Data centre innovation
with Schneider Electric

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Developing secure data centre monitoring software with this global Fortune 500 powerhouse.

Client

Schneider Electric

Sector

Data Centre Management

Timeframe

3 Years

Technology Themes

Building Management Systems (BMS) Data Centre Infrastructure Environmental Monitoring Hardware Appliance Integration

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is a Fortune 500 leader in energy management, automation and sustainability. This global business creates products that power energy distribution, management and efficiency from the power station to the power plug. Its StruxureWare Data Centre Expert (DCE) software platform manages hundreds of millions of dollars of data centre equipment worldwide.

Background

Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare DCE data centre technology manages the suite of devices that run in a modern data centre. This platform operates at reliabilities up to 99.999% given its role in orchestrating critical infrastructure.

Schneider Electric’s IT Business has engaged Agile Digital several times for our capability to develop highly secure and reliable enterprise-grade software platforms. We were initially engaged to develop specialised software integration appliances to help buildings and data centres get the most from the StruxureWare DCE (Data Centre Expert) platform.

Mission

Schneider Electric needed a software solution to securely integrate their DCE platform within particular  smart building environments. Drivers were to achieve effective monitoring and reporting on energy efficiency, systems uptime and reliability.

Given the mission critical nature of a data centre there was no margin for error. Agile Digital were entrusted to develop software solutions that would tightly integrate data centre management systems into the broader “smart building”.

Given the mission-critical environment the Agile Digital team were tasked with developing solutions with a particularly high-level of information security compliance. This was paired with the need for real-time bulk data transformation which necessitated a sophisticated and highly efficient data integration appliance.

Approach

Our first project was to interconnect the StruxureWare data centre platform with a modern Building Management System (BMS). A BMS platform manages building devices in real-time, from lighting to mechanical structures to temperature control, ventilation and fire control. There were a range of complex challenge to overcome including low-level data integration with the BACNet protocol.

Agile Digital developed a specialised software appliance to securely communicate between the StruxureWare platform and the Building Management System. Then the team developed the communication with the StruxureWare platform via services protocol and communication with the BMS via a specialist protocol.

The technical support team were able to manage the data centre deployment through a staged approach that supported real-time data transfer without any interruption to data centre service.

Outcome

Agile Digital’s development team worked closely with Schneider Electric stakeholders to deliver:

  • Connectedness & Security: the Multi-Protocol Connector (MPC) software appliance was created to continuously monitor the plethora of devices in highly-secure data centre buildings without risk of a data breach.
  • Visibility & Control: the StruxureWare Insights Portal (SIP) monitoring dashboard was created to provide real-time visibility and trend reporting across data centre health, environmental metrics, and building maintenance issues.
  • Manageability: each software solution was designed and deployed as a dedicated hardware appliance for low burden data centre deployment.

These solutions were initially deployed within a secure government agency and major Australian retail bank. Ongoing support from Agile Digital extended these solutions while ensuring operation was seamless, and facilities staff had the tools and training to get the most from the platform.

“It’s all about the people. Agile’s people are so incredibly proactive and professional and they guide you every step of the way. They did it all on time and for the agreed amount, even though there were some unexpected issues, and more work than expected. This was all a great relief as we were working with a very high-profile customer and project and there were a lot of constraints and risks. We would do it all again. In fact, we almost certainly will.”

David Sweikert, Senior Software Consultant, Schneider Electric