Ferry Grooten, Process Operations ICT Manager at Westland Infra, first explains what his company is doing: “We manage the energy networks that growers – and consumers – use in the Westland. We also meter electricity, gas, CO 2 and heat consumption. This provides a wealth of information, which we then make available as a broker to other companies such as energy suppliers. These days we help our customers make the transition to sustainable energy. We have a great deal of knowledge of the horticultural sector, an important leg of the Dutch economy. ”
Fiber optic network
As a regional network operator, Westland Infra ensures efficient energy infrastructures with a high degree of safety and availability. With the related products and services we offer professional solutions. We also support developments in the field of sustainable use of energy and energy transition. And we are not only the network manager of the energy networks, but also of our own fiber optic network that takes care of the data transport.
“Our goal is to let the infrastructure run completely autonomously,” says Grooten, “so that the IT department does not have to worry about it. Then we can use our people to contribute to the objective of our company. ”
The company has two server rooms, about ten kilometers apart. “On a logical level, it is one server room; a stretched data center. When the existing server room had to give way, we considered bringing the automation completely to the cloud, but that would take too long. After all, we have to expand our fiber optic network to the cloud provider. And it would mean a divestment in our own fiber optic network. Now that the system is being relocated elsewhere, it would be far too expensive. ”
Grooten used a search engine to find parties who are able to set up a server room. That is how he ended up at Lasent, among others. “They immediately understood what our intention was. That talks so nicely. ”
The speed with which a solution could be realized also appealed to Grooten enormously. He then takes the visit to the room that is now used as a computer room. “We had stored the Christmas stuff here and over a month ago,” he smiles. Now there are five 19-inch cabinets, fraternally connected in one closed housing. It is the closed loop system from Rittal.
No computer floor is required. The housing can simply be placed on the floor. That saves time and money. It is an autonomous operating system. Cable ducts for supply and removal. The rest is arranged internally. Two air conditioners are installed vertically between server racks, which extracts the warm air from behind the servers, cools it back and returns it to the front of the servers. Vertical brushes on the edges of the racks ensure that hot and cold air do not mix. The system itself provides the required electricity distribution and backup. And of course a Datacenter Infrastructure Management system on board as standard, so that it is easy to read how the system is doing.
Fire protection has also been considered. At the top of the system is a system that detects a fire in time and can possibly fight the fire with an extinguishing gas.
Because Lasent has arranged the server room in an existing room, pipes were already running under the ceiling. Also above the place where the closed loop system is built. Waste water flows through one of those pipes.
Computers and water do not mix. Even though we are talking about a closed loop system, this was not a desirable situation. “Lasent did not want to take any risks and has built a sloping roof above the” system house “of Rittal. It shows again that they take their work very seriously, “says Grooten.
As far as he is concerned, the IT department no longer has to worry if the racks are filled properly. “We prefer to think with the business about how we can expand our services than we have to deal with storage allocation, load balancing, performance, and so on. We are moving towards a hyperconverged infrastructure, spread over two locations. For the time being we can move forward with this solution ”, Grooten concludes.