CASE STUDY: Higher Education & Research Facilities

Consultancy, data centre design and build, LAN upgrade and ongoing maintenance

Research Facility Data Centre Design And Build, With Improved Energy Efficiency

This research organisation, based in the south-west of England, has been on its present site since the 1970s. In January 2014 the team there began working with INFINITI to help them with their server room challenges, including a large scale data centre expansion.

Location;
Plymouth, UK

Higher Education and Research Facility Data Centre

Challenge. 

The research facility's server room dated back to the 1970s and was in desperate need of an overhaul, with a number of challenges being faced: 
  • Having already extended their server room twice they had now reached full capacity 
  • The air conditioning was no longer energy efficient and was reaching the end of its lifespan 
  • Maintenance contracts were due to expire 
  • Modern working requirements were not catered for and the server room would soon impact staff productivity and hamper the organisation’s growth plans 
  • Wiring was a major challenge and the organisation was unable to find a company to take on the rewiring task 
  • There was no centralised Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), leaving the organisation open to system failures 
  • There was no dedicated server room fi re suppression facility 
The organisation also had a fixed amount of funding to spend so needed to ensure that the project was delivered within budget. In addition, any work carried out needed to happen in the background, in a live office and laboratory working environment, with no interruption to staff and their working day. It was also paramount that the effects of the construction work - such as dust - didn’t affect the very sensitive laboratory areas.


Solution.

In 2013 the organisation’s IT team put the server room upgrade out to tender to 12 companies, eight of which responded. Three of those companies were shortlisted and INFINITI won the tender. INFINITI was happy to sign any Liquidated & Ascertained Damages (LAD) clauses which formed part of the JCT Works Contract and work soon began. According to the organisation’s IT Manager: “While other organisations were trying to impose what they thought we wanted, INFINITI listened to our requirements and their offering was far superior. They also had glowing references from their clients.

The work carried out by the INFINITI team included: Planning a complete redesign of the available space INFINITI was able to identify three new areas that were suitable for expansion. The organisation’s project team chose the original server room area, expanded into an adjacent meeting room and storage area. Noisy and disruptive work in this space had to be kept to a minimum and out of hours where possible due to the close proximity of staff offices.

Demolition and rebuild

According to INFINITI’s Managing Director Peter Sands: “We took the areas right back to a bare shell. This involved removing legacy sound proofing materials originally used to reduce the noise of the old mainframes. In total four 16 yard skips were required to separate all the materials for recycling, as per the waste management plan and our own environmental policy. All noisy works were carried out in the early mornings, evenings and at weekends so we didn’t disturb staff .” INFINITI’s project team also managed all on-site resources during this ti me including electricians, pipe fitters, flooring specialists, and other specialist contractors.

Installing the new Research Facility Data Centre

The new data centre has been situated in a much larger space. The walls and doors have been constructed from fire rated soundproof composite panels and there are four new large efficient data centre air conditioning units: three are always on and one is available as backup (N+1). INFINITI also installed new server and network racks, UPS and electrical systems, fully managed intelligent power distribution units (PDU), Environmental Monitoring Systems (EMS) and a Data Centre Infrastructure Manager (DCiM) that monitors the research facility data centre and power usage in real time. A new environmentally friendly fi re suppression facility has also been installed, making the research facility data centre far safer. 

Installation of new data and fibre cabling solution 

INFINITI worked very closely with the IT and networks team on a suitable design, and a complete upgrade of the organisation’s LAN was successfully completed within a live office environment. The new research facility data centre data connectivity and Local Area Network (LAN) used over 30km of fibre optic and CAT6 copper data cable throughout the entire six storey building which has 650 live ports. 

Results.

INFINITI completed this extensive research facility data centre upgrade within the contracted allocated ti me and within budget so no LAD penalty charges applied. Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) a measure of how efficiently a data centre uses energy, is now rated at 1.5 compared with 2.2 previously, so the organisation is already seeing the associated cost savings. 

With double the original capacity, the organisation is now able to take on additional projects and generate increased revenue as a result. The build didn’t affect staff and work was able to carry on as usual. The area is bright, cool and efficient, creating a much improved working space for the IT team. They now also receive data centre alerts by email so they know about any temperature, humidity, power or cooling system issues before they can cause any damage.

Testimonials.

INFINITI has gone out of its way to help us and now that the initial install is over Peter and his team continue to manage all the maintenance contractors that come in to carry out additional work. We have a good working relationship with them and we would highly recommend them. They know the industry and the trends, and can be very inventive with cost effective solutions.” 
IT Manager, research organisation

“We are very proud to have been able to provide a high quality data centre solution for this world leading laboratory. The construction of the research facility data centre needed to be scalable, efficient and provide a much more stable environment for the organisation to continue its valued research, without compromise or restrictions.”
Peter Sands, Managing Director, INFINITI


As a data centre provider offering both consultancy and building services, Infiniti can help offer
guidance and support on the best options for your business.

Have any questions or comments, or would like to know more about the 
article and how we can help please contact us on 01993 774444 or email us enquiries@infiniti-it.co.uk