Managed.IT - issue 65

26 01732 759725 DATA CENTRES populated with IT racks, servers and networking equipment, together with all the necessary supporting infrastructure including cooling, structured cabling, power distribution (PDUs) and power protection. It is the epitome of edge computing.” Power protection is essential because, while the utility supply in Lincoln is generally reliable, the city centre campus buildings are not equipped with any standby power-generating capabilities, forcing ICT Services to use uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to build resilience into the university’s network. It currently has 110 Schneider Electric next generation APC Smart-UPS SRT units deployed across distributed edge facilities, providing backup power for critical equipment should the mains power supply fail or experience a significant surge or drop in voltage. A developing relationship The University of Lincoln began its relationship with RMD UK over a decade ago, when the Schneider Electric Elite Partner won a tender to replace some legacy APC SmartUPS units. Not long afterwards, the university contracted RMD to provide a programme of regular inspection and maintenance of its UPS systems. Since then, RMD UK has provided IT Services with additional physical infrastructure solutions including APC NetBotz environmental monitoring devices and Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT Expert and Data Centre Expert Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software. This software gives full visibility of IT equipment distributed across the University of Lincoln campus, enabling ICT Services to centrally manage and monitor all the physical elements of its data centre infrastructure, from the temperature within edge server rooms to the condition of the UPS and their associated battery runtime. This visibility enables the IT team not only to prioritise ongoing remedial tasks and respond more quickly to unforeseen events and outages, but also to optimise cooling in the data centres and edge facilities for greater operational efficiency and lower power consumption. In addition, RMD has continued to enhance its UPS maintenance and replacement activities, including a recommendation to fit bypass panels that enable servicing to be carried out without compromising the IT load. Bypass panels are now being retrofitted to existing UPS deployments and have been made standard in the electrical design for all infrastructure supporting the university’s new edge server rooms. Moving towards net zero The benefits of the University of Lincoln’s modernisation programme for edge environments go beyond improvements to power availability and the serviceability of IT infrastructure. As Mark Yeeles, Vice President, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric, UK and Ireland, points out, the university is now also able to increase temperature setpoints and in doing so save energy as a further step towards reaching net zero carbon operations for its infrastructure and IT services. “The modernisation strategy chosen by the University of Lincoln demonstrates why improving the reliability of the IT network goes hand-in-hand with reducing its environmental impact. The university now has a more operationally and energyefficient infrastructure system which, importantly, helps towards its target of becoming net zero and provides a resilient learning environment for future generations of students to further their education.” Gaining an edge The University of Lincoln, one of the world’s top 150 universities according to the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2023, is continuing to modernise its edge environments to enhance resiliency and reduce energy consumption as it seeks to make its IT infrastructure and services operations net zero carbon. The modernisation project undertaken by energy management and automation expert Schneider Electric and RMD UK, a specialist service provider for data centres and industrial systems with more than 25 years’ experience in IT power and cooling, builds on a longstanding relationship between the three organisations. “For many years now, RMD has partnered with the University of Lincoln to support its IT and power requirements and underpin its reputation as one of the world’s leading universities,” explains Scot Docherty, Business Development Consultant at RMD Power & Cooling. “Through the use of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure software, its APC power protection solutions and its digital services programme, we’re able to help the university ensure maximum efficiency and reliability across its critical systems and take another step towards its environmental goals.” The epitome of edge computing The university is heavily dependent upon SaaS applications which today are used by admin teams, students, academic staff and research and commercial partners for most tasks. It is therefore critical that the twenty-five campus buildings connected to the university’s centralised data centre are able to guarantee network uptime and reliable access to cloud services. “We open a new building nearly every year,” says Darran Coy, Senior Infrastructure Analyst, ICT Services at University of Lincoln, “and each one needs its own comms room Schneider Electric and RMD UK power efficiency gains for University of Lincoln ICT Services Darren Coy Mark Yeeles