Schneider Electric and Elite Partner Advanced Power Technology (APT) deliver data centre digital transformation project for Newcastle City Council.
Schneider Electric
Data Centre Consolidation / Upgrade / Refresh Project of the Year
Entry Description

Schneider Electric worked in collaboration with its Elite Partner, Advanced Power Technology (APT) to deliver a data centre digital transformation project for Newcastle City Council and drive digital service continuity members of its constituency. The initiative included consolidation of existing data centre capacity, upgrades to the physical infrastructure and the deployment of next generation data centre infrastructure (DCIM) management software, which would improve reliability, increase energy efficiency and lower operating expenses (OpEx).

Driving force and business/technology challenges, breaking conventional ideas

The goal of the digital transformation project was to increase resilience and improve the ability of Newcastle City Council to deliver e-government services to the 300,000 citizens and businesses within its constituency. Applications hosted within the facility include council tax collection, social and library services, education and road traffic management in addition to support for other essential public service bodies such as the local National Health Service (NHS) and the Police. The new data centre greatly improves Newcastle City Council’s ability to ensure service continuity and drives efficiency for a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

“Previously, we were able to withstand a loss of power for about 20 minutes,” said James Dickman, Senior ICT Solutions Analyst, Newcastle City Council. “Now we can operate for three hours on UPS if required and can use our backup generator to provide alternative power in the event of a loss to our mains supply. It’s also reassuring to know that the data centre infrastructure is being constantly monitored, with alerts routed directly to mobile devices if events occur out of hours.” “With IT, connectivity and digital demands growing exponentially, the data centre plays a crucial role in e-government service delivery,” said Marc Garner, VP, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric UK&I. “APT’s expertise in data centre design, build and installation have been pivotal in the success of this digital transformation project for Newcastle City Council, offering them greater resiliency and efficiency.”

“As a public body we are always looking for ways to improve cost and energy efficiencies,” continued James Dickman. “Schneider Electric and APT were able to design and deliver a data centre solution that meets our needs and our expectations. The new facility enables us to meet our service commitments to all stakeholders while minimising the carbon impact of delivering IT services.”

Solutions and customer benefits – going beyond marginal improvements

The new and consolidated data centre replaced three legacy server rooms, each containing a number of disparate UPS and cooling systems, which were old and in need of maintenance. The Council chose Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ for Data Centres, an IOT-enabled, open and interoperable system architecture for its new integrated data centre. The system, designed and built by APT, consolidates the council’s entire mission-critical IT infrastructure in a single data hall, incorporating APC Netshelter™ Racks and data centre containment, Galaxy UPS and Power Distribution (PDU). To guarantee uptime in the event of a power outage, the Council also installed Schneider Electric’s modular and scalable Galaxy UPS’s in an N+1 redundant configuration, with extended runtime and a standby power generator.

A key benefit of EcoStruxure IT Expert software is the ability for operators to monitor power consumption within each of the IT racks. With the new data centre designed to house all of Newcastle City Council’s IT and network devices in contained aisles, visibility of energy consumption and environmental data, together with insights provided by the software, enabled the power and cooling systems to be operated with optimum energy efficiency. Additionally, the software enables the facility to deliver cost-effective hosting services to other local bodies and businesses. Around 10% of the data centre’s real estate is leased out to other public sector organisations including HM Courts and the arbitration service, ACAS. By carefully monitoring the power supply to each rack, the Council can accurately charge for hosting services, producing a revenue stream that helps to offset its operating costs. “The monitoring and management capabilities of EcoStruxure IT has resulted in greatly improved visibility of the data centre operations and consequently offers a greater ability to proactively mitigate emerging issues,” said John Thompson, MD of Advanced Power Technology. “With more detailed insight into operations, Newcastle City Council can increase the resiliency of the IT Service delivery to improve the customer experience.”

To ensure mission-critical reliability and real time visibility, APT also deployed EcoStruxure™ IT Expert, Schneider Electric’s open, interoperable and vendor-agnositc next-generation DCIM software, which would help to efficiency and provide real time monitoring, improved maintenance schedules and proactive alerts to any unexpected issues such as potential equipment failures or downtime. With the consolidation of three server rooms into one and the standardisation on Schneider Electric UPS systems, PDUs and racks as well as the overall management capability provided by EcoStruxure IT Expert, Newcastle City Council benefits from:

1. Mission-critical reliability – The new data centre greatly improves Newcastle City Council’s ability to ensure e-government service continuity for its 300,000 citizens, businesses and public sector services such as the NHS and Police.
2. Greater efficiency and lower energy usage – All hardware, including power, IT and cooling is integrated within a holistic architecture and managed for greater efficiency, thereby reducing electricity costs for a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
3. Increased resilience – Operators can enjoy 99% uptime with a modular scalable reliable UPS system and 24/7 remote monitoring.
4. Lower OpEx – Operational costs are offset by renting out spare data centre capacity at competitive rates thanks to accurate system monitoring.

When was solution introduced to market?
Project completed in 2020
Supporting Documents