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Loughborough University advances sports research through data centre modernisation

Written by Wed 21 Jun 2023

Loughborough University, ranked number one in the world for sports-related subjects, has successfully completed an ambitious data centre modernisation project in collaboration with IT infrastructure specialists Schneider Electric and on365.

The University, serving an attending body of 19,500 students across its 523-acre campus, relies heavily on its IT operations. High-performance computing (HPC) servers support analytical research projects, and a highly virtualised data centre environment provisions critical applications including finance, administration, and security.

The data centre challenges that needed to be addressed included a complete redesign, modernisation of legacy cooling systems, improved cooling efficiencies, and increased visibility of its distributed IT assets.

“At the foundational level of everything which is data-driven at the University, the Haslegrave and Holywell Park data centres are the power behind a host of advancements in sports science, and our transition towards a more sustainable operation. Working with Schneider Electric and on365 has enabled our data centre to become more efficient, effective and resilient,” said Mark Newall, IT Specialist at the University of Loughborough.

The project was delivered in two phases. The first saw on365 modernise the Haslegrave facility, replacing an outdated raised floor and deploying Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Row Data Centre solution, which created new space for future IT expansions and extended a ‘no single points of failure’ design throughout the facility.

The upgrade also brought other parts of the infrastructure under the IT department’s control, using new InRow DX (direct expansion) units to improve cooling reliability and provide greater resilience against unplanned weather events like heatwaves, which had previously disrupted its IT and cooling operations.

“Having a well-structured preventative maintenance program is vital to ensure that the data centre and IT systems are optimised and operationally efficient,” said Carl Richardson, Technology Support Manager at on365.

Thees solutions were replicated at the Holywell Park data centre. Further resilience and efficiency improvements were achieved by replacing legacy UPS with Schneider Electric’s Galaxy VS UPS, including lithium-ion batteries, offering up to 99% energy efficiency without compromising availability.

The university also upgraded its infrastructure management software. As an early adopter of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Data Center Expert software, Loughborough University now has enhanced visibility and access to data-driven insights, helping to identify and mitigate potential faults before they become critical.

Loughborough has a prestigious reputation and prides itself on its students’ experience. As a passionate advocate for sports and academia, I’m proud to see this complex project delivered successfully with our partners at on365. ” said Mark Yeeles, VP for Schneider Electric’s Secure Power Division in the UK and Ireland.

By modernising its infrastructure with resilient and energy-efficient technologies and leveraging the power of data analytics and predictive maintenance, Loughborough University has set a strong foundation for its future IT sustainability strategy. This strategic modernisation project has effectively future-proofed its campus to support new breakthroughs in sporting research.

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Written by Wed 21 Jun 2023

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