One of the UK’s leading suppliers of domain registration services, dedicated servers and colocation has launched its second state-of-the-art data centre.
Redstation opened the £2 million data centre in Portsmouth late in summer 2010. From the outset, the company was keen to make the site as energy efficient as possible without compromising resilience. Established in 1998, Redstation hosts thousands of websites and dedicated servers for clients in more than 50 countries around the world. From local and regional businesses to international corporations, Redstation provides fast and reliable hosting solutions to suit all budgets.
Riello UPS and Redstation
Redstation built its first £2 million custom built data centre in 2007 with provision for 60 server racks. Due to the success of the business, the original data centre soon filled to capacity and the directors at Redstation decided to invest in a further bespoke data centre in December 2009. In order to deliver the highest levels of service and availability for clients, Redstation invested in a complete backup and power continuity system from one of Europe’s leading UPS manufacturer, Riello UPS.
Phase two requirements in detail
When Redstation decided to design and build an additional data centre, it purchased a vacant unit next door to its existing data centre that was fitted out in just nine months. Redstation planned the space carefully and calculated that the second data centre could house a further 104 racks, therefore cooling and protecting this amount of equipment was a main concern in the brief to suppliers involved. Redstation’s operations team was looking to make significant energy savings the second time around and also utilise space wisely. Riello UPS was invited along to inspect the site and devise power protection solutions that would work to provide maximum resilience and long term energy savings.
Inside the data centre
Redstation’s design and layout is ‘ultra modern.’ To access the data centre, visitors and staff go through an anti tailgate security portal. You then enter the data room which contains the latest technology required to maintain a highly secure environment for information.
Redstation has installed a cutting edge, highly sensitive VESDA fire detection system that detects particles from materials and any fumes that might pose a threat and uses FM200 to extinguish fire. The facility has an under floor ambient air conditioning system which uses fresh air to cool the servers rather than using traditional compressors. This is pumped under the floors through pipes in a one metre deep space. The data centre also incorporates Denco Ambicool air conditioning equipment in conjunction with Cannon TechnologiesCold Aisle Containment, which radically reduces air conditioning costs and helps to further improve data centre infrastructure efficiency (DCiE).
The 104 server racks in the new data centre are protected by four 160kVA Riello Master Plus UPS. These are the latest in energy efficient UPS and work in fully parallel-redundant configuration. A single mains feed enters the building from a dedicated substation to feed the UPS units. They then clean and convert raw mains energy (ac) into the conditioned supply that the data centre requires. ‘Conditioned’ means that the UPS create a buffer between protected loads and harmful power outages such as sags, surges, brownouts and harmonics. All the UPS share the load equally, but if one fails through a fault condition or is taken out of service for maintenance, the other automatically takes over the load in a completely break-free supply.
Riello’s Master Plus is designed specifically for data centre use and is one of the most robust UPS on the market. It uses on-line technology (VFI) with an isolation transformer on the inverter output. Master Plus has low total harmonic distortion (THDi) values, which means equipment upstream and downstream is shielded from harmonic pollution (a common cause of problems in electric circuitry) and results in greater efficiency.
There is 0.75 megawatt of energy entering Redstation’s newest data centre. In the case of any power outages, the UPS takes over until the generators can kick in and take up the load. Redstation operates an n+1 policy to ensure system availability in the event of component failure.
Operations manager Kevin McCardle comments on forecasting for energy usage: “We planned the space, power and cooling requirements very carefully. Part of the job was to contact the energy company to request more power and NPower agreed to provide us with this. The 0.75 megawatt will be sufficient to meet the power requirements through the life of the servers. The UPS operate at 95-96% efficiency with load attached of around 20-25%. We will only need four UPS’s working when full loads occur.”
The Riello team advised Redstation that a generator would be required to power its equipment should a long term outage occur. Riello installed a 800kVA generator housed in its own compound, which can last for four weeks (based on current capacity) or 72 hours at full capacity as it holds 8000 litres of diesel.
One of the issues with the new premises was lack of space available for a generator. Luckily, this was an area that Riello’s sales manager Leo Craig was only too happy to advise about. Leo thoroughly investigated the site and realised that there was enough space behind the premises to erect a generator compound with all its equipment and fencing, but that this would take it up to Redstation’s land boundaries. He says: “We used the space very sensibly and the back of the compound is grilled and shuttered to allow access for the engineers and equipment in and out of the compound.”
