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Alexander Forbes, Schneider implement green data centre

Alexander Forbes, Schneider implement green data centre

May 31, 2013

Alexander Forbes, an established financial services company specialising in short-term and long-term insurance, health, retirement and multi-manager investment solutions internationally, has demonstrated its commitment to green technologies with the rollout of a green Tier 3 data centre at its Sandton headquarters.

The company will be using a solution provided by Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management.  The new data centre was built in response to the company’s increased focus on efficiency, modularity and operational expenditures.

“Alexander Forbes received a full turn-key solution from Schneider Electric, making the integration seamless.  The products installed all complemented one another and, together, form a solution that has brought about an efficient, modular and state of the art data centre,” explains Eben Owen, Enterprise and Solutions manager for South Africa at Schneider Electric.

“The risks usually associated with such an implementation were minimised as Schneider Electric supplied all the relevant components and, together with the Alexander Forbes Group IT team, managed the entire process, whilst offering support to all existing mission critical applications and the IT infrastructure during the rollout,” he says.

Schneider Electric products implemented include dependable, high quality Prisma modular distribution boards, the Symmetra PX redundant, scalable, power protection system, and MGE Galaxy 7000 and 5000 three-phase uninterruptable power supplies (UPSes), providing high performance, right-sized, modular, hot-scalable power protection with ultra-high availability and efficiency.

From an all-important cooling perspective, the green data centre also includes an APC InRow cooling architecture, Uniflair chillers and a hot aisle containment system (HACS). This is a modular ceiling panel and door system for use in isolating the supply and return air between the NetShelter rack and the InRow cooling solution.  According to Owen, this containment system is designed to create a separate environment for air distribution in order to prevent mixing of hot and cold air streams, resulting in a more predictable cooling pattern.

The InRow cooling architecture alone will reduce energy costs by up to 30%.  In order to manage and monitor the new data centre, Schneider Electric installed its proprietary StruxureWare platform of applications and suites, providing Alexander Forbes with greater visibility into energy and other resource use across the organisation, and providing access to all of the data and tools needed to operate a more reliable, efficient, productive, safe and green data centre.

In addition, NetBotz security and environmental monitoring appliances were implemented to provide temperature, humidity, door contact and dry contact monitoring that also allows the data centre manager to monitor environmental conditions remotely.

According to David van Niekerk, IT network operations manager at Alexander Forbes Group IT, Schneider Electric was appointed as it is the technology leader in the energy management market, with an excellent reputation extending to its elite partner, Dimension Data. “We needed to build a state-of-the-art, green data centre that utilised some of the best of brand products available, while remaining cost effective,” he explains.

“Schneider Electric ticked all our boxes from a systems and project management perspective. We wanted just one accountable party to deal with if any issues arose from the design stage through to the actual implementation.”



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