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Maxnet achieves $1million energy savings with advanced APC technology

APC’s innovative hot aisle containment delivers ten times the cooling capabilities of traditional data centres

Company

Maxnet

Sector

Data centre hosting and trusted cloud provider

Location

Auckland, New Zealand

 

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challenge

Maxnet required a power and cooling solution to meet the demands of the latest generation of IT equipment, support future technology demands and stand out from the competition.

Maxnet wanted to reduce its environmental impact and energy costs by implementing the latest energy efficient technology.

Solution

Five APC pods – totalling 1 megawatt of APC in-row cooling.

Hot aisle containment system (HACS) coupled with a water side, free cooling solution for density and efficiency.

800kVA of APC Galaxy UPS allowing an increase in power system efficiency of 10%.

Modular in-row power distribution allowing billing of customers to rack level and reduction in electrician hours on site by 80%.

InfraStruxure central capacity and change management software solution allowing real time management and capacity modelling to free stranded, and wasted data centre capacity.

Benefit

Maxnet to achieve projected $1 million NZD annual power savings when the data centre is full.

Maxnet increased its permissible cooling capacity tenfold from 3kW per rack to a possible 30kW rack and will reduce its energy consumption by a minimum of 35%.

Ten times the power and cooling capability of a traditional data centre (30 kW/rack vs 3 kW/rack).

Pay as you grow approach meant capital was only invested as customers moved in to the data centre.

Cooling and power density limitations of traditional data centres removed, meaning Maxnet could host any customer.

90% reduction in rack space achieved for Maxnet’s own servers through high density virtualisation, providing more space available to sell to customers.

Market positioning as New Zealand’s highest density data centre.Provisioning of new racks without the need and cost of third party electricians.

  • 35% minimum energy consumption reduction
  • 90% reduction in rack space
  • 10 times the power and cooling of traditional data centres

Maxnet, an Auckland-based technology company offers hosting and co-location services to some of New Zealand’s leading companies. It operates one of New Zealand’s largest data centres in Auckland and a second facility in Christchurch.

To support the growth of Maxnet’s data centre hosting business, the right infrastructure was critical. Maxnet’s systems were at breaking point and a full data centre upgrade was required to meet the IT requirements of current and future customers.

Its existing legacy infrastructure, including servers, cooling and power management systems could no longer cope with the IT loads of Maxnet’s growing customer base or meet pending high-density demands. The chilled water and power systems were nearing their maximum design load and decisions had to be made around upgrading the current technology.
The new data centre infrastructure needed to be highly scalable, enabling Maxnet to add more server and storage devices quickly, easily and cost effectively, with minimal disruption to the business.

Maxnet had also specified an energy efficient data centre, using the latest technology to help reduce its environmental impacts and cut energy costs.

As Maxnet was hosting “live” customers in its data centre, it was critical the upgrade took place in a live environment, with zero downtime across the entire facility and zero impact to the existing cooling environment.

Solution

In 2005, Maxnet commenced the upgrade of its data centre facility. Phase one involved the deployment of new power distribution units that would ensure enterprise-ready power delivery and cost effectiveness, with the added benefit of a billing capability for real power usage of equipment.

After reviewing power management solutions from a range of vendors, Maxnet chose APC’s power distribution units (PDUs) based on the intelligence, flexibility and cost savings they could deliver.

Once the PDUs were providing a reliable managed electrical supply to the data centre, Maxnet moved to the next phase of its refresh which involved upgrading servers and storage devices.

Maxnet reviewed x86 blade server solutions from several vendors across New Zealand and selected Dell as its preferred supplier. It selected Dell PowerEdge M600 blade servers which consume up to 19% less energy and offer 60% greater density than traditional 1U servers.

“We needed to provide high density, high efficiency computing to support future customer demands. It was critical to have optimal data centre infrastructure to be able to deliver on that promise,” explains Derek Gaeth, CIO, Maxnet.

“Our legacy data centre could support 1.5kw per rack which was not sufficient for modern IT requirements. We needed at least 10kW to 15kW per rack in the short-term with the option to provide up to 30kW per rack in the future. APC’s cooling system was the only system on the market which could support that density.”

The third phase of the upgrade involved the installation of the cooling solutions. Having blade enclosures peppered around a data centre floor creates hot spots that cannot be cooled efficiently by in-room cooling systems.

The APC system was able to cater for all IT requirements.

APC’s pod based Hot Aisle Containment System (HACS) with InRow cooling was selected as the best fit for purpose. “It is a highly efficient system that has modernised the data centre for our current and future cooling requirements,” explains Gaeth.

HACS Pods allow cooling systems to be focused on neutralising the heat at the source in the area of the data centre that emits the most heat, typically the exhaust side of the racks.

One of the real benefits of working with APC is having a solution that has been designed end to end.

The capture and confinement of these thermal emissions, where cooling can be concentrated for peak efficiency, means the rest of the data centre floor does not need to be cooled to compensate for small pockets of heat being generated by disparate thermal-emitting devices such as blade enclosures and high density storage.

The HACS eliminates the mixing of hot and cold air by creating separate supply and return air pathways. This enables data centres to achieve a higher level of cooling, using less energy and significantly reducing energy costs.

Installation of the first HACS pod took just one week and immediately provided Maxnet with ten times the rack power and cooling capabilities of a traditional data centre. Since then four additional HACS pods have been added.

Benefits

Maxnet selected to run the HACS with chilled water to avoid the dehumidification issues associated with traditional direct-expansion cooled data centres. “We don’t have to boil water continually to keep humidity levels at the correct levels,” Gaeth explains. “We estimate we’re saving around $5,000 a year simply by removing the need for humidifiers.”

Alongside the HACS, Maxnet wanted a system which could also support free cooling in the future. “By using free cooling technologies alongside the HACS, we expect to get the equivalent of 6,000 plus hours a year worth of free cooling,” explains Gaeth.

“Once the data centre is running at full capacity this will amount to around NZD $1 million a year in power savings. By running a chilled water system, the hotter we run the hot aisle in the HACS, the more efficient our system is.

“In addition, the APC UPS systems that we installed were not at a different price point to other vendors, yet they provided major energy savings. This meant we were achieving cost benefits from day one. A single UPS system is delivering energy savings of $70,000 with a further $50,000 saved from a second system. This is money straight on the bottom line.”

To provide additional management capability, InfraStruxure Central along with InfraStruxure Capacity and Change Management Software from APC by Schneider Electric was deployed to perform energy, capacity and change management functions. ISX Central gave Maxnet control over its data centre floor, and will be expanded to include physical security in the form of APC video cameras in the future.

“One of the real benefits of working with APC is having a solution that has been designed end to end. Each component of the system was designed to work together, which has created real efficiencies,” comments Gaeth.

“We didn’t have the option to build a new facility so it was critical the infrastructure could work within our existing floorplate, with limited space. The upgrade took place without upsetting the current loading or reducing up-time to our clients and with no impact on our day to day operations. We now have a system that we can easily upgrade as demands from our clients grow.”

 

 
 
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