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Novell uses APC to do ‘More with Less’

Novell is a global infrastructure software company that delivers a highly engineered, most interoperable Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software that helps businesses worldwide reduce cost, complexity and risk. Novell has 4,100 employees worldwide with revenue approaching $1 billion (US).




Information Technology


North Sydney, Australia


Icon Eye


Relocation of Novell’s Data Centre to new premises in North Sydney
Requirement to reduce the Data Centre’s power consumption and carbon footprint


APC 20kW InfraStruXure data centre architecture integrating power, rack, InRow cooling, management and services.
APC environmental monitoring that measures motion, temperature, humidity and smoke.


APC’s InfraStruXure InRow cooling solution provided Novell with dramatic power efficiency gains, reducing power consumption related to cooling by 30%.
This saving, combined with the power reductions associated with server vitualisation, gave Novell an overall power reduction of 40%.

Novell holds a significant data centre in Sydney for the Asia Pacific region and became increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of its data centre.  Novell’s business is reliant on the availability of the data centre. It is a business imperative that they run at the required 99.9% level of service.

Business responsibility

Almost 12 months ago, Will Dodolias, AP Technical Infrastructure Manager, Novell, was provided with a brief to relocate its data centre in Sydney to new premises in North Sydney. Central to this brief was a review of Novell’s IT infrastructure and assessment of how the company can reduce the data centre’s power consumption and carbon footprint.

“Reducing the amount of energy our data centre consumes is not only important in fulfilling our environmental responsibilities but it also makes good business sense,” said Dodolias.

Novell’s data centre consisted of six racks, more than 40 servers and a 20 KVA UPS. Keeping this infrastructure cool was an ongoing challenge for Novell.

“The cooling requirements exponentially increase with the greater energy load and, we need to carefully monitor our energy levels” said Dodolias.

This has traditionally been problematic as Novell’s Asia Pacific data centre was located inside an office building and relied on the water cooling system already available in the building facility, which was controlled by the real estate managers and was not ideal.

In the last year, Novell had experienced several incidents where the temperature of its data centre rocketed. Luckily, staff were alerted and intervened, preventing significant equipment damage.

APC’s offering stood out in terms of technology, efficiency, pricing and support.

The disruption caused by this, even though it occurred after Australian working hours, was a concern as Novell offices across Asia Pacific rely on the availability of the data centre 24/7 to access critical files and applications. As a result, Novell was finding it increasingly difficult to guarantee the uptime and reliability of its IT systems.

“Our decision to relocate our data centre was an opportunity to resolve this issue,” said Dodolias.

In July 2007, Novell located a site in North Sydney and set about converting the new space to house its new data centre.

The Somerville Group was commissioned to assist Novell with its relocation to North Sydney. Somerville’s brief was to design and construct the electrical and communications services including Novell’s Data Centre.

Somerville partnered with APC to assist with the UPS, cooling, environmental monitoring and equipment cabinets requirements for Novell.

The solution

The North Sydney site fitted with Novell’s commitment to do ‘more with less.’ The data centre space was smaller than its previous location in Sydney’s Central Business District.

In addition Novell required a new data centre solution that could meet its growing IT requirements whilst reducing the company’s IT carbon footprint. Reduction of energy consumption was also a major clause in Novell’s contract with the real estate provider which gave Novell another reason to make it a priority. It is increasingly commonplace now for Australian corporate property contracts to insist upon responsible energy usage.

According to Dodolias, the first step was identifying a solution that would enable server consolidation. Novell deployed its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with integrated Xen virtualisation technology, which allowed it to reduce its servers from 40 to 30 and racks from six to four.

The next step for Novell was to analyse its current power requirements. The reduction in servers and racks provided Novell with a 20 per cent reduction in power consumption. An APC rack-based UPS provided them with sufficient run-time in the event of a power failure, providing it with 40 minutes of run-time compared to 20 minutes previously. The runtime is increasing as Novell continues to virtualise as many servers as possible.

Novell wanted to extend power savings beyond servers across the entire data centre environment. Figures obtained from the US Department of Energy stated that cooling is responsible for 50 per cent of power consumption in the data centre.

Novell approached APC to find out more about the latest in efficient data centre cooling. APC presented Dodolias with an advanced end-to-end data centre management system that delivered significant efficiencies across the entire data centre.

APC’s InfraStruXure solution provides “on-demand” architecture for power, cooling and services into a rack-optimised format. To work effectively as an integrated system, all three elements of power, rack and cooling are highly manageable and serviceable.

The InfraStruXure design allows the selection of standardised, modular components to create a customised solution.

APC’s InfraStruXure InRow cooling solution provided Novell with dramatic power efficiency gains, reducing power consumption related to cooling by 30 per cent. This saving, combined with the power reductions associated with server virtualisation, meant Novell achieved an overall power reduction of 40 per cent.

Business benefits

“In comparison to other options, APC’s offering stood out in terms of technology, efficiency, pricing and support. It had the complete package - an end-to-end data centre solution,” said Dodolias.

APC’s InfraStruXure solution has enabled Novell to centralise the management of its data centre which, in terms of resourcing, has allowed them to do ‘more with less’. A task that was previously a full-time job is now managed part-time.

SMS alerts on the temperature and status of the data centre has made it easier for Novell to take a more proactive approach to 24/7 data centre management, enabling staff to avert a problem before it happens.

Staff can set threshold alerts that send messages via SMS or email when conditions change through a range of categories up to a ‘Red Alert’. Problems can now be identified before they have the potential to cause any disruption.

Reports showing detailed trend analysis can be generated automatically at any time to help the server team run their equipment efficiently and effectively. For example, if someone attempts to add a server to the rack this would instantly be detected.

APC’s InfraStruXure Management and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with integrated Xen virtualisation from Novell means increased runtime in the event of a power failure and enables staff to gracefully shut down the data centre, minimising damage to IT equipment, data losses and disruption to business.

Virtualisation technology enabled Novell to reduce its total number of servers by migrating multiple environments on different physical machines to individual virtual machines hosted on a single server. As a result, it increased its CPU utilisation and the efficiency of its server hardware.

From a physical space perspective, APC’s InfraStruXure solution features an overhead cabling management system which means no raised floor, no cable mess under the floor and no loss of cooling efficiency when opening up the raised floor to work on the cabling.

Thanks to open communications between Somerville and APC the project was completed on time and within budget. Novell now has a state of the art Data Centre for their South East Asia area and has also reduced their carbon footprint due to APC’s highly efficient air conditioning and UPS systems.

According to Dodolias, “APC is at the forefront of data centre innovation. Our partnership with APC has been very successful.”


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