BSkyB turns to DCIM to reduce carbon footprint and maximise service uptime

BSkyB replaces its legacy datacentre management software with Schneider Electric’s DCIM suite to save time and energy

British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB) replaced its legacy datacentre management software used across the company’s datacentre estate with Schneider Electric’s datacentre infrastructure management platform.

Datacentre infrastructure management (DCIM) brings together what used to be stand-alone functions, such as datacentre design, asset discovery and management, capacity planning and energy management. DCIM integrates facilities management (FM) and information technology (IT) functions to help datacentre managers get a better view of the infrastructure’s energy consumption and efficiency.

The integrated tool from Schneider Electric will allow BSkyB to improve energy efficiency across its infrastructure, which includes over 1,000 IT equipment racks in six resilient datacentres in the UK. The datacentre infrastructure supports SkyGo, NowTV and the broadcaster’s customer management platforms, among others.

“Datacentres are at the core of IT and are responsible for consuming enormous amount of power,” said Riccardo Degli Effetti, head of Data Centre Operations at BSkyB. “With our ongoing commitment to reduce our carbon footprint in mind, we felt the need for a tool that would allow us to holistically monitor the performance of our datacentre estate and help us optimise our consumption while maximising service uptime.

“We know that DCIM is a journey and we wanted a long-term trustworthy partner to accompany us throughout. We believe with Keysource and Schneider we have achieved that.”

Future-proofing BSkyB's IT

The re-engineering and upgrade of tools and systems will see time savings of up to 30-50%, compared with the legacy systems and the processes they replace – for example around ticket management and the deployment of new IT hardware and platforms, said Degli Effetti.

The DCIM strategy, delivered by datacentre specialist Keysource, follows BSkyB's extensive datacentre consolidation project aimed at making its infrastructure cloud-ready and future-proof.

The British broadcaster today runs six resilient, interconnected, energy-efficient and cloud-ready datacentres in the UK. Each facility has a power usage efficiency (PUE) rating of between 1.38 and 1.45; the industry average is around 2.0.

Yet just a couple of years ago, the company was nowhere near possessing a future-proof foundation for all its IT, Degli Effetti told Computer Weekly at the Datacentres Europe 2014 conference earlier this year.

“Between 1990 and 2005, we had no datacentre strategy and no IT approach,” Effetti said at that time. “We were putting a server pretty much anywhere we could get them to work. But it clearly didn’t work for us.”

Integrating management applications

The DCIM implementation strategy includes Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare Data Center Operation tool, as well as capacity and IT optimisation applications from the StruxureWare DCIM suite.

The partnership brings together a full DCIM suite and a specialist datacentre partner with experience in integrating management software, said Keysource. This includes DCIM and building management system (BMS), as well as other datacentre and infrastructure applications.

“As a leading provider of media content and satellite broadcast services, BSkyB has a complex and well established set of existing systems,” said Rob Elder, director of Keysource. “Our close relationship with both BSkyB and Schneider Electric ensured all the technical, functional and service delivery standards demanded were met in time.”

The project required the Schneider Electric DCIM system to import the legacy asset database without data loss. BSkyB had to integrate StruxureWare and other management applications so that the company’s equipment racks could be managed from a single dashboard. Gartner’s DCIM Magic Quadrant recently highlighted Schneider Electric as a leader for its StruxureWare toolsets.

Soeren Brogaard Jensen, Schneider’s vice-president of enterprise management and software said: “StruxureWare for Data Centers is open system software, designed with open APIs to offer full management capability with applications based on open system standards.”

“BSkyB’s use of DCIM reinforces our belief that centralising information in an integrated system, which links the IT and physical datacentre infrastructure, is the best way to scale and manage a modern distributed or hybrid datacentre estate,” Elder said.

Keysource will continue to support BSkyB in rolling out the software and improving efficiency and performance in what are already some of the most efficient and advanced datacentres in Europe.

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