Purple Scout helps NODA create a scalable cloud-solution

Henrik Lernmark, software developer at Purple Scout.

The sky is the limit

Traditional engineering meets modern IT technology and advanced algorithms when NODA shows the way for a sustainable district heating solution of the future. But in step with good growth, the technology needs to be scaled up. Purple Scout moves in to help NODA move performance from the floor to the cloud – a solution where AWS sets a few frames.

Energy optimization is one of our greatest challenges. To reach high goals, different energy systems need to communicate when it comes to production, use and storage. Then, the reading of data itself is crucial, and it’s here NODA Intelligent Systems come into the picture.

EnergySmart solutions

NODA’s driving force is as simple in theory, as it is hard in practice – to create long-term and sustainable economic values with the least possible environmental impact. The company offers unique solutions which ensure that district heating networks are energy optimized and that the energy is used more efficiently in properties. With the help of big data and auto-analysis systems, the heat supply is fine-tuned in both individual buildings and entire residential areas.

NODA’s platform Smart Heat Grid optimizes the control of district heating networks automatically and in real-time, by calculating and managing energy storage in properties. 

 

Production, distribution and consumption talk to each other, which increases efficiency and reduces emissions throughout the whole energy chain.  

The platform Smart-Heat Building applies a mathematical model that is built on self-thought and machine learning to continuously calculate the energy balance in a property. This gives a very accurate estimate of a building’s unique temperature behaviors. 

Boundless performance

NODA has done an exciting journey – from a smaller research company in 2005 to a well-established actor that today is awarded multiple prizes and awards for their innovative products and services. 

The fast journey and the increased demands have also meant challenges. When the customers became more and grander, the software system needed to be scaled up to meet the increased demands. It was realized that the existing architecture would not work and that the server capacity would not be sufficient in the long run. 

Anders Person is involved as Senior Project Manager at NODA to drive development. The decision to dismantle the architecture with a physical server hall and stand-alone equipment in the properties was made, in favor of a cloud service with boundless performance. At the same time, they were dependent on the old solution in their daily operations. 

NODA made careful consideration of which platform was the best suited for the existing needs, and the choice fell on Amazon Web Services (AWS), says Anders Persson.

Valuable knowledge exchange

A new system needed to be created on the chosen technical platform, but above all, take advantage of the full potential in all the techniques that comes with AWS to create brand new architecture. To get the right support, they turned to Purple Scout. There they found a team with complete knowledge of Amazon. 

– We chose to collaborate with Purple Scout because they could offer good system building competence and give us quick response regarding the needs which arose along the way, says Anders Persson, and points out that it also was the soft values who ruled:

– The commitment from Purple Scout matched the feeling in our team, they had no issues with rolling up their sleeves, says Anders Persson and remembers how one of Purple Scout’s employees woke up in the middle of the night when he realized something was wrong – and corrected it, even though it was a weekend.

– They always line up!

Henrik Lernmark is a software developer at Purple Scout that came along early in the project. He thought that NODA was thinking exactly right when choosing the way forward:

– It’s easy to choose technology first, instead of seeing what needs to be solved. We always advocate putting the problem in focus and choosing the right tools based on that, something that NODA succeeded in doing.

A smarter cloud-service

He thinks the choice of AWS was smart because the platform offers good services to databases. You also have the opportunity to hand over the responsibility of management and upgrading to the supplier, while you can administer efficiently and scale up as you go.  

You do not have to upgrade the hardware to keep track of safety patches and licenses, says Henrik Lernmark and points out that it does mean that you hand over the responsibility to an external player but that Amazon is both reliable and in the front line.  

He explains that they invested in a serverless solution without virtual machines. The platform is AWS Lambda, an event-driven computer service in the cloud where program code is run only when triggered by predefined events. The advantage is that you only pay for the time you spend.

– This is a smart microservice with short event-driven programs. You do not have to have machines standing that cost all the time, now you only pay when you are using the server and the code is executed, says Henrik Lernmark.

 

Ready for growth

The result has surpassed all expectations, and today, NODA has a solution that takes high to grow.

– Previously, performance was a limitation for NODA, the biggest profit has definitely been the scalability, says Anders Persson.

The choice to use AWS Cloud Formation also opens up to geographical growth without compromising on operational reliability. And they can set up the same technical solution for different customers in cases where the data is kept completely separate.

– NODA is now well equipped, in the same way as Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox made sure to create the technical advantages to grow, says Henrik Lernmark.

– The move to AWS, and the new opportunities that the different technologies have brought, have meant that we work completely differently. It has been a milestone for NODA and we would not have been able to do it without Purple Scout’s skills, explains Anders Persson.

A sustainable future

With over 2 000 connected properties and collaborations with lots of eminent energy companies, NODA shows the way to sustainable heating solutions. By offering the European market their know-how, NODA will be able to assume a leading role in the design of the new sustainable and smart energy landscape. 

Today, NODA and Purple Scout are collaborating in the EU project STORM – an innovative control system for district heating- and district cooling networks based on machine learning. Heating and cooling are controlled completely automatically based on needs – a big step forward as the solution does not require any manual surveillance. And of course, Purple Scout will be by their side to keep supporting the development. 

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