Australia’s education sector has seen major growth over the last five years. The strong demand for vocational education and up-skilling underpins the increased demand. As student enrolment increases and departments expand, university data centre’s must grow with data requirements.
A Queensland university required additional data centre capacity to facilitate a new business strategy and allow for collocation with other parties. In search of highest quality IT infrastructure the university chose PREH and Rittal. PREH provided design, install and commissioning resources while Rittal delivered the latest German-engineered Data Centre infrastructure.
PREH have long been a go-to consultant for the University’s Data Centre infrastructure requirements. Trained and certified as a Rittal IT solution partner, PREH are well versed on Rittal’s extensive range of complete IT infrastructure. Director, Gavin Bailey was responsible for the Data Centre expansion project. Gavin chose to design the expansion project using Rittal’s Racks, Cooling, Power and Fire infrastructure due to their high quality, modularity and energy efficiency.
“The client was after simplicity and reduced infrastructure power consumption for the new high density IT equipment.” Gavin said.
Furthermore, the university required a fully modular design in order to cater for a four stage 200% expansion in future. PREH was aware of the university’s high heat loads per rack of up to 20kW/rack - far higher than the current average Australian rack heat load of approximately 4-8 kW/rack. Rittal’s latest water based LCP InRow and InRack Cooling units (LCP – Liquid Cooling Package) are specifically designed and tested for high density environments such as multiple IBM or HP Blade Servers in a single Rack.
“Unlike the Rittal LCP units, a lot of manufacturers simply require more space for lesser cooling performance. The most powerful LCP model provides up to 60kW of cooling on a 0.3 m² footprint (DxW = 1000x300mm). The best rack based air-to-water-heat-exchanger in the industry!” said Gavin.
The InRack and InRow cooling philosophy is particularly reliable and efficient as the heat exchanging process happens right next to the heat source in the rack. Traditional CRAC units are placed on the side of the data centre room, metres away from the heat source making cooling far less efficient. Not only does Rittal allow for highest density loads on the market, Rittal’s LCP units can also operate at raised water inlet temperatures alleviating critical condensation and moisture parameters, removing the need for installation of drains within the Data Centre. Raised inlet temperatures also dramatically increase opportunity for use of outdoor indirect free cooling equipment that utilise ambient air to generate cold supply water.
“Rittal offers a whole range of Free Cooling systems, both direct and indirect - a great advantage of the Rittal offering.” said Gavin.
Rittal’s Free Cooling systems can reduce traditional cooling costs by up to 50% depending on the location. An energy saving proving increasingly popular with cost savvy CIOs.
Rittal’s infrastructure was compared to a range of competitor products including the offering from APC and Emerson. “The Rittal products stood out as a clear winner. Not only for its energy efficiency and innovation but also because it looks good! The customer was sold on the sexy LCD screen and colours. A perfect combination of design and function!” Gavin said.
The customer was determined that they should have the complete project delivered by one vendor. Together with PREH - Rittal provided high quality Data Centre infrastructure kit for the full range of the university’s requirements:
- InRack high density LCP units with up to 60 kW capacity each
- High Performance Cooling Racks with latest airflow direction technology
- InRack 1RU slim - 19-inch mounted Early Active Smoke Detection and Novec1230™ Gas Fire Suppression units, DET-AC Plus
- Supporting Mechanical and Electrical infrastructure
The project was completed in 12 weeks. “The install phase of the project took one month. Perfect timing as PREH could utilise the latest LCP generation that was launched weeks before in Germany.” Gavin said.
Currently the Rittal LCP units provide an average of 28 kW of useful cooling output depending on the IT heat load. Even though the LCP is mounted directly next to the rack there is a secure separation of Cooling and Rack infrastructure which prevents water from penetrating the Server Rack. This results in an easy to assemble and service friendly unit.