Compact IT gives remote communities round-the-clock confidence
A leading not-for-profit organisation in New Zealand provides emergency relief and support to the Pacific Islands through first aid, communication and disaster preparedness training.
When disaster strikes, its emergency response unit can be deployed to provide IT and communications support services on the ground. However, these technical experts are also working to build technology capability and train their Pacific Island neighbours on how to use technology and conduct basic maintenance and repairs.
Working in partnership with ServerWorks, a Christchurch-based IT services company, the not-for-profit organisation was able to design a compact IT solution to give remote communities round-the-clock confidence.
Keeping equipment alive in harsh environments
The predominant challenge facing the not-for-profit organisation and its network of Pacific Islands was the ability to maintain technology infrastructure. IT and communications were often one of the last considerations in planning despite the growing need for technical resources that ensure the day-to-day running of the organisation and telecommunications during business as usual and in times of a disaster.
With few IT personnel on the Pacific Islands, technology systems were often rundown and with many locations susceptible to sea air and sandy dust, technical equipment would degrade at a quicker rate.
This resulted in a higher risk of technology issues occurring in a disaster, causing slow communication and delayed ground assessments.
A complete, compact and durable solution
ServerWorks designed a telecommunications system called Zero Local Touch (ZLT) — a compact IT solution that holds everything from power redundancy and networking, to cybersecurity and much more. The system can be easily deployed across the not-for-profit organisation’s Pacific Island network, allowing devices to stay connected wirelessly or via cable and keep communications alive during disaster recovery. To ensure design and operational longevity of the system, it was critical for ServerWorks to select the right technology to keep ZLT functioning during times of emergency, and protect it against the elements, from cyclones to extreme heat.
Eaton answered the call, supporting ServerWorks to build the Zero Local Touch system ‘in a box’. It was designed and built using the Eaton SC200 monitor, Eaton cabinet fan controller, Eaton 9PX EM 2kVA UPS with 9PX BM, Eaton MBS, Eaton iPDU, Eaton surge filter, Eaton iPM software, plus aerials, modems, Fortinet and HPE networking and server equipment.
ServerWorks needed an enclosure to protect the technology against harsh environments. After evaluating a range of different products in the market, Eaton’s ExoCab18 outdoor enclosure was the only product that ticked all the boxes and was readily available.
Kraig Winters, General Manager/owner at ServerWorks, said there were a lot of cabinet vendors offering to design something from scratch but none were able to meet the brief.
“We needed an enclosure that required very few engineering modifications, such as extending the depth of the cabinet, and could withstand challenging environmental conditions. Immediately we saw the value in the additional longevity we would gain from Eaton’s product, which is fully covered by IP rated heat exchange,” said Winters.
“With Eaton backing up the ZLT, we can expect a long lifecycle. The cabinet is built to last and will service the Pacific Islands for at least the next 10 to 20 years.”
Eaton went beyond the supply of products and was available to ServerWorks every step of the design and build process — from customer support enquiries to UPS soft shutdown procedure training.
Looking to the future
After rigorous testing at ServerWorks’ workshop, the ZLT solution was deployed in March to the Tonga Islands. The team will be looking at how the system can transform the way disaster recovery services are coordinated in their day-to-day operations and in times of a disaster.
“Once implemented, the solution has the scalability to meet IT demands of up to 70 staff and leveraged through a fixed line, mobile or satellite commutations to stay online at a fixed location,” said Winters.
“When a disaster occurs, the building may not be habitable and the ZLT can be relocated and operate for up to four hours on back-up power, to ensure the team can access data about ground zero instantly — streamlining aid deliveries from days to potentially hours.
“It is this capability that makes it possible for this solution to be rolled out and deployed across many other organisations and locations in the Pacific Islands who face identical challenges and give local teams the tools to become more resilient and self-sufficient.
“As we explore new opportunities, we look forward to working with Eaton to leverage new advances in UPS technologies and enclosures.”
Originally published here.
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