The generator compound also houses thirty flat bed dry coolers and five twin pumpsets which provide cooling for the indoor units. Each indoor unit takes hot air from the data centre and exchanges heat with a network of pipes. For redundancy, each indoor unit has a twin pumpset which pumps the heated water from the indoor unit outside for cooling. Outside, each indoor unit has six flatbed dry coolers and behind each one there is a fan blowing cold air over the heated water to cool it before it is recirculated. Outside air temperatures may reach 31oC before internal compressors in each indoor unit are required to cool the water sufficiently.
Energy front of mind
Like all data centre managers, Martin Groom, Redstation’s managing director is looking for major cost savings. He says: “The main focus of data centre two was to improve on our energy efficiency and at the same time future proof our business. As big users of power, we’re very proud with our achievement as we considered the environment right the way through the build. We always buy locally and we sourced our data racks from a company based in the New Forrest. We’ve subscribed to NPower’s green energy programme which means that for every kWh of energy we use, NPower ensure that they match that and supply the National Grid with a kWh of renewable energy thus offsetting our carbon footprint. This is great news for us and our customers.
“The addition of Riello’s energy efficient UPS means that proportionally, each server runs on much less energy. Coupled with the advances in our cooling mechanisms, it’s a winning formula.”
Leo Craig, Riello UPS’ sales manager who was key advisor on Redstation’s two data centres says: “Redstation have fully embraced green issues, taken on current best practices and seriously looked at their PUE effectiveness and usage through the implementation of cold aisle closure and ambient cooling measures on their data racks. Improved cooling methods along with the modular Riello UPS has reduced the size of their redundant components.”
Riello UPS on board
The relationship between Riello UPS and Redstation goes back more than seven years. Operations manager Kevin McCardle developed a relationship with Riello UPS whilst working for a local competitor. Says Kevin: “I’ve always enjoyed dealing with Riello UPS and have found them to be reliable, professional and very competitively priced. We worked with them on data centre one and when we contacted them about the new facility, they came to see the site several times and we sat down together and discussed all the requirements and any potential issues and of course possible solutions and any associated costs. “We did ask other contractors to quote for the work, but once again, Riello UPS came out on top. Along with a very competitive quote, we felt very happy with the level of after sales care that we would receive. We brought Riello UPS in to work alongside our preferred cooling contractor Denco.
“Riello are always very friendly and helpful. We can pick up the phone anytime to sound them out about a Business Class Continuity particular issue and we’re not pushed into committing to buying anything. But when the moment comes for us to make any buying decision, this customer service really benefits Riello as we remember back to when they helped and advised us free of charge. Not only is the after sales service second-to-none but the equipment is highly reliable and leaves a small footprint which is paramount.”
The future is very bright for Redstation. Increasing personnel to provide a 24/7 service at its head quarters, and investigating sites in different regions due to demand for its services are just the tip of the iceberg for this forward thinking team. The second data centre meant that every aspect of the company has had to scale up to meet demands and continue to grow the business. Managing Director Martin Groom says: “We’ve no real competition locally but nationally and internationally of course there are some major players in the data centre world. We’ve got a winning combination of the best location and facilities and a simple business model. Bearing in mind the efficiencies the new UPS kit brings in and add to the equation the virtualisation knock on effect, if you are virtualising and running green servers (per square foot you can run many servers).
“Redstation is constantly improving its range of web hosting products, and continual investment in technology enables the company to provide a robust, high quality service to its clients. We are delighted with the new data centre and all the products and technology contained within it and we are confident that this investment will save energy and money in the long term.”
Riello UPS sales manager Leo Craig says of the project as a whole: “This was a fantastic exercise for Redstation in future proofing. Redstation is a big user of power and in five years time the government will look at ways of further improving carbon footprints. All eyes will be on large data centres and other major power consumers to cut down on energy usage and save money. Redstation will be in a good position as it will be running as efficiently as possible. Redstation is a company that is always looking to improve its technology and is totally aware of how quickly it progresses. We at Riello are looking forward to working with them in the future and we have confidence that they will be successful as they have resilience and efficiency front of mind.”
electrical industry uninterruptible power supply and data centre news,electrical digest,electricaldigest.co.uk.