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The Federal Group hits the jackpot with APC

The Federal Group is a leading privately-owned Australian Company with interests in the Entertainment, Gaming, Transport and Tourism industries. Its flagship property is Wrest Point Casino. Wrest Point was established in 1973 in Hobart as Australia’s first legal casino.

Company

Federal Group

Sector

Tourism, Entertainment and Gaming

Location

Hobart, Tasmania

 

Icon Eye

challenge

The data centre had insufficient power redundancy to ensure 99.99% systems availability for the future

Cooling in the data centre was unreliable and at capacity

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

Space limitations prevented expansion of the data centre floor space, requiring innovative solutions to make best use of the available area

Solution

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

APC InfraStruXure InRow RC Cooling unit

Benefit

Increased power redundancy from 10 minutes to 60 minutes

Centralised management and ease of maintenance saves IT staff two days a week

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

Server consolidation from 80 to 50

Proactive management of IT infrastructure through increased visibility of data centre infrastructure, which allows preventative actions to be taken before a systems failure

Since the opening of Wrest Point thirty-five years ago, The Federal Group has expanded its portfolio of tourism interests in Tasmania to include Country Club Tasmania, Freycinet Lodge, Strahan Village, Cradle Mountain Chateau, West Coast Wilderness Railway and Gordon River Cruises.

The Federal Group also has the exclusive rights to the State’s Electronic Gaming Machine Industry and operates Tas Keno which is electronically operated and networked across more than 160 pubs and clubs in Tasmania.

In addition, the company owns the Vantage Hotel Group, which consists of eleven hotels and the Company has also recently announced intentions to build two new “high end” tourism developments at Port Arthur and on the Freycinet Peninsula.
Integral to the Company’s operations is a centralised data centre located within the Wrest Point complex in Hobart. The Federal Group’s 2,500 staff depend on the 100 per cent uptime of its data centre to operate the Tas Keno and other gaming services as well as manage hotel and tour reservations and point of sale systems in its bars and restaurants. Additionally the system is utilised to assist with communications via phone, email, internet and WAN (Wide Area Network). Systems downtime means significant revenue losses to the Group and its many businesses.

The Federal Group’s data centre had been inoperable on three occasions over a period of six months due to its aged and outdated equipment. The company required a new data centre design and infrastructure that would increase the reliability of its data centre and support the rapidly expanding Company’s future IT requirements. APC met the brief.

The Challenge

The Federal Group’s data centre consisted of 80 servers, 12 racks and a 30KVA UPS unit. Housed in a small room, the data centre was cooled by a domestic heat pump which was set to cool mode. It used an aged system for monitoring temperature and humidity in the data centre, however it was not distributed enough to give an accurate picture of environmental conditions across the data centre.

“We used a domestic heat pump to cool the data centre equipment which was not adequately reliable or cost effective,” said Chris Fishwick, Network Engineer, Infrastructure Team, The Federal Group. “Domestic heat pumps are not designed to run as 24/7 cooling facilities.”

“Our main UPS unit was eight years old and had not been maintained appropriately. Not surprisingly, it failed several times,” he said.

“Tripped circuits caused by a power supply fault in one of our servers had also led to systems failure. The Federal Group suffered three major system downtimes in which the data centre was completely shut down for up to 48 hours”.

“Our Tas Keno system – a constant revenue generating system – was down for a couple of hours. Every minute of downtime costs our business,” Fishwick said.

“The point of sale systems for all of the businesses are also supported by the data centre. So when the data centre was down we lost sales across the company. In addition, staff could not manage visitors’ check-ins or reservations electronically, which impacted customer service levels and reflected poorly on the company,” said Fishwick.

APC’s service was excellent - from design through to ongoing support and training – we couldn’t be happier

The Solution

Fishwick said the company approached APC because it had been an APC UPS customer for many years and the IT team were confident about the quality of APC’s products and support services.

“APC reviewed our data centre floor plan layout and provided a scalable data centre design customised to meet our growing IT requirements,” said Fishwick.

“We wanted one complete, integrated solution across all 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,” he added.

APC’s InfraStruXure solution met all of the company’s criteria.

The fully integrated InfraStruXure solution included 10 APC racks, a Symmetra PX80 40KVA UPS and two InfraStruXure InRow RC Cooling Units.

The Federal Group’s InfraStruXure solution allows for 60 minutes uptime in the event of power failure. A 330 KVA diesel generator offers a further eight hours backup time if required. 

“If the power redundancy expires, the APC InfraStruXure solution automatically shuts down the data centre equipment. We are comfortable in the knowledge that our systems are well protected,” said Fishwick.

InfraStruXure’s Design Saves Space, Time and Supports Future Growth

InfraStruXure’s design enables highly accurate distribution of server power load across the data centre, enabling the Federal Group to get better ROI out of its servers. As a result it has reduced its total server count from 80 to 50.

“We are also able to use the limited space we have available more efficiently, thanks to smart design features such as the overhead cabling platform. Our cabling was haphazard and used up a lot of valuable space. InfraStruXure’s structured cabling and power facilities save us space, time and allow us to add equipment quickly and easily,” said Fishwick.

The InfraStruXure design allows the selection of standardised components to create a solution through modular configurations. This standardisation enables an easily scalable architecture designed to meet changing needs and future expansion.

“The modularity of the InfraStruXure solution means we can easily add equipment to the data centre without impacting the efficiency of the data centre design. This is an important feature for a growing company like the Federal Group,” he said.

Full Visibility of the Network Delivers Unparalleled Reliability and Productivity Gains

The Federal Group’s InfraStruXure solution allows IT staff to manage servers, racks, power and cooling via a central console, saving the IT team up to two days a week.  It also has better visibility of environmental factors across the room.

“APC’s InfraStruXure Manager gives us complete visibility across every part of the network, even off-site,” Fishwick said.

By being alerted of power or air conditioning problems and the effect of these issues on the IT environment, the Federal Group’s IT team can take proactive measures to maintain network operations.

“Importantly, we have greatly reduced the time we spend babysitting the data centre. Before this implementation, we spent our time trying to equalise power draw across circuits and managing temperature and humidity, making sure they were at adequate levels. On very hot days this involved shutting down servers. Instead of concentrating on the data centre, we can now focus on other projects such as the business migration to Microsoft Active Directory,” said Fishwick.

“APC’s service was excellent - from design through to ongoing support and training – we couldn’t be happier”, Fishwick concluded.

 

 
 
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