Colt Data Centre Services is an award-winning company offering flexible and affordable IT infrastructure solutions to a wide range of clients. Colt operates 29 data centres around Europe and Asia, covering 56,000sqm with 24/7 protection and support. Colt delivers integrated network, data centre, voice and IT services.

Security and reliability of service are central to Colt’s business. Customers include 18 of the top 25 bank and diversified financial groups and 19 of the top 25 companies in the global media and telecoms industries.

For data centres as buildings, the major consideration is ensuring reliability and availability – resilience is the watchword. The management and monitoring of data centres is therefore extremely important. The building management system (BMS) must not only check on current performance of building services, but also give the data centre management team a view on future breakdowns as well as issues such as energy efficiency.

Intelligent Building Automation (IBAL) has worked with Colt Data Centre Services for a number of years. IBAL has used the Niagara Framework to devise an integrated approach to monitoring and managing the performance of its buildings all over the world. This integrated approach has also allowed for use of building services equipment from multiple suppliers on each site.

The benefits of an integrated approach are that it is far more cost-effective from the customer’s point of view. Connecting systems via a network is around 80% cheaper than using volt free contacts (VFCs). Furthermore, less hardware is required as the connected equipment houses the intelligence.

In addition to the cost saving, the integrated approach also gives more usable data about the building performance – this means better alarm and device management as well as better diagnostics.

Colt has numerous different building management systems (BMS) installed in its sites across Europe. These include Trend, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Johnson Controls and others. The multiple network types include BACnet, Modbus, KNX. LonWorks and others.

Using a single graphical interface package enables local countries to install any BMS or network type, but keeps all the graphics and alarming to a single, recognisable standard.

The type of equipment that has been integrated includes room cooling units, chillers and generators. All of these are monitored for performance, which includes a view on full loading and efficiency of each unit – which helps to avoid future unexpected breakdowns. Chiller controls can also be adapted to increase performance and efficiency, for example by making use of free cooling.

Generators are monitored for alarm conditions, fuel capacity and run-hours to conform with legislation. When a generator is running, the electrical and engine data are also monitored.

One of the key systems that IBAL has integrated is alarm monitoring. Colt has an independent alarm monitoring systems as well as local on-site alarm monitoring. High priority alarms are sent by SMS to engineers on a 24/7 basis.

All alarms from Europe are sent to the Remote Independent Monitoring (RIM) team via two Niagara servers. The two servers provide full resilience. The RIM can also access all the local graphics to see what caused the alarms and provide more detailed monitoring.

Providing accurate reports to Colt is very important. IBAL has used Tridium's Niagara AX system to take data from all the systems to provide detailed reports on energy use and outages. Combined with the site’s maintenance system, this provides the client with all the data required. The client can also log onto the system to see specific screens associated with their equipment.

Overall, the work that IBAL has carried out for Colt Data Centre Services shows the power of an integrated approach to provide robust and resilient services along with powerful information on the performance of sites around the world.

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