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Case Studies

Replacing existing disparate computer rooms for Research Councils UK

Future-tech were awarded the contract with Research Councils UK to plan and deliver a total refurbishment and extension to their existing data centre in Swindon, the largest of its five data centres.

THE BRIEF

RCUK is a strategic partnership through which the UK’s eight Research Councils work together to champion the research, training and innovation they support. The Research Councils are the main public investors in fundamental research in the UK, with interests ranging from bio-medicine and particle physics to the environment, engineering and economic research. RCUK works alongside the Office of Science & Innovation (OSI) to support academic researchers in the UK and to ensure the best investment of public money in research.

 

CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS

When RCUK began a rationalisation process, one of its main planned outcomes was to consolidate its existing five computer rooms into one main data centre at its Swindon offices. Future-tech won a six-way open tender process for the £600,000 contract. At the core of Future-tech’s challenge was the fact that this was a multi-phased project which involved working around an existing, live data centre environment.

 

THE FUTURE-TECH SOLUTION

As part of the solution, Future-tech made use of free-cooling technology to reduce RCUK’s carbon output and to lower the cost of maintaining its computer room facilities – traditionally made more expensive by the use of power intensive air-conditioning. This project proved to be very complex which involved major construction work being conducted around an existing computer facility. Future-tech took an ambitious approach to the brief, but one that has resulted in large cost savings. The harnessing of free-cooling technology to account for some of the data centre’s cooling requirements was to fulfil RCUK’s sustainability agenda. By utilising the cool outside air during the winter months to regulate the temperature of the data centre they are able to lower their carbon emissions and reduce the amount that would have been spent on traditional cooling methods. Over the life of the new data centre this will inevitably equate to a significant overall cost saving.

The project was completed by Future-tech on time and within budget, providing RCUK with a sustainable and cost effective facility.


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David Stutchfield, Energy Officer, University of St Andrew’s

“With Future-tech’s careful attention to all the individual details we’ve ended up with a very energy efficient data centre“