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NSW Institute of Sport goes for gold with APC

APC builds the foundations of the Sporting body’s new data centre


NSW Institute of Sport




Sydney, Australia


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The data centre had insufficient power redundancy and cooling to support an additional high density CRM application and a VoIP network

Lack of security and environmental monitoring placed the organisation’s systems at risk

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


APC 40KVA InfraStruXure data centre architecture integrating power, rack, management and services

Environmental monitoring unit that measures motion, humidity and temperature


Centralised management simplifies administration and fault resolution, providing the IT staff with significant productivity gains

Increased power redundancy to 4 hours, enabling the rollout of VoIP and a CRM application

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

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

Since 1996 the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) has helped drive the international careers of elite sporting competitors, from swimmer Ian Thorpe to upand-coming stars from 28 different sports. NSWIS tracks the performance of athletes and provides coaches and athletes, valuable data to shape training programs.

With nearly 700 athletes constantly on the move and training in numerous different locations, the availability of NSWIS’s IT systems and the data they support are critical to the success of the organisation and its athletes.

Armed with Blackberry PDAs, coaches and athletes can enter data on the field, which is then available to users via a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application.

Behind the scenes, the CRM and a range of mission-critical applications, such as financials, are supported by a centralised data centre.

The pain barrier

NSWIS’s data centre consisted of 15 servers, including one dedicated Blackberry email server to manage PDA traffic, numerous UPS devices and a box in the wall cooling solution.

The SAN and tape library sat on disparate racks from different vendors.

The IT staff’s valuable time was spent managing each rack and system individually and managing and maintaining a mass of cables.

The data centre was located at the Sydney Athletic Centre, in a large room that was also used for sport science testing. Access to the room was unrestricted and environmental conditions were not ensured.

“At times the scientists would crank the temperature to up to 40 degrees to make the room humid for the testing of sporting conditions. Other times we would find athletes getting changed where our servers were stored,” said NSWIS Manager of Information Communications and Technology Greg Baxter.

“We could see that we needed to add more servers and other equipment in order to support the Institute’s growth, but we did not have the right infrastructure in place,” he added.

Faced with a new CRM rollout and a move to VoIP, plans to build a new data centre were accelerated. In May 2006, NSWIS was given the green light to relocate to new premises in Homebush.

InfraStruXure eliminates single points of failure. We have now future proofed the data centre to ensure it can meet the power and cooling demands of the VoIP network as well as support additional high density applications.

Baxter clearly needed a solution that could cover everything from power to environmental monitoring to reduce the risk of downtime. He also wanted a high level of support to ease the staff burden.

Seeking out the elite

Baxter had worked with APC channel partner Cybertech on previous projects at the Institute and turned to them for advice on finding the right data centre solution. Baxter said APC was recommended, and after looking around at other vendor’s offerings he soon found that APC’s InfraStruXure solution was the only one that would meet all of the Institute’s criteria.

“APC had the most complete package we had ever seen. We could see it would allow us to start setting up a relatively fool-proof data centre so we could grow our applications and feel safe while doing so,” Baxter said.

“My goal was to have one complete, integrated solution across all three layers of the data centre – racks, power and cooling. This would make the management of our data centre much easier and reduce the risk we previously had while protecting our hardware,” Baxter said.

InfraStruXure joins NSWIS in a new race

APC made a site visit to Homebush for a first-hand look at the Institute’s requirements, suggesting the 40KW InfraStruXure solution with environmental monitoring, a raised floor, rack mounting and built-in redundancy. Extra cooling had already been built into the design of the Homebush building.

A far cry from the old sport science room, NSWIS’s data centre environment is now closely monitored. APC’s Environmental Monitoring solution uses key sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, airflow and audio with an adjustable threshold that was customised to meet the Institute’s requirements.

InfraStruXure provides NSWIS with a centralised management system, including remote access to the NSWIS servers. The system proactively alerts the IT team to any anomalies via SMS or email on their PDAs. It allows the team to resolve issues before users even realise there is a problem and potential power, cooling or environmental issues do not lead to system failure.

NSWIS’s InfraStruXure solution allows for 240 minutes uptime in the event of power failure. “We have increased our power redundancy from 8 KVA to 40KVA. The management of one centralised UPS unit versus separate UPS devices in racks throughout the building also saves us time and increases efficiency,” said Baxter.

Going for gold

Since installing InfraStruXure, the Institute’s IT team has been able to add new high density applications, such as CRM, as well as roll out a new VoIP network.

“As NSWIS continues to grow, we have a flexible design that will accommodate new hardware. We are spending less on IT management, and we can intervene sooner to prevent system downtime before it becomes a user issue,” said Baxter.

“The best thing for us, with our IT growing, is that we have one point of contact for service. This reduces our workload significantly.

“We have been very happy with what APC has provided, and how they have responded to our needs and we now feel safe moving forward with all our future IT plans,” said Baxter.


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