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Virgin Blue Flying High with APC InfraStruXureâ„¢

Established in 2000, Virgin Blue Airlines services 24 domestic and 7 international destinations and has a fleet of 53 Boeing 737 aircraft and 3 E-Jets.


Virgin Blue Airlines




Brisbane, Australia


Icon Eye


Dispersed IT operations requiring remote monitoring & high availability

Lack of environmental monitoring places the organisation at risk, especially airports in hot places like Broome


APC 5x 40kW InfraStruXure data centre architecture integrating power, rack, management and services at Head Office, Airport and Hangar

APC environmental monitoring that measures motion, temperature, humidity and smoke


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

Scalable power, cooling and rack solution that can be expanded easily and costeffectively when required

As a young company in an unpredictable industry Virgin Blue relies heavily on a sophisticated IT system spread over a wide geographical area. There are two main data centres and over 30 server rooms located in airports around the country. The system comprises hundreds of servers, ranging from Windows servers through to complex SUN and HP servers running critical airline, engineering and roster systems.

Virgin Blue must contend with many system availability challenges, including power and network management, environmental issues and rapid system growth. To assist with these challenges, Jenson Spencer, Manager, IT Services for Virgin Blue, recently installed APC InfraStruXure™, a high-availability, pre-engineered data centre architecture that integrates power, cooling, management and servicing within a rack-optimised design. The company has two InfraStruXure systems at the head office in Brisbane supporting the primary data centre and two InfraStruXure systems at Brisbane Airport protecting Network Operations and an advanced flight simulator used for pilot training.

Scalable InfraStruXure Supports Virgin Blue’s Growth

The need for power protection was one of the main reasons Jenson selected InfraStruXure, however another important factor was Virgin Blue’s burgeoning IT system. InfraStruXure consists of modular components and is fully scalable, allowing organisations to deal with the demands of rapid business expansion.

Jenson said, “Virgin Blue is very dynamic and we need to react quickly to sustain our growth. On occasion we have had to add an additional 20 to 30 servers to our system. A pay-as-you-go approach allows us to start with 10kW and increase it to 40KW N+1 by plugging in more power modules.

With InfraStruXure we can monitor the UPS units, racks and power distribution units (PDUs) located at regional sites from our Brisbane headquarters and get on top of issues before they cause a major problem

“The modular nature of InfraStruXure appealed to the business because it simplified the expansion process, allowing substantial savings on time, effort and the costs of external servicing. With legacy three-phase UPS units you need an electrician on-site. If you want to bring a new rack online an electrician needs to do all the runs under the floor. In contrast, InfraStruXure allows us to easily wheel in another NetShelter™ SX rack, plug it into the existing rack and it is online.” he added.

Centralised Power Management and Environmental Monitoring

With such dispersed IT operations, Jenson also chose InfraStruXure to gain advanced, centralised management of Virgin Blue’s entire Network-critical Physical Infrastructure (NCPI), the physical foundation of the IT system. The included InfraStruXure™ Manager device has a browser-accessible user interface, giving secure access from anywhere on the network.

The open architecture of InfraStruXure Manager sends SNMP alerts to our existing monitoring system and allows us to manage the system remotely.”

The InfraStruXure Manager is also linked to APC Environmental Monitoring Units (EMUs), which monitor the temperature and humidity at remotes sites. With increasing power densities in rack enclosures and challenging server room locations, this environmental management is a vital component of Virgin Blue’s availability strategy.

“Airports have problems with air conditioning, especially in hot places like Broome where there are old air conditioning systems that are designed for humans, not technology,” explained Jenson. “The EMUs let us know if the air conditioning at a site has broken down, which helps prevent heat-related downtime. They provide added security as well because we are alerted if there is unauthorised access to one of the NetShelter VX racks.”

Quick Installation and Expert Advice

Compared to legacy systems, InfraStruXure is easy to install due to its pre-engineered design. The online InfraStruXure Designer Tool also allows APC to quickly design a system to meet the requirements of a client’s environment.

“Instead of calculating everything manually APC advised us exactly how much battery power we needed, our scalability options and the level of redundancy required.” Jenson said.

Jenson also found APC’s data centre design expertise very valuable during the planning stage of the installation.

“APC raised several issues that our design team had not considered. They gave good advice about how to layout the data centre to optimise airflow and maximise cooling efficiency,” he said.


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