Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Transportable Data Centre for Broadcaster and Bulldozer Company

Broadcaster Seven Network Limited has proposed merging with the WesTrac machinery company to form Seven Group Holdings Limited. A TV broadcaster might not seem to have much in common with a company which sells and repairs Caterpillar brand bulldozers, but late last year IBM have announced it was building a "Portable Modular Data Center"for WesTrac. This is in two modified shipping containers, with its own generators and could be very useful for a broadcaster.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

IBM Portable Modular Data Center for WA

IBM have announced in "WesTrac Selects IBM's Portable Modular Data Center" that West Australian bulldozer company WesTrac is buying an IBM Portable Modular Data Center (PMDC). This will be made up of two modified shipping containers, with IBM "Rear Door Heat Exchanger", uninterruptible power supply (UPS), batteries, chiller unit and a 400kVA generator.

The IBM Rear Door Heat Exchangers replace the usual perforated metal doors of a standard equipment rack with a water colled unit. The hot air for the back of the equipment is cooled as it leaves the rack. This contrasts with the approach of APC and other vendors, who cool the hot air behind the rack. The IBM approach would increase the complexity of the installation, with pluming full of cold water on a moving door of each equipment rack.

The data centre is claimed to be "portable", but IBM talks of also a concrete slab on which the containers, generator and chiller will be installed. It is not clear how the system could be easily portable if it needs a concrete slab to be laid. A system using screw piles with twistlocks, which attach to the standard ISO container connectors, would seem to make more sense.

One point not made clear is why WesTrack would need such a large portable data centre. All of the data processing for a modern medium sized company would fit in a couple of equipment racks about the size of a filing cabinet. If the equipment is intended to support customers online, then there is no need for the equipment to be portable, or to be located in a remote area, as it could be as easily located anywhere in the world with Internet access. It is difficult to see the need for this much data centre capacity in an isloated location not connected to the Internet.

SYDNEY, Australia - 17 Dec 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that WesTrac Pty Ltd, an industrial machinery supplier headquartered in Perth, has selected IBM to design and implement a Portable Modular Data Center (PMDC) solution to provide the company with a flexible, cost-effective data centre to meet its immediate business needs as well as support future IT growth.

Faced with the need for additional data centre capacity fuelled by a major IT project and unable to secure more space in its own data centre or through traditional co-location with data centre operators in Perth, WesTrac turned to IBM. With tight project deadlines, WesTrac selected IBM's PMDC as the right solution offering a compact, fully functional, high-density and highly protected data centre, housed within two 6.1 metre customised shipping containers. The IBM solution, due for completion in February, will allow WesTrac to avoid the cost associated and time and space required with building a new facility.


"After assessing solutions from other vendors, WesTrac is pleased to select IBM to implement a scalable, flexible and portable data centre facility," said Mark Curtis, Communications Infrastructure Manager, WesTrac.

"This agreement provides us with a complete solution and, most importantly, enables all IT equipment to be easily serviced and maintained from within a closed, physically secure and environmentally tight container. All managed and delivered by IBM, WesTrac will benefit from temporary hosting during transitioning stages, project financing, and ultimately, permanent IT accommodation."

"IBM is delighted to work with WesTrac to design and deliver a PMDC solution to provide them with a quickly delivered, cost-effective and flexible data centre alternative," said David Yip, Site and Facilities Services Business Executive, IBM Australia. "The PMDC offering, part of the IBM Data Center Family of modular solutions, is designed as a flexible option for companies requiring remote or temporary data centre capacity to support their business growth."

WesTrac's PMDC solution will consist of two containers, one purpose built for IT equipment, using IBM Rear Door Heat Exchanger cooling doors for the most efficient cooling solution and overhead cooling and the other for services infrastructure including uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and batteries, chiller unit, cooling fan coils and electrical and mechanical distribution gear and a configured 400kVA engine generator.

Further, IBM will also purpose-build a concrete slab on which the PMDC containers, generator and second chiller unit will be installed. An early warning fire detection system, fire suppression system, fingerprint access system and video surveillance provide the required security for the solution.

The agreement was signed in December 2009.

About WesTrac

WesTrac is one of the largest Caterpillar dealerships in the world, servicing the territories of Western Australia, New South Wales, The Australian Capital Territory and Northern China. Established in 1989, WesTrac® is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Australian Capital Equity, which is owned by Kerry Stokes. WesTrac offers total support for customers at every stage of their Equipment Management Cycle. The comprehensive solution offers a wide choice of equipment options, parts, servicing and maintenance support, that is amongst the best in the industry. ...

