NIE Networks

Scoping, designing, delivering and managing a hosting infrastructure capable of meeting the demands of Northern Ireland Electricity Networks, one of the biggest players in Northern Ireland's energy sector.



Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) transports electricity to more than 860,000 customers in Northern Ireland through its transmission and distribution network. Many of those hundreds of thousands of customers will want to access the site simultaneously, particularly in the event of a power cut. 

Given the public service nature of the work, NIE Networks has an obligation to keep its website available during these peak periods in order to communicate with customers who might want to report or find out about a problem, keep up-to-date with information on when their power will be back on or follow official advice. While these flash crowds can be unexpected, it is possible to predict that they will normally happen during periods of extreme weather.

Being a large power infrastructure provider, NIE Networks is also a high-risk target for hackers and cybercriminals, so its website needs to have robust security to guard against those threats.

NIE Networks entrusted Tibus to scope, design, deliver and manage a hosting infrastructure capable of meeting those demands.

What We Did

How the NIE Networks website looks and performs for its customers is the key factor. NIE Networks understood this and we were clear on our duty of designing a hosting infrastructure to meet that goal.

We opted to deliver NIE Networks' web hosting via a private cloud, which provides all the benefits of cloud technology, including flexibility and scalability, but with a level of security that can only be achieved with true physical isolation.

The hosting set-up includes:

  • VMWare’s best-in-class private cloud technology.
  • Web server technology geared to provide high performance on busy websites.
  • Caching tools to ease the strain on the server’s resources, improve page load and user experience.
  • Optimisation conducted in collaboration with client’s web development team to ensure the hosting infrastructure and codebase complement each other to maximise site performance.
  • Content delivery network (CDN) integration to relieve strain on the server’s resources and improve user experience.
  • Full disaster recovery provision, so the site can be promptly restored in the event something does go wrong.

This set-up is supported by policies - agreed and documented in collaboration between NIE Networks and Tibus - designed to ensure the website remains effective in fulfilling NIE Networks' requirements. Those policies include regular disaster recovery testing and simulations of website traffic conditions during severe weather.


NIE Networks has in place a digital infrastructure to cope with the sort of strain that could be caused by a large-scale power cut. 

Their forward-thinking communications and digital team took the precautions of putting in place a reliable, secure and scalable hosting environment. The hosting set-up is designed to cope with worst case scenarios that might attract a large spike in traffic rather than just an average day. A comprehensive testing programme means the entire set-up is regularly put through its paces to ensure it continues to perform to the highest levels.

NIE Networks is an exemplar for the province. As a mature brand in a prominent public position, it has to give  consumers confidence. It required an innovative and robust hosting solution to meet it’s unique demands, and we were delighted to put exactly that in place.  

"When bad weather strikes, our website must remain available, no matter how many customers need to access it. Tibus provides the assurances we need - and the testing to support those assurances."

Emma Duggan, Web Manager