,000 miles of interstate pipeline, gathering and processing assets extending from New York to the Gulf of Mexico.

The company this week announced it has enlisted IBM, a long-time partner of NiSource, to help it migrate its infrastructure and line of business applications (finance, human resources, ERP) off NiSource’s datacenters an into a private cloud platform hosted in IBM’s datacenters in Columbus, Ohio.

The wide-ranging deal will also see CPG lean on IBM’s cloud infrastructure for its network services, help desk, end-user services, cybersecurity, mobile device management and operational big data.

“IBM has been a long-time technology partner for NiSource, providing solutions and services that have helped that company become an energy leader in the U.S.,” said Bob Skaggs, chief executive of CPG. “As an independent business, we are counting on IBM to help provide the continued strong enterprise technology support CPG needs.”

Philip Guido, general manager, IBM Global Technology Services, North America said: “As a premier energy company executing on a significant infrastructure investment program, CPG requires an enterprise technology strategy that’s as forward-thinking and progressive as its business strategy. Employing an IT model incorporating advanced cloud, mobile, analytics and security technologies and services from IBM will effectively support that vision.”

Companies that operate such sensitive infrastructure – like oil and gas pipelines – are generally quite conservative when it comes to where they host their applications and data, though the recent IBM deal speaks to an emerging shift in the sector. Earlier this summer Gaia Gallotti, research manager at IDC Energy Insights told BCN that cloud is edging higher on the agenda of CIOs in the energy and utilities sector, but that they are struggling with a pretty significant skills gap.