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MARAFIQ powers up with IBM technology

Posted: 2 September 2003

MARAFIQ, the power and water utility company for Jubail and Yanbu, has installed a powerful data centre and networking system based on IBM technology to host new e-business systems

MARAFIQ and Saudi Business Machines (SBM), the general sales and marketing representative for IBM in Saudi Arabia, announced today the completion of state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to allow MARAFIQ’s IT organization to deploy the latest enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology.

This significant technology success is complemented by a major outsourcing initiative, providing MARAFIQ with scalable, managed IT services for new e-business systems.

MARAFIQ is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the utility systems of Jubail and Yanbu industrial cities. It has plants for seawater cooling, seawater desalination, potable and processed water distribution, sanitary and industrial wastewater treatment, as well as electric power generation, transmission and distribution.

The first two phases of this leading IT project started in May 2002, and finished in early 2003. These phases covered the establishment of new Data and Engineering Centres, and the deployment of a robust IT management and technical support infrastructure, including a Help Desk application based on IBM Messaging software, and IBM Tivoli technology for systems management.

“We needed to find a partner that we could trust to provide us with not only the best technology solution, but also with the support and management services to ensure we have complete availability of the new ERP systems,” said Ahmed al Khars, IT Manager of MARAFIQ. “SBM provided a competitively priced and comprehensive solution based on an extensive track record within the Kingdom.

IBM pSeries Unix servers are used to host the core ERP software from SAP (

The IBM pSeries servers use IBM’s POWER4 processor technology to provide some of the industry’s most powerful servers for high-performance computing.

The IBM xSeries Intel-based servers are used to host a number of Microsoft file and print, messaging and web servers. Storage for the data centre is based on the latest high availability IBM Shark disk subsystems, and the IBM tape library systems (LTO) for backup.

The solution currently supports 400 users, with a capacity to accommodate 2000 users by the end of 2003.

As a total solution provider, SBM has also been awarded a contract to provide MARAFIQ with a Billing Printing solution, which includes IBM printers and Pitney Bowes automatic envelope insertion machines.

Phase 3 of the project, which started in November 2002, involves the outsourcing of MARAFIQ’s IT operations and management of its data centre. This four-year contract includes SBM providing 24 engineers, who will be dedicated to providing a 24x7 service in Jubail and Yanbu industrial cities.

“SBM has worked very hard to deliver a complete solution to MARAFIQ, providing it with the hardware and software components that allow it to implement its new e-business systems, but also integrating them into a robust system that will provide the performance and reliability that it needs,” commented Ali Dulaim, Khobar Branch Manager for SBM. “We are also delighted that MARAFIQ has the faith and confidence in our abilities to entrust us with ongoing operations and management, taking over the complexities of technology management, and allowing it to focus on providing its vital utility services to the industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu.”

Additionally, SBM is working with MARAFIQ to provide a number of value-added services such as training, security study and disaster recovery consultation.

About SBM
Based in Jeddah, and with branches in Riyadh, Al-Khobar and Jubail, with over 500 employees and 50 years of experience in the Kingdom, Saudi Business Machines Limited (SBM) has played a leading role in the development of information technology in the Kingdom.

SBM continues to power business and government sectors in the Kingdom with innovative products, integrated services and e-business solutions.

Partnering with the world’s technology leader, IBM, further extends SBM’s status, positioning it as the most comprehensive information technology solutions provider in the region.


Posted by Richard Price, Editor

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