13.12.2017 - Network planning – the basis for an effective IT infrastructure
ene't is an IT systems engineer that specialises in the energy sector. As early as 2002, the company’s founders realised just how difficult it was to calculate gas and electricity prices in the energy market. As a result, they wanted to offer suitable software solutions for producers, network operators or for regional and municipal utilities. Today ene't is one of the leading system engineers for the German energy industry. Software and services are the cornerstones of its business model. It is therefore vital that it has a high-performance, fail-safe data centre to safeguard the business success of the company itself, and its more than 500 clients from the energy sector also rely on the high availability of the IT services ene't provides these services through its own data centre, using a container solution from Rittal.
“We are completely satisfied with the container solution Rittal has provided, as it enables us to meet our high availability requirements for the data centre infrastructure.”
Roland Hambach, Managing Director, ene‘t GmbH
The rapid growth of ene't shows how successful its idea eally is. In just 15 years, the workforce has grown from three to more than 100. During the same period, many companies in the energy sector have launched their own digital transformation and integrated more and more IT services into their costing processes – including the services offered by ene't. For example, this company now provides many applications as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) so that its clients can quickly and easily access the applications over the Internet. This has put the in-house IT infrastructure at ene't under growing pressure. In 2016, the volume of business became such that a new data centre was required. Simply expanding the existing facilities was not an option, and the company did not want to integrate more public cloud resources. The new data centre needed to be put in place very fast and also had to meet the highest IT security and fail-safe standards. The decision was made to use a data centre container from Rittal that would be stationed in the open on the company’s grounds.
Making the impossible possible
The project kicked off in 2016. Requirements included the highest possible level of physical security, an infrastructure with in-built redundancy, the highest possible energy efficiency and, above all, short delivery times. The aim was to launch the new IT environment in May 2017. This type of timescale is only feasible when a data centre container uses pre-configured components that allows the infrastructure to be established quickly and without any risks. Based on the performance data provided by ene't, the Rittal data centre experts configured two IT containers that accommodate the complete IT equipment and now stand on the company grounds.
The containers are designed in the same way as a state-of-the-art in-house data centre. Cold-aisle containment for the IT racks provides energy-efficient climate control for the IT systems. Solar panels on the roof further improve the energy balance of the whole facility. Six Rittal Liquid Cooling Packages (LCP) – air/water heat exchangers on the racks – take care of cooling, with built-in redundancies. The two containers provide space for twelve IT racks, of which four are currently configured. ene't therefore has plenty of capacity to meet the technical IT requirements associated with further company growth.
A separate technology room within the container accommodates the UPS systems. These also have built-in redundancies, and can safeguard IT operations for up to three hours using battery power. The system is designed in such a way that every server and switch is supplied by two power packs that each have a separate power supply. Should the power be out for a longer period, a diesel-powered emergency generator can power the whole system for 24 hours.
Creating solid foundations
A system that reduces oxygen ensures the oxygen level of the air within the container is kept at a low level, practically eliminating the risk of open fires. The level of oxygen is reduced to 14 per cent for this purpose. An extinguisher system is also installed in the technology room. In addition, the comprehensive Rittal CMC III monitoring solution records central parameters within the IT racks, such as temperature, air humidity, oxygen content, smoke generation or open doors, and passes these reports to the central IT control centre.
Data security and high availability are key to the ene't business model. That is why every component in the data centre has a built-in redundancy, including the power supply and the Internet connection.