Increasing educational importance of IT and rise of virtualisation drive unique enterprise cooling decision
Sydney, AUSTRALIA – [June 11, 2012] – Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson (NYSE:EMR) and a global leader in maximising availability, capacity and efficiency of critical infrastructure, has implemented an enterprise level data centre cooling system at Melbourne’s Korowa Anglican Girls’ School. The move is a departure from the conventional cooling approaches traditionally used by secondary educational institutions and represents the coming together of two major trends: the heat load demands created by virtualisation and the increasingly central role played by technology in almost every aspect of the school experience.
Greg Plum, IT Director at Korowa, said the school’s data centre had grown into a facility that needed to operate around the clock and represented a substantial financial investment in equipment. Like most secondary schools, Korowa had relied on conventional comfort cooling, specifically two split systems, but when one system failure was soon followed by another, Plum realised the school needed an enterprise-level solution to better serve its 700 pupils and 150 staff. Korowa worked with Honeylight Consulting to determine the best solution for its cooling needs and this led to partnering with Emerson Network Power, a leader in data centre infrastructure management, and the installation of a Liebert PeX.
“At first it seemed like something of a leap to move up to enterprise cooling, but ultimately we recognised there really wasn’t a choice,” Plum said. “We can’t tolerate failures, especially failures caused by insufficient cooling or the wrong kind of cooling. Conventional cooling just wasn’t able to manage the heat loads that are now being generated by the newer technology solutions we’re using such as virtualisation. The IT staff wasn’t able to sleep easy at night.”
“From the outset we recognised Emerson as the market leader in cooling solutions, so it was natural to turn to them to meet Korowa’s needs,” said Michael Downes, Technical Consultant for Honeylight Consulting.
Plum, who has been at Korowa for 17 years, outlined an IT infrastructure evolution familiar to many secondary schools where early modest investments in technology have grown into substantial data centres and computer rooms at the heart of the educational experience which are major consumers of energy and significant producers of heat. Whereas the school previously had individual computers scattered among the classrooms and facilities such as the library and common rooms, those systems have now been “virtualised” whereby the computers have been moved into racks in the data centre, leaving only the keyboards and screens on the students’ and staffs’ desks.
“We have a long history of equipping each student with her own personal computing device,” Plum said. “It’s part of the Korowa philosophy to go beyond ‘chalk and talk’ and find new ways to make technology deepen and broaden the educational experience. From my perspective in IT, the education imperative has always driven the IT infrastructure. Today we are looking at an infrastructure that must accommodate a range of demands like student wikis and virtual blackboards. The key question is how do you protect the equipment and deliver continual access for students, teachers and administrators.”
John Simpson, managing director, Emerson Network Power, Australia and New Zealand, echoed Plum’s observation.
“Today technology is an important to schools as it is to general business,” Simpson said. “Independent schools in particular are operating in a competitive environment. They differentiate themselves through not only the quality of their teaching but also the courses they offer and the services they provide to support local and international students. The IT has become critical to their operation and they need to protect not only the valuable equipment but also the data it contains.”
The Liebert PeX is the next-generation precision environmental control system from Emerson Network Power. It is the result of extensive research and development, much of it conducted in Australia. The system is highly reliable, easy to assemble on-site and is modular in design so additional units can be easily added when required. It is particularly suited to the educational environment.
“I’m quite convinced that some of the equipment failures we had before the new cooling system were caused by temperature not being as it should have been,” Plum said. “I know it sounds subjective but the cooling feels different and the unit is not constantly running. It seems to cool as much as it needs to, no more.”
Plum believes the Liebert cooling system will contribute to the longevity of the school’s IT equipment and improved performance, and, that while energy efficiency wasn’t the top concern, he anticipates that the “intelligence” built into the Emerson system will also deliver reduced electricity costs.
About Emerson Network Power
Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson (NYSE:EMR), delivers software, hardware and services that maximize availability, capacity and efficiency for data centres, healthcare and industrial facilities. A trusted industry leader in smart infrastructure technologies, Emerson Network Power provides innovative data centre infrastructure management solutions that bridge the gap between IT and facility management and deliver efficiency and uncompromised availability regardless of capacity demands. Our solutions are supported globally by local Emerson Network Power service technicians. Learn more about Emerson Network Power products and services at www.EmersonNetworkPower.com.
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and tools and storage businesses. Sales in fiscal 2011 were $24.2 billion. For more information, visit www.Emerson.com.
About Honeylight Consulting
Honeylight Consulting Pty Ltd, based in Knoxfield, Victoria, specialises in providing solutions for the education and SME markets. Their staff have extensive experience in delivering solutions to some of Australia’s leading schools and businesses and have partnered with key vendors to implement solutions in the fields of network security, power & cooling solutions, network design & implementation and general IT consulting. For more information, visit www.honeylightconsulting.com.au
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