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The City of Armadale cools down with APC technology

Located just 30 minutes from Perth’s CBD, the City of Armadale is a growing regional centre at the heart of a bustling urban community.

Company

City of Armadale

Sector

Local Government

Location

Armadale,
Western Australia

 

Icon Eye

challenge

The City of Armadale required a power and cooling solution to meet the demands of its significant population growth, placing pressure on the service and delivery of the City’s IT services.

The most significant problem the City was experiencing was its inadequate cooling, which was in the form of a residential-style wall mounted air conditioning unit. This meant the City could not increase the rack density in its computer room without risking damage to the existing products.

Solution

Re-design and expansion of the old computer room to make better use of the limited space.

InRow cooling – which is more effective at cooling the equipment rather than the whole room which wastes energy.

Dedicated space for a single row of APC racks

Measurable APC power distribution units (PDU) deployed within each rack allows the City to keep track of its power use per row and manage power outputs according to peak loads.

Benefit

APC’s computer room solution and configuration instilled confidence in the City of Armadale’s IT reliability, efficiency and security.

The InRow Solution has resulted in a 40% improvement in cooling - the APC InRow units increase or decrease fan speed as demand for cooling in the racks goes up or down.

Cable management and placement of racks enabled easier management and maintenance of equipment located within the data centre.

The City also has the ability to increase the density of its racks due to the efficient cooling which is now in place

The City of Armadale (the City) has over 400 employees, and its Information & Communications Technology department is primarily responsible for the provision of business systems and all IT services, all delivered from the central data centre.

“Many council functions are underpinned by IT and this drives their ability to deliver services not only to the internal staff, but also to the wider community. This includes services and facilities such as our libraries, tourist centres, recreation centres, community centres and museums as well as internal functions such as finance, records management, engineering, governance, planning and compliance,” explains Adam Holthouse, Manager Information & Comm-unications Technology at the City of Armadale.

Challenge

As a result of recent investment in community infrastructure and facilities, Armadale is experiencing rapid growth and estimates that its population will increase from 55,000 to 85,000 over the next ten years, placing continued pressure on the efficiency and capability of its IT systems. To support the City’s growth and service delivery needs, it was vital that it looked to upgrade IT infrastructure sooner rather than later.

Over time, the City’s IT team had added equipment to the data centre on an ad-hoc basis, causing significant power and cooling inefficiencies as well as capacity problems due to the contained use of space. The old computer room was a converted office space, ten years old and had a number of racks from many different vendors.

The old computer room could no longer support the cooling and power requirements and environmental conditions needed to run the City’s IT services. Controlling the IT equipment was difficult due to a lack of cable management, documentation and inefficient product and technology layout. For example racks were stacked up against walls which causes overheating.

The most significant problem the City was experiencing with its IT infrastructure was its inadequate cooling, which was in the form of a residential-style wall mounted air conditioning unit. This meant the City could not increase the rack density in their computer room without risking damage due to the subsequent increase in temperature associated with rack exhaust fans.

Solution

The City of Armadale approached a number of vendors to support the computer room overhaul. The City had completed a number of successful infrastructure projects in partnership with Dell, and it was approached for its ability to offer a complete turnkey solution. APC by Schneider Electric was selected to work in partnership with Dell to project manage the upgrade. Holthouse explains: “Dell and APC both put forward a cost effective solution that was not only meeting our current demands, but could scale to meet those in our longer term future.

“Given the critical nature of the infrastructure and operational demands for IT services to have absolute minimal downtime, both Dell and APC were identified as having the technical and professional expertise as well as the capability to deliver to the City’s specific timeframes and operational requirements.”

APC had supplied the City’s old computer room with UPS products.

“We’ve been very impressed with not only the APC products, but also their knowledge and expertise in power and cooling and overall client service,” explains Holthouse. “APC understood our environment and demonstrated that they could work and provide a solution in the limited space we had.”

Dell and APC both put forward a cost effective solution that was not only meeting our current demands, but could scale to meet those in our longer term future.

The project proposal developed by APC suggested areas of improvement to resolve the existing cooling issues including the purchase of highly efficient products, including an InRow cooling solution as well as a re-design of the computer room to make better use of the limited space available.

APC suggested an expansion of the current computer room by 1.5 metres to allow a dedicated space for a single row of racks and make cooling the computer room more efficient.

The previous ad-hoc design meant that hot air was being pushed onto network racks causing the infrastructure to continuously overheat.

The City worked with Dell to replace its old computers and IT products, including wiring and cabling.

From start to finish, the project was developed and executed in five months. The bulk of this time was progressing approval for the computer room design with the actual physical build completed in just four weekends. The project was officially completed in the first week of February 2011.

Describing the implementation process, Holthouse said: “The implementation itself was amazing. We commenced pre-works a couple of weeks before a crucial weekend change over which involved removal of all network and infrastructure from the room and racks. New APC racks and InRow cooling units were installed by APC technicians and Dell undertook the racking of all our server and storage equipment into the new facility. Given the small window for so much work, both Dell and APC worked tirelessly to ensure our IT services were operational again ready for start of business on the Monday morning.”

APC and Dell technicians continued to visit the site over the following weeks to finalise the start-up processes for the new InRow units and provide support and guidance as required.

Benefits

APC’s computer room solution and configuration instilled confidence in the City of Armadale’s IT reliability, efficiency and security.

The APC racks and InRow cooling units allowed the City to maximise all available floor space for IT equipment. Cable management and placement of racks enabled easier controlling and maintenance of equipment located within the data centre.

The greatest benefit that can be seen from the computer room upgrade comes from the deployment of the InRow Solution which has resulted in a 40% improvement in cooling costs.

“The InRow cooling units are much more effective at cooling the equipment rather than the whole room which wastes energy.

“A key aspect is the APC InRow units increase or decrease fan speed as demand for cooling in the racks goes up or down. This is much more efficient than simply selecting a fan speed and running the air conditioning flat out 24/7,” explains Holthouse.

Measurable APC power distribution units (PDU) deployed within each rack allow the City to keep track of its power use per row and manage power outputs according to peak loads. This is something the City was not able to effectively do in the past.

The City also has the ability to increase the density of its racks due to the efficient cooling which is now in place. This means over time the City will not have to invest in new racks.

“We had no concern in working with two partners on this project, as both demonstrated the ability to work together and be flexible where needed.

“We have no hesitation in working with APC for future IT projects and are currently in discussion about a review of our ICT disaster recovery facilities and processes as well as desktop virtualisation,” said Holthouse.

 

 
 
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