From: "WesTrac Selects IBM's Portable Modular Data Center" , Media Release, IBM, 17 Dec 2009

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Infrastructure for our Boradband Future

Greetings from the "Realising Our Broadband Future" forum Sydney. Brad Weam, CIO Iron Ore, BHP Billiton is talking about the network used for running iron ore mining in Western Australia to Port Headland. This shows how broadband is literally part of Australian infrastructure. Without the telecommunications, Australia's mining industry would stop. It happens that some years ago I was part of a HQ Australian Defence Force party which visited northern Australia, including Port Headland, looking at how to protect it. While my military colleagues discussed how y satchel charges a terrorist would need to blow up an LNG refinery, I looked at the telecommunications. It would have only needed cutting a few cables to disrupt Australia's major industry. Since then a level of redundancy has been introduced, making a disruption to the system much harder.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Accident Report Finds Problems with Airbus Software

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released an interim report into the accident involving a Qantas Airbus A330-303 off Learmonth Western Australia on 7 October 2008 ("In-flight upset, VH-QPA, Airbus A330-303, 154 km west of Learmonth, Western Australia", AO-2008-070, ATSB, 7 October 2008 "). It appears spikes in sensor data caused the aircraft's flight control computers to make the plane pitch-down violently, seriously injuring 12 people on board. This is an interim report, but will make interesting reading for those working and teaching safety critical software. The crew was unable to read some of the error message displays in the cockpit, as so many messages were generated they scrolled off the screen. The software of the flight computers is being changed to filter out spikes better. The cause of the spikes is still unknown. But other similar incidents have occurred in the same area of Western Australia and possible interference from the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station is being investigated.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Online status of hospital Emergency Departments

The WA Department of Health is providing a near real time web display of the status of Emergency Departments. This shows: Ambulance diverted, Triage 4 patients average waiting time (minutes), Number of patients waiting to be seen in ED and Total patients in ED for each hospital. Also available Hospital beds are also shown (but from a few days ago). If this information is to be of use, it must be provided reliably. Reports over time are also offered, but when I tried "ED attendances weekly activity" an error message resulted: "There is no row at position 7. at System.Data.RBTree`1.GetNodeByIndex(Int32 userIndex) ...".

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Perth transport spatial data available for download

Public Transport Authority, Transperth, is now offering spatial data for download. The data is available in Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) and ESRI Shapefile formats. Perhaps someone can use this to build a usable transit map for Perth CAT busses. Last time I visited, the supposedly real time reporting system did not match where the buses were.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Perth City Transport

While in Perth (Western Australia) I hopped on the excellent free CAT (Central Area Transit), bus servcie. I Perth is on the other side of the content to where I live, my sense of direction was reversed and I caught the bus on the wrong side of the road. Instead of going to Perth CBD I ended up at the City Farm Perth. This is a green oasis in some rehabilitated industrial land. A few years ago I visited the similar Camley Street Natural Park, on the banks of a canal in central London.

The CAT services are free and frequent, but not without problems. The stops have countdown timers which are supposed to show when the next bus is due, but these seemed to have nothing to do with the time of the actual arrival of the bus (displaying ten minutes when the next bus arrived at the stop). There is supposed to be a Perth CAT real time update, showing the bus locations, but it takes a long time to load and the does not seem to actually show any bus locations (correct or not).

Also while in Perth I tried the Mandurah Railway Line , which goes under the city center and then across the Swan River, to Mandurah. The service is very fast, overtaking cars on the 100 kph freeway, which it runs part of the way down the middle of. Also there are good views of the Swan River and city. But despite the line only opening last December, the new underground city station already looks dirty and the audio information kiosk was broken.

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Bunbury Library and Data Center

While in Bunbury (Western Australia) to give a talk on Carbon Neutral Computing, I was interested to see a new Public Library and Commercial Data Center under construction. The upper floor will have a 1600sqm public library on the upper level , with a commercial data centre underneath.

Apparently the computer centre will be used by a local film production company for digital post production. This is an innovative bit of ICT industry development by the The City of Bunbury and State Government of Western Australia.
After weeks of careful preparation, cement for the raised Library floor was poured on 12 March 2008. Starting at 3am, the continuous pour was successfully completed by midday the same day. A significant undertaking, the floor is over 1,600sqm in size, weighs 1,320 tonnes, and required 550 cubic metres of concrete.

Once the concrete cures, work will resume to install tilt panel walls and structural steelwork to create the Library’s interior spaces.

Project construction information
Contractor Cimeco Pty Ltd
Architect Peter Hunt Architect
Structural and civil BPA Engineering
Mechanical Consultant Geoff Hesford Engineering
Electrical Consultant Best Consultants
Hydraulic Consultant Hutchinson Associates
Quantity Surveyor Davis Langdon Australia

From: Our new City/Regional Library Diary, Entry No. 6, City of Bunbury, March 2008

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