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MetService delivers critical weather services with APC

Data centre infrastructure upgrade ensures 99.99+ per cent systems availability




Weather Services


Wellington, New Zealand


Icon Eye


The data centre had insufficient redundancy to ensure 99.99 per cent systems availability in the future

Power and Cooling in the data centre was at capacity and could not support additional high density applications required for future business growth

IT staff were wasting valuable time managing disparate systems within the data centre


80KW InfraStruXure Type B Power System

Overhead power and data routing with no raised floor

NetBotz 500 environmental and security monitoring unit that captures pictures and video, and measures humidity, temperature and other environmental threats

InfraStruXure InRow RC Cooling and Chillers

NetShelter rack enclosures

IP managed rack power distribution


Increased power autonomy to five days

Increased capacity by 100%, enabling the development and deployment of high density applications

Scalable power, cooling and rack solution that can be expanded easily and cost-effectively as the organisation grows

Remote monitoring to avoid downtime by alerting IT team of anomalies by SMS

Compatible with ISO Base seismic isolation platform and fire detection systems

MetService provides weather and meteorological services to consumers and businesses around the world from its base in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s national weather service, MetService provides critical information to the New Zealand public, protecting property and life by providing forecasts and warnings of weather events. Energy and media industries around the world also depend on MetService to remain operational 24 hours a day.

Likewise, New Zealand’s aviation industry relies on MetService forecasts. Aircraft cannot take off without forecasts provided by MetService and international flights make use of jet stream turbulence forecasts for efficient and safe travel. The MetService is also responsible for marine forecasting which is critical to ships travelling in the Pacific Ocean region.

Behind the scenes, the weather observing systems, atmospheric modelling systems and analysis applications, as well as a range of other mission-critical applications, such as email and payroll, are supported by a centralised data centre located in MetService’s Wellington headquarters.

MetService Depends on Highly Available IT System

The availability of MetService’s systems is vitally important to public safety and the efficient operation of weather-sensitive industries. To ensure the continuous operation of the organisation’s data centre and its mission-critical applications, MetService’s IT team upgraded its aging data centre equipment in early 2007.
MetService’s data centre consisted of 120 servers, 15 disparate racks from different vendors and one 40kW UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) unit. The air-conditioning was a traditional low-density, low-airflow, raised-floor system.

“We had 24 hours of power backup in the event of a power outage which is insufficient when public safety is dependent on the availability of your systems. This was an immediate driver for upgrading the data centre,” said Russell Turner, CIO of MetService.

Business Expansion Depends on Scalable Data Centre

Over the past two years MetService has experienced rapid growth, and moved from a national organisation to an international one.

“There has been increasing demand for our services across Europe and the Middle East,” said Turner. “We supply weather forecasts to more than 40 per cent of the energy companies in the UK. TV stations in the UK and Middle East are using our data and information presentation services, including BBC World,” said Turner.

“MetService’s servers were unable to support additional high density applications required to support the organisation’s continued growth,” he added.

MetService required a data centre solution that could support additional high density applications and enabled the IT team to quickly add IT equipment to support business expansion.

The solution also had to be compatible with the data centre’s new fire detection and suppression systems and as Wellington is an earthquake-prone city, compatibility with the ISO-Base™ seismic isolation platform was required. This platform is designed to ensure the organisation’s systems remain available during a significant earthquake.

As MetService continues to grow, we not only have a flexible design that will accommodate new hardware, we are spending less on IT management. APC solutions ensure MetService’s critical public services remain available 24/7.

For all these reasons, Turner decided to implement APC’s InfraStruXure™. By integrating power, racks, cooling and cabling systems, InfraStruXure ensures the highest levels of system availability.

MetService also deployed APC’s NetBotz 500 environmental monitoring unit that measures motion, humidity and temperature. It also installed APC’s InfraStruXure InRow RC Cooling System.

APC, in collaboration with Gold Partner IndeServe, completed the design of the data centre. IndeServe was responsible for the complete build of the new data centre. This included the implementation of the data centre’s power, cooling, cabling, physical security, environmental monitoring, diesel generator and fire protection and suppression systems. APC Global Services assisted IndeServe in the implementation of the InRow cooling solution.

APC Ensures 99.99%+ Systems Availability

APC’s InfraStruXure solution coupled with a new generator, resolved MetService’s most immediate challenges – increasing its power back-up time and availability in the event of a power failure, supporting increased resilience of the data centre and allowing significant expansion to occur.

MetService’s data centre now boasts five days of power backup.

“There have been cases in New Zealand where power blackouts have lasted more than a couple of days. Increasing our power autonomy and redundancy from 80KVA KVA to 300KVA has provided me with great peace of mind,” said Turner.

“Lack of visibility of loading is a risk too. InfraStruXure gives us visibility of the loading and temperature in each rack via a centralised management console, reducing the risk of power distribution in the racks being oversubscribed for power or overheating.”

InfraStruXure also enables MetService’s IT team to manage the data centre environment remotely.The system proactively alerts the IT team to any anomalies via SMS or email on their handheld devices. It allows the team to resolve issues before users even realise there is a problem and potential power, cooling or environmental issues that could lead to system failure.

“The remote access management function gives visibility into the total infrastructure not just servers” said Turner.

Geared for Growth

MetService’s InfraStruXure solution comprises 15 racks which can be easily expanded to 30. The data centre now has the capacity to support high density servers and applications that are required for the High Performance Computing systems used in atmospheric modelling. Using the InRow Cooling it has the capability to support a rack density of around four times that of the original data centre.

The modular design of the InfraStruXure solution means MetService can add servers, UPS devices and cooling solutions quickly and easily as demand grows.

“MetService uses weather modelling applications that run complex mathematical algorithms and process enormous amounts of data from around the globe. These applications are extremely CPU intensive and therefore need high density support them,” said Turner.

“We now have the ability to expand processing power to develop new modelling applications that will enable us to further expand our business.”

Efficient Cooling and Management Systems Deliver Significant Savings

According to Turner, the centralised management of racks, power, cabling and cooling also means MetService’s IT team spend less time managing and monitoring equipment separately.There are also less points of failure therefore less time is spent resolving faults.

“We have not only experienced significant productivity gains, but we have reduced operating costs associated with cooling the data centre. APC’s InRow Cooling solution is highly energy efficient and captures the heat closer to the source, blowing cold air directly on the rack hotspots rather than where it is not required. Power consumption for cooling is actually less for a given number of servers.” said Turner.

“As MetService continues to grow, we not only have a flexible design that will accommodate new hardware, we are spending less on IT management. Most importantly however, APC solutions ensure MetService’s critical public services remain available 24/7. The APC solution has given us much greater confidence in our ability to achieve that,” he added.


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