Sheffield Hallam deploys state-of-the-art data centre

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Sheffield Hallam University has upgraded its data centre

Sheffield Hallam University is upgrading its main data centre using state-of-the art infrastructure equipment and management software from Schneider Electric to maximise the availability, reliability and efficiency of its IT services.

Working with Advanced Power Technology (APT), an Elite Partner to Schneider Electric and specialist in data centre design, build and maintenance, Sheffield Hallam University has undertaken work to deploy a state-of-the art highly virtualised data centre as part of a £30m building development at Charles Street in central Sheffield.

APT’s installation is based on Schneider Electric InfraStruxure integrated data centre physical infrastructure solution for power, cooling and racking. The new facility is managed using StruxureWare for Data Centers DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Management) software to maximise the efficiency of data centre operations.

Following a contract tender, APT was selected to provide and install the cooling and power infrastructure equipment and the DCIM software necessary to manage it efficiently. Thanks to virtualisation, the number of physical servers the university needed to maintain services had dropped from 60 devices in the older data centre to 15 in the new Charles Street facility.

The IT equipment racks are installed within two APC by Schneider Electric InfraStruxure with Hot Aisle Containment Systems (HACS) to ensure an efficient and effective cooling supply. Two 300kW free-cooling units supply chilled water to the HACS and within the equipment racks, APC InRow cooling units maintain optimum operating temperatures.

The HACS segregates the cool air supply from the hot exhaust air, preventing both streams from mixing and enabling more precise control of the cooling according to the IT load’s requirement. At the same time, locating the InRow cooling units next to the servers and storage equipment also reduces the cooling energy requirement by eliminating the need to move large volumes of air in a suspended floor space.

Crucial to maintaining efficient operation is the adoption of Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare software. This marks the first time that Sheffield Hallam has had an integrated management system for monitoring all aspects of its data centres’ infrastructure.

“We had a variety of software packages in place before,” commented Robin Jeeps, Project Manager for Sheffield Hallam. “But StruxureWare for Data Centers provides us with a much more integrated solution. As long as something has an IP address, we can see it in StruxureWare and monitor how it is working. Previously we had to go through physical switches and hard-wired cables to monitor a particular piece of equipment.”

The new management capabilities presented by StruxureWare will allow Sheffield Hallam the flexibility to monitor its infrastructure for maximum efficiency and to manage how it makes its services available to students and researchers. Jeeps explained that this will allow the university to tender for research contracts that hitherto it had not been able to do.

Another potential benefit offered by StruxureWare is the benchmarking of the overall system efficiency, especially with regard to how well the cooling infrastructure operates as a percentage of the overall power budget of the data centre. PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) ratings are increasingly being used to compare one data centre’s efficiency with its peers.

 

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