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Axpo’s modular and high-availability data centre

The data centre is cooled using Rittal’s Liquid Cooling Package (LCP). This rack climate control system is mounted on the side of the IT rack.

The small community of Lupfig, with around 3,000 inhabitants is surrounded by the flat, agricultural landscape of the Swiss canton of Aargau. Who would imagine it to be the site of a sophisticated, state-of-the-art data centre? Lupfig is the home of Axpo WZ-Systems AG, an operator of critical infrastructures for secure data communication. Axpo offers tailor-made solutions for crisis-proof data communication in mobile and fixed networks. Its customers include energy suppliers, railways, fire brigades and safety authorities. They depend on their services being available around the clock and with maximum security. Rittal is a powerful technological partner for stable, business-critical communication.

“Our customers are demanding more and more crisis-proof communication solutions. Rittal impressed us with its complete package, and especially with how individual racks and the climate control system could be controlled.”

Marcel Aumer, COO of Axpo WZ-Systems AG

Prepared for every eventuality

The growing share of energy from photovoltaics or wind turbines in the grid can lead to fluctuations, which Axpo's customers cannot afford to suffer, because a call to the fire brigade or police must never be interrupted. The Swiss are meeting the demand for secure communication solutions with their own IT infrastructure for communication-as-a-service solutions and a 24/7 network operation centre. Axpo has its own high-performance fibre optic network with an autonomous power supply at its main site in Lupfig, which ensures reliable and highly available data connections. Axpo is present as a carrier in a large number of data centres throughout Switzerland and has a comprehensive network of access points. When its headquarters were being expanded, Axpo implemented its own new data centre with fifty-five 19" TS IT racks from Rittal in addition to the existing data centre. This new data mirrors the old one. For example, the IT infrastructure is designed redundantly. At the same time, the new building still offers plenty of room for growth, another benefit for customers, who are now also able to plan for the future. The modular nature of the TS IT racks and the various busbars and cooling systems from Rittal is also greatly appreciated.

The data centre is cooled using Rittal’s Liquid Cooling Package (LCP). This rack climate control system is mounted on the side of the IT rack. It can also be used between two racks, so that one climate control unit can cool two IT enclosures. The system uses cold water as its cooling medium and it can also handle very high heat loads of as much as 55 kW per rack. It is based on an air/water heat exchanger using cold water to cool the heated air from the IT rack. The setpoint value is thus a server supply air temperature, which the customer can freely set. These have outputs of up to 55 kW and a small footprint of only 0.36 m², enabling the best possible use of available space. High water inlet temperatures allow greater use of indirect free cooling, which reduces operating costs at the same time.

Good planning is the recipe for success

Good planning in close cooperation with the technology partners is essential for the successful construction of a data centre that will meet the high and changing requirements of demanding customers over the years and is future-proof. Together with Rittal, Axpo looked at the different variants at an early stage, weighing up their advantages, disadvantages and possibilities for optimisation. Axpo-COO Marcel Aumer would recommend this procedure every time: “You have to keep your finger on the pulse and be on the spot in order to intervene at the right time and avoid any unpleasant surprises.” With an experienced partner like Rittal, data centre projects are guaranteed to be a success.