American Power Conversion (APC) has officially launched its new Solutions Centre at its Lonehill-based offices, featuring its 'see it to believe it' interactive data centre tour.
"APC Solution Centres enable businesses and partners to 'touch and feel' APC availability solutions in a practical sense, making it easy to visualise how a solution like InfraStruXure can help address power, rack, cooling and management needs in an organisation's data centre," says Neill Schreiber, country sales manager: South Africa at APC. "Visitors can see exactly how the InfraStruXure architecture helps local businesses handle rising heat in the data centre, unexpected growth, blade server deployment and increased operating expenses.
"Without a doubt the biggest drivers of today's data centre are cooling and management of the (network critical physical infrastructure) NCPI. Despite revolutionary changes in IT technology and products over the past decades, the design of cooling infrastructure for data centres has changed very little since 1965.
"Although IT equipment has always required cooling, the requirements of today's IT systems, combined with the way that those systems are deployed, has created new cooling-related problems which were not foreseen when the cooling principles for the modern data centre were developed over 30 years ago."
Blade servers and 1U servers in particular are powerful, inexpensive devices that are packed into small enclosures and then mounted in racks. When numerous other such devices are packed into the same rack a situation arises where there is a build up of heat in the rack and this heat has to be removed.
In the absence of other alternatives or absence of good advice, users have resorted to buying additional conventional airconditioning units and to moving perforated tiles to try and get more cooling into their racks. Mostly this does not work and much money is wasted in capital and operational costs. Another method used is to not to fill the rack with servers and limit the heat in a rack by spreading the load across many tracks. This defeats the object of having compact servers and is also costly and takes up much space.
"APC has revolutionised the cooling concept and has developed in-row horizontal blow cooling units which are placed next to the racks and provide a very efficient cooling solution," says Schreiber. "In addition, management of the data centre is taking on increasing importance, spurred on by trends such as 'unmanned' centres, with the data centre manager relying heavily on remote management features alerting him to problems occurring within the data centre."
APC has developed very comprehensive management tools which enable all infrastructure and physical security devices to be monitored and managed using a single IP address. The data centre manager can therefore be in touch with his centre at any time of the day or night and is able to interrogate his NCPI and receive live data.
This powerful tool from APC has been achieved by integrating the software platforms of the InfraStruXure Manager and NetBotz physical security products to form one package offering management of all elements within the data centre, from power to cooling, to managing the rack PDUs to monitoring humidity, cooling, water, access and so on.
To effectively demonstrate these and other related products, the APC Solution Centre has been built to resemble a data centre infrastructure and includes an in-row cooling device, racks, PDUs, NetBotz devices and full management tools.
"Not only does the Centre enable customers and partners the opportunity to see these solutions in action and familiarise themselves with APC's advanced concepts, it also teaches them how to cut IT costs, boost efficiency, manage rising heat and eliminate downtime while at the same time learning about the latest trends in data centre design through the interactive tour."