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Boehringer Ingelheim Australia manages rapid growth with APC

IT infrastructure upgrade boosts pharmaceutical company’s data centre availability


Boehringer Ingelheim Pty Ltd




Sydney, Australia


Icon Eye


Company growth, servers and other technologies could not be supported by existing data centre infrastructure. Different sized racks, sub-par cable management and limited storage space hampered efficient management. Insufficient uptime during a power outage


APC InfraStruXure, data centre architecture integrating power, rack, management and services implemented in Sydney office.

Installation of environmental monitoring units that measure humidity and temperature, providing a complete design solution including rack layouts and air-conditioning airflow.


Significantly increased uptime ensuring 99 per cent systems availability.

Centralised management delivers time savings of one hour per day.

Capital expenditure savings with overhead cabling system, eliminating the need for building a raised floor.

Environmental monitoring helps avoid downtime by alerting in case of heat issue.

With operations in more than 60 countries, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Like many German organisations, efficiency continues to be the key to Boehringer Ingelheim’s success and to maintain its success the company relies on 99 per cent systems availability.

Its 350 Australian staff require ready access to files and mission-critical applications, anytime and anywhere. Boehringer Ingelheim’s IT administrator needs to manage ongoing growth and adapt to changes, > simplify management and contain costs.

To meet these requirements, the company worked with APC to redesign its data centre infrastructure.

The holistic APC solution, InfraStruXure, includes redundant power supply and management, remote management of the physical infrastructure via virtual private networks, proactive SMS alerts and a modular rack design that would grow with the IT infrastructure.

Today, the company is saving up to five hours per week in systems management, has boosted data centre reliability significantly and can quickly and easily accommodate hardware changes.

Downtime an imminent threat

Boehringer Ingelheim Australia’s data centre is a raised floor environment that comprised a large number of individual servers that were protected by five 3kVA rackmount UPS’s.

The data centre supports critical business applications such as Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Seibel, SQL, Oracle, file shares, printing, storage area networks and CRM.

Three years ago, the Australian business began experiencing significant growth. Over that time, the IT team gradually added more servers, infrastructure and standalone UPS devices on an ad-hoc basis to meet the increasing power and storage requirements. As a result the data centre lacked network manageability, cost and space efficiency and adequate support services, security and ROI.

The most imminent threat to the existing environment was insufficient back-up time during a power outage. To compound the threat, Boehringer Ingelheim’s data centre is located in Sydney’s North Ryde Technology Park, which is renowned for its dirty power and frequent power outages.

According to Jason McDonald, Network Administrator, Boehringer Ingelheim, it was only a matter of time before a power outage would cause the company systems downtime and a potential financial loss to the company.

“It got to the point where the risk had become significant and due to continuing growth in our server requirements, I knew we had to start looking at consolidating our systems. Adding additional UPS’s to the data centre was only a short term fix and would not resolve the other issues we were experiencing,” said McDonald.

Holistic management of data centre environment

Boehringer Ingelheim’s data centre comprised of a colourful assortment of small UPS systems from a range of different vendors. McDonald and other IT staff had to monitor each unit individually. Most of the units could not be managed via the Web and offered little management functionality.

“It was difficult and time consuming managing independent units. We needed a holistic management system that would provide greater visibility of the network 24/7 and reduce staff time and human error.”

According to McDonald, none of the UPS systems carried support service warranties. When he had a problem with one of the UPS units, it was cheaper to replace the UPS than buy support services.

“We needed good vendor support services to maximise the use of the technologies, increase manageability, achieve ROI and ensure systems availability.”

Boehringer Ingelheim’s data centre also had to be capable of rapid growth to support the business’ ongoing expansion.

The delivery and installation of InfraStruXure was well coordinated and seamless, much smoother than past data centre equipment installations. It took four hours to set up the equipment and three hours to complete the final installation.

“When we made the decision to implement a new data centre management solution, it was really important for us to adopt a scalable design that would accommodate changing power densities. We also needed vendor neutral enclosures that were compatible with a range of vendor equipment brands,” said McDonald.

Choosing the right solution

As per the company’s internal requirements, McDonald received quotes from three vendors for the new data centre infrastructure and services. He found quotes for legacy equipment were cheap, however it was scalability, excellent cable management, consolidated racking and instant backup of APC’s InfraStruXure solution that secured the sale, said McDonald.

“We approached three vendors and outlined what we wanted uptime, scalability, cost and space savings, manageability. What APC came back with far exceeded our expectations.”

“Most of the vendors we spoke to recommended floor standing units which are heavy and take up a lot of floor space. Our server room is medium sized and located on an upper floor so we have weight restrictions. We needed a solution that dispersed its weight, was space efficient but yet scalable with growth.”

APC’s InfraStruXure met the brief. In consultation with APC, McDonald selected APC’s InfraStruXure 40 kW Type B solution. Boehringer Ingelheim’s new data centre now comprises six racks, APC’s InfraStruXure and APC’s environmental monitoring unit.

The results

“We now have battery backup time of nearly two hours and we are comfortable in the knowledge that our systems are well protected. We experienced power failure since the installation and we were very impressed with the way the IntraStruXure managed the shut down.

“A couple of months ago all the power went down and we were notified via email and SMS. We waited 10 minutes to see if the power started up again and then drove in to shut down the systems. The power was out for two hours. At 1 hour 45 minutes of no power, the system shut down gracefully,” said McDonald.

APC Global Services

To ensure the organisation optimised their new technology investment now and in the future, the company enlisted the help of APC Global Services.

After consultation with APC Global Service specialists, McDonald and the IT Manager decided to use APC’s installation, on-site support and remote monitoring services.

“We sought APC’s support services to achieve our goal of 99 per cent systems availability and to ensure we get maximum ROI from the technology. So far we have not had one single problem with our APC equipment and haven’t needed to call them,” said McDonald.

McDonald said he has great confidence in APC’s support services based on the project management services delivered during the implementation.

He was impressed with APC’s project management style, particularly how APC tracks an entire InfraStruXure implementation from start to finish and keeps all parties up to date during every stage of the process.

APC project management is also backed by InfraStruXure’s pre-engineered design, which makes data centre installation a much simpler process than traditional legacy-based systems.

“The delivery and installation of InfraStruXure was well coordinated and seamless, much smoother than past data centre equipment installations. It took four hours to set up the equipment and three hours to complete the final installation,” said McDonald.

McDonald is also experiencing the benefits of APC’s Remote Monitoring Service, such as reducing management complexity, minimising the strain on internal resources, and enabling the IT team to meet availability objectives.

With secure 24-hour monitoring of the network critical physical infrastructure, APC’s Remote Monitoring Service is an economical and easy to use Web-based service that lets McDonald and the IT team respond to changes according to their escalation procedure.


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