Addressing physical infrastructure in new computing trends

In technology, a change in one area often requires an upgrade in another.

August 12, 2013

In technology, a change in one area often requires an upgrade in another. Similarly, says Schneider Electric, a specialist in energy management, computing trends have a ripple effect on customers’ IT infrastructure and, as such, new trends like virtualisation/ cloud computing and unified communications impact how IT professionals need to power and cool their data centres.

“With CapEx rands becoming an endangered species, more businesses are moving toward virtualisation and cloud computing to increase capacity, implement a failover site, or improve their disaster recovery strategy,” says Eben Owen, Enterprise and Solutions manager for South Africa at Schneider Electric.

He explains that although consolidation frees up space and reduces overall server room and data centre costs, the increased density and heat created requires scalable, modular, and energy efficient power and cooling solutions to ensure that critical systems continue to operate. Similarly, customers who have embraced the cloud model need to change the way they address power and cooling in the new high density, dynamic load environment.

“So it makes sense to move cautiously and include physical infrastructure management as part of the solution. Schneider Electric has made it easy for the customer by becoming a one stop infrastructure solution provider,” says Owen. Besides power and cooling, infrastructure components include racks, monitoring software, containment systems and managed services, such as energy audits, data centre assessments, as well as managed services or outsourced IT.

“Without a doubt, unified communications opens up new opportunities too. Unified communications are on the increase as businesses improve processes and enhance communications by reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies. But it’s an evolving set of technologies,” he explains.

To help manage the infrastructure behind unified communications Schneider Electric and Cisco have jointly developed the following three solutions:

1. A plug-in to Cisco’s Unified Computing Services (UCS) Manager, from Schneider Electric StruxureWare for Data Centres, improves energy efficiency and design of data centres. “StruxureWare helps customers decide where to place servers and other equipment by offering customers a complete picture of their power and cooling capacity and physical space. The plug-in feeds all the data to the UCS Manager, enabling it to help companies manage their data centres more intelligently, by automatically capping power for a specific zone to ensure optimal cooling and overall data centre utilisation of the physical infrastructure.”

2. Integrating Schneider Electric PowerChute Network Shutdown with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) makes power outages less likely to cause harm. PowerChute allows for a correct shutdown of Cisco UCM, preventing data corruption and enables a faster reboot of unified communications systems when power is restored.

3. Marrying Schneider Electric’s Convergent Building Infrastructure Solution (CBIS) with Cisco’s EnergyWise architecture enables companies to be more efficient about where they place equipment, racks, and structured cabling ducts. “By placing switches closer to IT devices, companies could save more than 20 percent of initial data centre capital costs and another 30 percent on future moves, additions, and changes, because they won’t require wholesale changes to the cabling infrastructure,” says Owen.

“When it comes to maximising virtualisation and cloud benefits, it really boils down to creating harmony in your IT space,” he adds.