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Police and Nurses protects its customers with APC technology

Police & Nurses is the fifth largest credit society in Australia with approximately 100,000 members and 300 staff across its 17 locations.

Company

Police & Nurses Credit Society

Sector

Financial Services

Location

Western Australia

 

Icon Eye

challenge

Business moving to new premises and needed a new data centre solution. 

Ongoing need for 24x7x365 reliability in the data centre

Old data centre environment – primary equipment that was near end of life.

Running high-density data centre equipment in a legacy low-density data centre environment

Need to increase visibility into the Data Centre environment more than basic monitoring.

Need to improve power and air-conditioning systems

Solution

ISX Central – availability, fault reporting, capacity and change management

InRow Cooling

Symmetra PX 48kW N+1 UPS System

Netbotz data centre monitoring

Benefit

Estimated, would provide 10 percent reduction in power consumption and gain a significant increase in redundancy 

Gained flexibility, reliability and visibility into the data centre environment

Police & Nurses relies on its Information Technology (IT) to ensure critical services are available to its customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  As a financial institution the credit society needs to ensure customers have fast, secure access to funds and confidence in the company’s network availability.

In addition, staff need ready access to critical databases and more than 80 business applications, such as email, loan management, financial systems, and call centre applications.

Issue

The company is supported by two data centres, one for production and one for disaster recovery. The old data centre environments had primary infrastructure that was up to 10 years old.

The company was facing imminent cooling and power capacity issues in its existing data centres. As the company grew and deployed additional critical business applications, the data centre environments became denser, and cooling/power capacity requirements increased.

If proper cooling was not maintained, network downtime was a real possibility. Network downtime means Police & Nurses’ customers are unable to access the website, internet banking and important account information which can ultimately lead to customers feeling dissatisfied and moving their banking requirements to other institutions. Police & Nurses needed to take appropriate steps in ensuring customers received the highest possible levels of availability even in the event of a significant power outage.

“We were starting to face challenges with our old data centre capacity and cooling, we had to put in effort to manage the IT load and needed a new solution to safeguard both us and our Members” said Michael Bailey, Head of Information Technology at Police & Nurses.

Solution

Whilst a data-centre refresh had been in planning for some time, the organisations’ intended relocation to new premises in late 2009 provided the perfect opportunity for the IT team within Police & Nurses to build a data-centre with the required levels of reliability and availability.  

“We investigated the options of outsourcing our data centres, or building and maintaining our own. On analysis we found that building and maintaining our own data centres was going to be more effective for us in terms of total cost of ownership in the long term. The move to new premises provided a perfect blank slate for us to design a brand new data centre, rather than trying to work within existing parameters.” said Bailey.  

Key focus areas for the team were on increasing power and cooling capacity, whilst also increasing power and cooling efficiency both now and for the data-centre’s expected life. The team examined a range of cooling solutions including overhead and underfloor cooling but it was APC’s InRow cooling solution that best suited their requirements.

APC InRow is an advanced cooling solution that closely couples cooling with heat load, preventing exhaust air recirculation to sensitive IT equipment. The InRow cooling solution features a modular and scalable design that enables Police & Nurses to meet the changing needs of its data centre environment.

The best part about the APC solution is the confidence that we have a data centre that will be able to grow with us into the future.

Police & Nurses also deployed APC’s ISX Central management system with environmental monitoring because visibility into the data centre environment was vital to keeping the business running and maintaining 24 hour reliability. 

InfraStruxure Central provides an efficient way for organisations to monitor their company-wide physical infrastructure: power, cooling, security, and environment. Real-time monitoring, user-defined reports and graphs, and instant fault notification and escalation enable quick assessment and resolution of critical infrastructure events that can adversely affect IT systems availability. This information can be accessed by multiple users from anywhere on the network, creating a consolidated view of the physical infrastructure. 

Business Benefits

Upon deploying the APC solution Police & Nurses has seen many business benefits. In particular they now have more capacity and scalability, and can easily add additional power and cooling capacity quickly and easily as required.

According to Bailey “We wanted to ensure that in relocating our data centres we weren’t just replicating our existing infrastructure design, but could create a data centre solution that would be adaptable to the future needs of our business.  The best part about the APC solution is the confidence that we have a data centre that will be able to grow with us into the future. Also, greater visibility into our data centre means we can proactively manage the environment and address an issue before it becomes a serious problem. As our business grows, we now have the ability to expand our data centres quickly and cost-effectively.”

Lessons Learnt

“When considering such a project, it is important for an organisation to evaluate alternate options and consider data centre efficiency, scalability and ongoing operating costs, especially in the light of increasing electricity tariffs.  We modelled power usage under different design options to ensure we understood the differences between options.  An efficient data Centre will result in lower operating costs over time.” said Bailey.

As the old data centres were not separately metered for power usage, Police & Nurses were unable to assess the previous electricity consumption.  Having a baseline would have been useful in quantifying benefits.  Police & Nurses have now ensured that the new production Data Centre is separately metered so that they can determine power consumption moving forward.

In sizing the data centre, consideration should be given to the organisation’s server virtualisation strategy as this would impact the power and cooling requirements.

Police & Nurses also ensured that during the selection stage they employed relevant expertise, and used independent engineers to assist in the evaluation of design alternatives.

Bailey said ”Looking back over the period since our move, we have realised that it is important to tune the level of reporting produced through ISX central to suit business needs, as reporting and alerting can be at a granular level if required.  Overall, we are very happy with our approach and the resulting Data Centres as we have achieved the objectives we desired.” 

 

 
 
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