Stulz UK’s advanced cooling technology is helping King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust ensure reliable uptime of its IT operations, through effective temperature management of its data centre in Denmark Hill – safeguarding the Trust’s electronic patient records and other mission critical IT applications…
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is ensuring reliability of its critical IT systems with energy efficient cooling technology from Stulz UK. One of London’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, the Trust is recognised internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, haemato-oncology and foetal medicine.
Since Joseph Lister performed the first major elective surgery under aseptic conditions at King’s, in 1877, the hospital has continued its pioneering record with many UK firsts – from brain tumour treatments using ultrasonic vibration, to fetoscopic (keyhole) surgery on babies with spina bifida, while they are still in their mother’s womb.
Safe delivery of this care is supported by the hospitals’ critical IT systems which operate 24/7, 365 days per year. These healthcare IT systems enable life-saving decision-making– from vital data on patients’ medication and health conditions, to the sharing of pathology results, and patient X-rays through picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). Any interruption to access this data could have serious consequences, delay interventions and waste valuable time.
To ensure reliable uptime, it is essential that the temperature of the Trust’s data centres is optimised. To keep the space at the required temperature level, four next generation CyberAir 3 DX air conditioning units were installed at the Trust’s main data centre serving the entire Denmark Hill site.
The existing cooling installation, previously supplied by Stulz, offered many years of reliable service, but was coming to the end of its life and needed to be replaced. Based on this proven track-record, the Trust decided to invest, once again, in Stulz’s air-conditioning technology.
“The IT applications served by this data centre are absolutely mission critical. The facility includes two network cores and a significant number of servers, housing links to internal sites and, crucially, the Trust’s main electronic patient record (EPR) system. The design of the replacement process therefore was a key factor,” said Nick Penlington, ICT services manager at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
“The fact that Stulz were able to replace the units while keeping the room fully operational was an important consideration for the Trust,” he continued.
Stulz UK worked closely with the estates and IT teams to ensure that the new equipment selected was fit for purpose and that the room could be kept live during the entire project. Third party electrical and BMS contractors were also engaged to carry out works in their areas of expertise and the Stulz project manager was tasked with the scheduling of these trades to ensure they were in attendance, when needed, to ensure the smooth running of the programme. The existing units were replaced one-by-one, while continuing to keep the room cool with additional temporary air-conditioning units.
Changing the units, while keeping the room live throughout the project, was a significant challenge – particularly as this meant working in close proximity to the electrical PDUs and cabling. However, there was no loss of cooling at any time and no interruptions to the data centre operation.
The CyberAir 3 DX air-conditioning systems, installed at King’s, control the conditions in the data centre with high precision and maximum reliability. The fan and compressor technology also deliver increased efficiency, while intelligent control electronics ensure that less electricity is consumed when compared with traditional precision air-conditioning systems.
“The combination of CyberAir 3 DX air-conditioning systems and oversized Blygold-coated condensers results in better efficiencies, as well as reliability, by being able to run the systems at lower head pressures,” comments Paul Balaam, Senior Estates Officer, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Key features that help maximise energy efficiency for the Trust include the design of the EC fan. The fully-formed, fibreglass-reinforced plastic wheel increases the fan surface, reducing power and noise, while moving the air more efficiently. The electronically controlled EC fans react steplessly to changing output requirements and are especially economical in partial load conditions. In fact, EC fans consume up to 50% less energy than conventional fixed speed AC fans.
Ultimately, these energy savings will reduce operating costs and the savings can be re-invested in patient care at King’s.
High levels of resilience
The CyberAir 3 DX air-conditioning systemsalso offer reliability through built-in redundancy and automatic alarm notifications via text or e-mail. However, the installation at King’s is designed to provide further peace of mind:“Three of the units are capable of handling the full heat load and there is an additional fourth unit, so added resilience has been built-in to the overall design,” explained Penlington.
Each new unit provides approximately 6kW of additional sensible cooling capacity over the existing systems – providing a greater level of resilience within the data centre. With space at a premium, the ability to provide additional cooling capacity within the existing footprint is an added benefit.
Stulz also recommended further enhancements to the design, to meet the altered demands of the data centre which had evolved over time – switching from a downflow configuration to an upflow design to improve air movement around the highly populated data centre. The data centre itself is a non-standard shape and the new configuration offers improved air distribution within the space.
For complete peace of mind, the system is connected via a Stulz WIB8000 simple network management protocol (SNMP) device which provides user monitoring and control capability over the Trust’s network. This new feature for King’s significantly advances the original installation by providing greater visibility and control. This connectivity allows the estates team to monitor temperature at various locations around the data centre, to ensure the temperature is consistently maintained at an optimum level at all times.
Balaam confirms that the Trust has seen an improvement in the thermal optimisation of the space, particularly during hot weather. During the 12 months since installation, the new system has provided continuous, reliable operation, temperatures are now more stable, and there have been no hotspots. Furthermore, the Trust has been able to reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint.
“Energy efficiency is important to the Trust, but the priority for this installation was ensuring reliability – as access is required to electronic patient records at all times, uptime is critical. Stulz UK built a good working relationship with the estates and IT teams, ensuring minimal disruption to Trust services,” said Balaam.
“Stulz UK has a long track-record of working with the NHS to help protect vital IT services and minimise the costs associated with cooling of IT infrastructure,” concluded Phil McEneaney, Head of Sales, Stulz UK.“This latest installation was secured on the basis of this long history and proven expertise; we look forward to working with King’s estates and IT teams on further projects.”