Richard Symons is EMEA Business Development Manager for APC by Schneider Electric, specializing in Rack Systems and PDUs. I caught up with him in the Technology Park at DatacenterDynamics Converged 2012 in London to find out a little bit more about the advantages that integrated data center solutions provide.
I began by asking Richard to talk me through the APC InfraStruxure HACS, contained data center solution that Schneider Electric was showcasing at the event.
Richard said: “This is our standardised modular architecture for the IT space, which essentially means an integrated solution encompassing the racking, power, the cooling, the management layer, but in a more uniformed and integrated approach. Rather than taking components from all over the place, this is designed to work together. It can be deployed in a number of different environments. You see here a typical small-medium solution we sell. It can be scaled to extra-large data centers or to the single rack environment that we see a lot of. It’s fully scalable in that respect and can grow with companies, or as companies are shrinking [physically] these days it can go down as well. So it’s very flexible.”
Are there particular benefits to companies buying an integrated solution rather than assembling a best of breed solution?
“Absolutely, we know this is all pre tested, all the modules work together, if you wanted to deploy in multiple locations it’s very easy – it’s kind of a Lego approach that we use. From a maintenance perspective, spares and indeed from in-house staff that have to work within this environment, if they have it in multiple different sites it’s exactly the same just maybe different modules. It is much easier to maintain and make sure there are no issues with it.”
Drilling down into the performance of the integrated data center solution on display I asked Richard to comment on what was meant by a ‘contained solution’ specifically.
“Containment is basically where we want to segregate the hot exhaust air that the IT equipment produces from the intake, the cooled supply air. If the two air streams are mixing, then we lose efficiency, the warm air warms up the cooler air and effectively you are fighting a non winnable battle. By segregating it you can more intelligently target the cool air where it’s needed and get rid of the hot air at source.”
I asked whether hot-aisle or cold-aisle containment was considered better.
“It depends on the application, but generally any form of containment is of huge benefit, there’s no arguing that. Generally it’s perceived that the hotter the return air temperature to the air handler, the more efficient it’s going to be. So containing the hot aisle drives up that air temperature. However if you’re retro fitting, you’ve already got traditional perimeter CRAC units you don’t want to strip them all out and replace them with in row cooling; so cold aisle containment is probably more cost effective if you have existing infrastructure in place.”
I asked Richard if that meant that this sort of solution can be used in non dedicated IT environments?
“Absolutely, and it’s something we see a lot of, people can’t always get the ideal space and it might be a good space for IT equipment but they don’t have the head height, so this is an ideal application for this kind of solution. We see a lot of these solutions going into that area.”
The solution Richard demonstrated at DatacenterDynamic Converged 2012 has huge cost and maintenance benefits because of its standardised components. In particular, there are cost benefits to not having to engineer a dedicated server room before you can introduce IT into your office space – provided you have four walls and the power you can put one of these systems in.