Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is a Malaysian multinational electricity company serving most of Malaysia’s population of 32 million people. F5 BIG-IP solutions helped the company adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and deploy AMI, ultimately improving productivity, business continuity, access for remote workers, and the company’s environmental performance.
The largest electricity provider in Malaysia, TNB is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. The company adopted a transformational approach to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, drive workforce productivity to continuously serve its customers, and contribute effectively to environmental protection by incorporating sound environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices.
Its first goal as part of this effort was to build a resilient system for its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) application, commonly known as smart meters. The AMI would enable TNB to capture meter readings remotely, reducing regular travel to customer households. Customers could then track their power use in real time and make digital online payments for their electricity bills.
TNB partnered with F5 to provide a high level of application and multi-site resiliency with BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM). The solution enabled TNB’s infrastructure to scale based on business needs and capture accurate power consumption in real time without physical travel to visit customer households.
In addition, F5’s simple and scalable load balancer solution would help its internal IT operations smoothly migrate from its previous load balancer and handle several IT and operational technology (OT) challenges. For this internal need, TNB partnered with F5 to upgrade the company’s existing capabilities to F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM). Together they implemented a remote access solution that is both agile and scalable.
Once the F5 solution was implemented, TNB successfully launched its AMI application, together with AirWatch and MDM, to 1.8 million households and businesses in Malaysia. The resulting resilient infrastructure enabled customers to make online payments, eliminating the need to travel to Kedai Tenaga for payment transactions, and also reduced emissions from employee travel to households for meter reading. The changes positively impact the nation’s environment and help TNB meet its ESG goals.
Bolstered by its success so far, TNB plans to roll out smart devices to 9.1 million customers by 2026. In addition, TNB migrated all 250 of its applications from its previous load balancer without any downtime.
“Driving business performance and resiliency is key in supporting the 1.8 million nationwide [AMI] users,” says Puan Fatmah Kadir, the company’s Head of Telco and Network Services. “With over 30 F5 devices in our environment and the dedicated team of Telco and Network Services (TNS), this working partnership is better and brighter.”
With the F5 solutions in place, TNB could seamlessly transition from a traditional “work from office” approach to a work from home—or work anywhere—model without business disruption. This significantly improved workforce productivity while ensuring business continuity during the pandemic lockdown period. BIG-IP APM easily managed the related surge in server load and increased user count. As a result, TNB can now handle a load of 15 to 20 thousand employees connected simultaneously without disruptions or latency.
Of course, TNB has also reduced emissions as a result of the work from anywhere model, with help from F5.
The Active-Active Data Centre (AADC) infrastructure leveraging BIG-IP LTM and BIG-IP APM allowed TNB to gradually migrate from MS Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2016 to support both internal and external segments. The setup provided TNB’s 32,000 users with secure, high availability user access to Exchange 2016, improving the team’s ability to deliver an exceptionally high level of customer experience.
“TNB can now handle huge traffic loads with their load balancing capabilities,” says En Zulkifli Bin Salahudin, Head of Center of Delivery and Operation Services for TNB. “The F5 partnership became integral to ensure operations run smoothly and seamlessly without any business disruption.”