Single pane of glass enables significant management benefits for genomic research facility
Schneider Electric and Efficiency IT
Hybrid Infrastructure Project of the Year
Entry Description
The Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge is one of the world’s leading research facilities focused on genomic discovery.
At the core of Sanger’s technical infrastructure are its DNA sequencing machines; a fleet of highly complex and advanced scientific instruments, which generate vast quantities of data that must then be analysed within their on-premise data centre.
The DNA sequencing machines at the core of its research efforts generate vast quantities of data, the analysis of which drives research efforts into improving human health in several challenging areas, including cancer, malaria and other pathogens. The volume of data and the speed at which it is generated requires an on-site edge data centre with massive processing capacity, as a cloud option could not deliver the necessary latency. With 400 racks consuming 4MW of power, it is now the largest genomic research data centre in Europe.
The nature of genomic research, a cutting-edge and evolving area of science, means that the demand for data-processing capacity is only likely to increase over time – genomic data is soon set to become the biggest source of data on the planet.
The rapid pace of development of genomic research, and its exploitation by medical science, will continue to drive growth at the data centre. By way of example, sequencing the first human genome took 13 years; the same task can now be achieved in less than an hour. The amount of genomic data generated in the last 18 months is equal to the amount that was generated in the first 18 years of research. Every year, the sequencers generate data more quickly as the technology improves. IT has to keep up with that demand.
Wellcome Sanger recently deployed a cloud-based Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software tool to manage its core on-site data centre and other existing hardware assets throughout its campus more effectively and efficiently. As a Cloud-based management tool, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT provides detailed visibility of all hardware assets on the network from a centralised management console, effectively allowing all of the critical IT and sequencing equipment to be monitored and managed from behind a single pane of glass.
The EcoStruxure IT software is a cloud-based system that is highly scalable and quick to deploy. It enables data centre managers to discover and connect thousands of devices on its network in less than 30 minutes. The platform where data from assets is stored, pooled and analysed, is highly cyber secure and GDPR compliant, allowing users to view all their assets at any time. Status updates can be delivered to any device, including smart phones or tablets, allowing key service personnel to be alerted to any issues immediately wherever they may be.
As an open-standards vendor-neutral technology, EcoStruxure IT’s ability to find so many network-enabled devices, regardless of manufacturer, greatly simplifies inventory management and makes the inevitable tasks of upgrading and upscaling more efficient and predictable.
For the first time, the data centre manager can monitor both IT equipment and the power train from the same system. Now that those two important elements are combined, much greater visibility over the entire operation is possible. EcoStruxure IT also includes a Data Analytics module to enable smarter real-time decision-making and ensure that any unexpected issues in the data centre are identified and quickly resolved.
In time, the cloud-based management software will also monitor the operations of the DNA sequencers themselves through the same single management console. It is scalable to manage facilities of any size and complexity and allows alerts and updates to be delivered to remote service personnel via mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.
The DCIM software allows management to benchmark the performance of all key infrastructure elements which will allow more efficient operation, especially in the area of cooling, which will allow the PUE (power usage effectiveness) rating of the facility steadily to be reduced from its current level, fluctuating between 1.6 and 1.8 to operating in the range of 1.4. This will produce more cost savings providing a further return on the investment in the new data hall and its monitoring software.
Reduced costs on IT equipment frees up investment for funding genomic research, a key and ongoing objective for the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Overall, no other edge data centre and hybrid IT environment are as important to discoveries about human life.
The features of EcoStruxure IT software allow the same centralised management console to monitor the operations of equipment in remote colocation facilities, thereby providing overall management of a hybrid IT environment, spanning the onsite edge data centre at the Wellcome Sanger campus, its distributed IT and backup at remote colocation facilities.