Data centre delivers solutions on solid ground

Schneider Electric IT Business

Wednesday, 11 February, 2015


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New Zealand backup and business continuity services provider Plan B chose Schneider Electric to build its new independent connected data centre network under the sub-brand Southern Cross Data Centres (SXDC), designed to meet the needs of regional integrators and large enterprises.

The result provides customers with a new set of data centre colocation options in Auckland (two locations), Wellington and Christchurch. Each SXDC also includes integrated access to business continuity and disaster recovery solutions. Launched in August 2014, the custom-built data centre and business recovery facility in Tawa (Wellington) expanded footprint at the site by around 1000 m2.

“Design is always at the heart of any data centre plan and is critical to ensuring that every square metre of space is effectively utilised,” says Ian Forrester, Plan B’s managing director.

Careful planning and project management were required to map the power availability in the area and advanced electrical design tools were utilised to confirm appropriate power in the facility. Another challenge was energy efficiency, as energy costs continue to rise on average 10% each year in New Zealand.

It was also important that the facility was reliable and that it would not be significantly affected by seismic activity in the greater Wellington region. It is for this reason that the Tawa site was chosen as it sits on geotechnically solid ground, outside the high-risk earthquake zone. “I think we can confidently say we are the only business continuity services provider to have delivered with 100% success through five earthquakes,” said Forrester.

Schneider Electric provided a complete power and cooling solution, which included 90 racks, power distribution units, an Eco aisle containment system and UPS. The hot-aisle containment and an in-row cooling configuration have given the facility a 30% energy saving in comparison to raised-floor cooling methods. The feature-rich racks are optimised for easy installation, managing cables, integrating power distribution and maximising airflow.

To increase performance and reliability, a state-of-the-art, three-phase power protection MGE Galaxy 5500 was installed, with online technology fully isolating and protecting against power quality disturbances.

“Schneider Electric’s project management experience and consultative solutions meant that it could help us build an attractive and premium facility that is one of the most efficient in the local market,” said Scott Lawson, Plan B’s infrastructure manager.

The Tawa data centre has been built to tier 2+ capability to meet the typical needs of businesses and allow for decentralisation and spread of risk. The facility also hosts both multisubscriber and dedicated standby office facilities for clients who require it to manage risk and meet regulatory obligations.

Hosting options include:

  • Production Equipment - host live services within the SXDC infrastructure;
  • Hot Standby - host redundant equipment that is fully connected for use immediately if an outage occurs on a user’s production equipment;
  • Warm Standby - host physically racked, preconfigured equipment that is on but not actively providing service but can be quickly activated and updated remotely; and
  • Cold Standby - specialised or required equipment in shelf storage to guarantee that the equipment will be in an appropriate facility and ready for use during a disaster recovery.

The facility makes it easy for enterprise clients to access additional services such as backup and data protection (embedded into the design), standby offices and equipment, recovery assurance and consulting services. It is also one of the most energy efficient in the region with a power usage effectiveness of 1.6.

“Schneider Electric’s global experience and vast research and development knowledge were crucial to bringing the very latest in data centre technology and design experience to this project,” said Forrester.

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