Women in ICT Awards
FirstMac builds five-nines data centre with Emerson Network Power
- 20 August, 2007 12:17
<p>Leading wholesale residential mortgage provider, FirstMac, has built a new data centre for its financial transaction servers using infrastructure solutions from Emerson Network Power Australia.
The privately owned group, one of Australia's largest non-institutional lenders of home mortgages, decided to build a new data centre for 40 blade servers to overcome the power and cooling limitations of its existing computer room.
"Without sufficient clean power and cooling for our blade server racks we wouldn't be able to maintain a five-nines data centre," says Adrian Davis, Infrastructure and Support Manager, FirstMac. "That was a limitation of our old computer room and one of the biggest business drivers for building a new data centre."
FirstMac currently funds more than 30,000 home loans and maintains its own online transaction and information systems for customers, many of who expect round-the-clock access to their accounts and services.</p>
"If even one of our customers experiences an access problem to our network, that's not good enough," says Davis. "This was the mantra behind the new data centre, and the reason why we brought in the specialists from Emerson who are experienced in building just this sort of environment for companies like ours. Considering a single blade server puts out five times the heat of a regular server, the importance of power and cooling can't be overstated; it's absolutely critical."
Emerson's solution for FirstMac, implemented by Emerson distributor Power Quality Consultants, included two Liebert NXa uninterruptible power systems (UPS) rated at 40kVA, installed in a dual-bus redundant configuration, and two Liebert PeX computer room air conditioners for precision climate control.
"Business-critical continuity depends on many factors; quality of product is one, but so is configuration and data centre design," says Mark Deguara, National Product Manager, Emerson Network Power Australia.</p>
<p><br/> <br/> "At FirstMac the UPSs are installed in such a way that if one was to fail - or more commonly be taken offline for routine maintenance - the other would still provide full protection and clean power for the server farm. Likewise the precision coolers work on a weekly duty cycle, meaning one unit provides all the necessary cooling for the room for one week, then switches over to the backup unit, which then becomes the primary unit for that week.</p>
<p><br/> <br/> "This arrangement means FirstMac is fully protected from any outages to its infrastructure, which is fundamental when you consider that the infrastructure is largely responsible for maintaining server uptime."</p>
<p><br/> <br/> Davis says Emerson and PQC's involvement went beyond specifying the infrastructure components to helping with the design of the data centre itself.</p>
<p><br/> <br/> "The post sales support and presence of the implementation teams was excellent, and extended right through the design phase of the project to actual implementation," he says. "This included a best-practice data centre design to Emerson's specifications, and technical assistance with factors such as raised access to servers and rack layout. This added real value to the project as a whole, and we have zero downtime to show for it."</p>
<p><br/> <br/> About Emerson Network Power
Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR), provides a full spectrum of reliable power solutions, including inbound power, connectivity, power supplies, power protection systems and precision cooling, backed by the largest global services organisation in the power industry. Emerson Network Power serves the needs of telecommunications networks, data centres, health care and industrial facilities worldwide. For information, visit www.emersonnetwork.com.au.
St. Louis-based Emerson is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers in process control; electronics and telecommunications; industrial automation; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; and appliance and tools. Sales in fiscal 2006 were US$20.1 billion.</p>