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Schneider Electric scoops Datacentre Solution of The Year accolade

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Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, has won the prestigious Datacentre Solution of The Year category at the European IT & Softwarexcellence Awards, 2017.

The award, for an upgrade project delivered in conjunction with APC™ by Schneider Electric Elite Partner Comtec Power, a UK data centre design and build company, was facilitated to meet the differing needs of Cardiff University’s High Performance Computing (HPC), Advanced research (ARCCA) facility. 

The University worked with Comtec to design, populate and upgrade its data centre, which utilised components of Schneider Electric’s InfraStruxure (ISX) data-centre physical infrastructure solution in addition to high efficiency chillers and the StruxureWare for Data Centers: Data Center Operations Energy Efficiency software module. 

By providing complete visibility of all Power, Cooling and IT assets, the upgrade lowered the existing PUE level from 1.8 to 1.2. This in turn halved the Universities electricity bill, saving them approximately £125,000 in electricity annually and will provide the key stakeholders with a return on investment (ROI) in less than five years. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have accepted this prestigious award from IT Europa on behalf of Schneider Electric and Comtec Power”, said Andy Connor, channel director, APC by Schneider Electric. “This is a great example of how a manufacturer and a partner have worked together to deliver industry leading technologies that enable intelligent management, operational efficiency and tremendous cost savings at one of the UK’s leading Universities.”

To maximise efficiency of the system, Comtec coordinated both rack density and layout with a ‘close-coupled’ chilled-water cooling solution and hot aisle containment (HACS). In addition, they deployed Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare Data Center Operation: Energy Efficiency management software enabling the University to monitor and gain more granular, real-time insights into energy usage, to ensure maximum efficiency for all the elements of its infrastructure. 

“The University has a longstanding relationship with Comtec Power,” said Hugh Beedie, chief technology officer for the Advanced Research Computing at Cardiff (ARCCA) and the general IT Services department at Cardiff University. “Having completed our original data centre design and build, plus the previous upgrade requirements, Comtec was able to deploy the StruxureWare Data Center Operation: Energy Efficiency module quickly and without causing disruption to ARCCA. This latest project has provided immediate energy efficiency improvements, and has repaid our trust in both them and Schneider Electric.”

He continued: “The investment in the Energy Efficiency module enabled me to prove firstly that the business case for the cooling upgrade was vindicated, and secondly, to fine tune the services operation to achieve the best PUE possible for the mix of climate, HPC server demand and services efficiency. The key point is that I can now make a change and see whether it has had a positive or negative impact on the energy use of the supporting services. To put the numbers in the context, that data centre uses around £250,000 of electricity per year to run it. By having a good PUE going from a level of 1.7 down to 1.2, I’m saving around £125,000 on electricity, every year.”

“It’s fantastic to have been recognised by our peers in the IT Channel Industry” said Nick Claxson, managing director, Comtec Power. “The data centre upgrade at Cardiff University is a perfect example of how well established partnerships and integrated technologies can work seamlessly to deliver an excellent return on investment (ROI) for the end-user.”


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