The BNP Paribas Fortis financial data center, located in Haren in the North of Brussels, is a strategic facility characterized as “Tier 3” according to TIA-942. Schneider Electric was considered a key partner in service delivery and the implementation of the legacy data center, which dates back to the early 1970s – an era when data centers were cooled with ice water to function properly.
Cooling a legacy data center
While the initial renovation of the data center began in 2008, the project has remained a challenge as the requirements were in constant flux and the project needed to be done without interrupting production. Since then, the data center performance has improved by 20% through the use of cost-effective solutions such as free-cooling, servo-control of the external temperature, and reduced throughput ventilation, but BNP still needed assistance ensuring long-term solutions for the cooling of the servers and redundant refrigeration.
Efficiency and optimization
Beyond getting the renovated data center up to date, BNP needed a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and the implementation of programmable logic controllers to ensure the level of redundancy would have a strong influence on the center’s efficiency and optimization, in order to reduce costs without affecting the availability level.
A comprehensive vision
Schneider Electric stepped in to develop the regulation and supervision of these cooling units. The programmable controllers installed at the site were equipped with Schneider Electric Modicon STP modules for remote inputs, and touch screens were arranged on both sides to provide local supervision.
A SCADA installed at the service level provided the facility managers with an overall vision of the facilities and an easy parameterization of the control loops. To improve the overall efficiency of the data center, the control loops, as well as the temperature instructions, were carefully developed by Schneider Electric’s cooling experts including Patrick Hesters, a recognized automation engineer. The energy saved from the data center efficiency project now supplies hot water and heating to the facility.
The right tools and service
Schneider Electric’s supervision software, Citect SCADA, for its part, performs control and acquisition of data from the data center as well as computer rooms and all of the data points can be exported into an excel document with all of the HVAC information and statistics for further analysis. This complex solution also manages data from other technical equipment on site such as pumps and generators, and it generates alarms if needed. Its distributed architecture associates with Schneider Electric ConneXium Ethernet and EGX gateways to allow for the gathering of information. EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert, a complete supervisory package for power management applications, ensures management of electrical data at the site. This information is then analyzed at the higher level enabling better decision-making and control.
For a datacenter client in the financial services industry such as BNP Paribas Fortis, the availability of energy is critical to achieving system uptime. They require 24 hours a day, seven days a week support of an operations specialist. With Schneider Electric, on-site intervention is guaranteed within 12 hours, 7 days a week.
Two new modern data centers have been built in the towns of Bastogne and Vaux sur-sure, in the south of Belgium, to support the ongoing digital transformation at BNP Paribas. The new data centers were built using almost exclusively Schneider Electric UPS, low voltage power equipment, network connectivity and more. The Haren data center will be decommissioned in the next year. Until the last day of operation, the engineers and technicians of BNP Paribas Fortis and Schneider Electric’s support will manage and maintain the Haren datacenter.
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