Limerick Institute of Technology

Limerick Institute of Technology is the Irish Times Institute of the year for 2013 and caters for the educations needs of 7,500 students in six campuses in the mid-west region. The Moylish Campus is the largest and hosts the Institute’s primary data centre.

The Problem,

Original 20KVA UPS is running at at 90% load capacity supporting the data centre for the whole institute.

Output phases were not balanced correctly due to a lack of labelling on wall sockets.

Bypass panel was wired incorrectly which caused one phase to drop when the UPS is put in bypass.

Data centre had server cabinets, communication cabinets and data cabling laid out in an unorganised fashion.

Batteries were nearing end of service life

Cooling requirements had exceeded the capacity of the legacy ceiling mounted comfort air conditioning.

The Solution

We replaced all server and communication cabinets with APC Netshelter cabinets and arranged them in APC half cube design, hot-aisle/cold-aisle.

Replaced the existing 20KV UPS with new scalable and redundant Symmetra PX 40KW with a 1 hour battery runtime.

Complete overhaul of internal wiring from UPS output to cabinets.

Replace the 3 existing ceiling mounted comfort air-conditioning and condensers with 3x APC ACRD101 in-row cooling units

The Project

This project required a complete overhaul of the data centre. Over the course of 15 years, services had grown exponentially and from a cabling perspective, in an unorganised fashion. This was also a legacy of moving from a Token Ring network to Ethernet on a staged basis. This resulted in a disjointed room layout which was unorganised and not optimising the space available.  A number of power and cooling specialists were approached to offer solutions in late 2008. Total Power Solutions not only offered the most practical and affordable solution, but also demonstrated an ability and willingness to manage the wider project elements such as engineering, cooling specialists and electricians.

The project was completed in stages over a period of months in order to prepare for a 1 day outage for the UPS and cooling installation and commissioning. This was planned for a weekend. Weeks of moving and rearranging servers, data cabling, switches, router and cabinets including extensive rewiring of internal power had to be completed in advance of the change.

Total Power Solutions not only offered the most practical and affordable solution, but also demonstrated an ability and willingness to manage the wider project elements such as engineering, cooling specialists and electricians.

The outcome.

After project completion the data centre was served by a UPS that provided 50% capacity for future scalable growth with built in redundant fault tolerance. The cooling system provides much greater capacity and energy efficiency than the old ceiling mounted units. The server room cabinets have been aligned in an ordered fashion that maximises space and airflow to aide cooling efficiency, utilising hot aisle and cold aisle structures. The new design has vastly reduced the labour involved in maintaining the server and data equipment.

Further work

In July of 2012, Total Power Solutions were appointed to project manage the selection and installation of a diesel generator to provide backup power to the data centre. This was on foot of a number of lengthy ESB outages that necessitated the shutdown of IT services. A solution was needed to provide power to both the UPS and cooling equipment for an extended period of time. An FG Wilson 150KV generator was chosen to meet both current and future requirements, which currently provides 2 days backup to the data centre. An automatic changeover panel ensures that once mains power is lost, the generator will provide power within 10 seconds. This further reduces the dependency on UPS batteries as they only need to bear the load for a few seconds. In the first 3 months after installation, the generator was in service on four different occasions, providing a total of 15 hours of backup power.

“Total Power Solutions offered invaluable assistance throughout all stages of the project. Their high level of expertise in all of the disparate areas of data centre design and management ensured that the project was planned and executed to perfection “

Mark Curtin – Limerick Institute of Technology

October, 20. 2015


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