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Mainfreight keeps things on the move with APC

New Zealand’s largest logistics company, Mainfreight delivers 45 million kilos of air freight around the world each year. Since the company was first established in Auckland 30 years ago, it has grown into a global leader in supply chain logistics, with more than 3,000 team members located in 165 branches across New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the US.

Company

Mainfreight

Sector

Supply Chain Logistics

Location

Auckland, New Zealand

 

Icon Eye

challenge

The data centre had insufficient power capacity, redundancy and cooling to support the rapid growth of the organisation.

Lack of security and environmental monitoring placed the organisation’s systems at risk

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

The development of a new head office, a refresh of their server hardware platform and the rollout of VoIP allowed the opportunity to build a new data centre.

Solution

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

APC InRow High Density Cooling that is scalable, energy-efficient and able to support the new blade servers

Netbotz environmental monitoring and surveillance units that measure motion, humidity, smoke and temperature

Services including FM200 Fire Suppression and VESDA Smoke Detection

Benefit

By choosing the APC InfrastruXure solution Mainfreight saved time and costs by dealing with one supplier for the design, installation and ongoing maintenance of their new data centre.

InfrastruXure manager simplified administration and fault resolution by centrally monitoring and managing all APC devices within Mainfreight’s network, both in the data centre and at remote branch offices.

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

More than 20,000 organisations rely on Mainfreight to ensure their cargo is delivered or warehoused securely and efficiently. To continuously monitor the location of cargo and facilitate its movement, Mainfreight depends on the availability of its IT systems and the data they support.

Behind the scenes, mission-critical systems such as database, ecommerce, EDI, email and messaging, are supported by a centralised data centre.

Rapid growth demands future-proof infrastructure

An NZX-listed company, Mainfreight has experienced massive growth over the past three years and the company’s share price doubled last year. As the organisation expanded, the IT team added equipment to the data centre on an ad-hoc basis to support the organisation’s increasing IT requirements.

Mainfreight’s data centre comprised of six racks from different vendors, 70 servers, including 56 blade servers, two UPS systems from APC ranging in capacity from 5kVA to 10kVA, and various conventional comfort cooling units. The data centre was housed in a converted storage room.

“The data centre room was not wide enough to allow the racks to be placed side by side, which meant we wasted a lot of space that we could ill afford,” said David Hall, Infrastructure Manager at Mainfreight. “It also meant we couldn’t position the racks to get the most out of the cooling system. This rendered our cooling solution highly inefficient and unreliable.”

On a number of occasions, the data centre’s cooling unit collapsed, which led to temperatures in the data centre exceeding the optimal range.

“We replaced cooling units several times in the past two years but the maintenance issues were ongoing. At one stage the cooling unit was collapsing on a weekly basis! This seems to be a problem with using conventional cooling rather than specialist computer room cooling” said Hall.

The APC InRow cooling solution is a far more efficient and reliable cooling solution than the old box in the wall. Not only does it use less energy, but it’s easier to maintain. It gives me peace of mind knowing the equipment is safe from overheating or damage from condensation.

“Our UPS and cooling systems were at capacity.  We had limited physical space. Our options for expansion were limited and costly.  In some ways we were victims of our own success.  We could not support the growth of the business and expanding IT operations until we addressed all of these issues”, he said.

Mainfreight were also replacing their server hardware platform, upgrading their database systems, moving to virtualised technologies and installing a VoIP network throughout New Zealand and Australia. Add to this, the ongoing expansion of the business and the IT Team knew it had to get the foundation right before it could fulfil the company’s ambitions. “We needed more power and cooling, and racks to commence our server rollout.  The infrastructure had to be scalable so that it would enable IT staff to add more equipment easily and cost effectively as the rollout continued and the company expanded”.

When Mainfreight’s Auckland head office moved in to new larger premises, the IT team seized the opportunity to relocate and upgrade its data centre.

One stop shop

Mainfreight’s IT staff reviewed data centre solutions from a number of UPS, cooling and rack vendors, however only APC could provide an integrated solution with all the technology and services they required.

“We decided to go with APC because it has an excellent reputation in the data centre space. Its turnkey solutions would simplify the VoIP rollout across all the Mainfreight branches. Also having one vendor to manage the whole process made our jobs a lot easier,” said Hall.

Hall decided to implement a 40kW APC InfraStruXure™ solution. By integrating power, racks, cooling, cabling systems, InfraStruXure ensures the highest levels of system availability.

In addition, Mainfreight deployed APC’s NetBotz 500 environmental monitoring and surveillance solution that measures and records motion, humidity and temperature, plus APC’s InfraStruXure InRow RC Cooling System.

According to Hall, implementation of the data centre equipment was a breeze.

“We ordered APC’s solutions during the Christmas period, which is a difficult time to get anything done. APC managed to get everything in within the specified time. It was the most straight forward implementation I’ve ever done,” said Hall.

Mainfreight signed up for APC Global Services for installation, which included the ongoing maintenance of its InRow Cooling and UPS systems.

“We figured that no one knew the products better than APC,” explained Hall.

“APC took away the hassle of dealing with separate vendors and solutions and it didn’t cost us any more,” he added.

Advanced power and cooling for ultimate reliability

APC’s InfraStruXure solution resolved Mainfreight’s most immediate challenges – reliable and efficient cooling and sufficient power redundancy to ensure 100 per cent system availability.

Mainfreight’s InfraStruXure solution allows for 30 minutes uptime until their generator takes over, in the event of power failure.

“We have increased our power capacity from 15kW to 40kW and can increase it further as we expand our IT operations,” said Hall.

APC InRow is an advanced cooling solution that can provide up to 30KW of cooling per rack. The unit is placed at the rack side, reducing the distance between the heat source and heat removal system. The InRow concept closely couples cooling with heat load, preventing exhaust air recirculation to sensitive IT equipment.

“We had a look at a more traditional raised floor cooling solution but it was twice the size and was only slightly cheaper”.

The InRow cooling solution features a modular and scalable design that enables Mainfreight to meet the changing needs of its data centre environment.

“We can double the amount of cooling the system generates when we need to,” said Hall.

Geared for new server and virtualisation technologies and VoIP rollout

Mainfreight has now future proofed its data centre to ensure it can meet the high density power and cooling demands of its new blade centre and virtualisation technologies. As its VoIP network is gradually rolled out across all its sites, APC racks, UPS and power rails will be centrally managed and monitored via their InfrastruXure manager solution in their data centre

“As the company continues to grow, we have a flexible data centre design that will host, power, cool and manage new hardware from multiple vendors,” said Hall.

“We’re spending about half the amount of time managing and dealing with power, cabling and cooling issues. It has freed up our IT staff allowing them to do more high-value tasks and engage in proactive work rather than reactive,” he added.

 

 
 
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