Sky News Arabia

Sky News Arabia (SNA) is an Arabic News broadcaster based in Abu Dhabi capital city of UAE, delivering ONE channel and the broadcast data centre powering the station output is composed of 88 racks fitted with 250 TSL Intelligent Power Units, the MDU12PMi. 

The Data Centre Infrastructure Monitoring (DCIM) monitoring solution originally deployed was no longer being supported and so SNA took the opportunity to upgrade their DCIM capability by utilising the Insite DCIM product from TSL Products.

Sky News Arabia required a comprehensive monitoring power monitoring solution so that they could identify any technical and environmental issues before they became serious and impacting the operation of the facility and bringing to a halt the broadcasting of the news channel. 

The universal voltage, horizontal 1U intelligent Power Manager units from TSL Products are available in 16 and 32A capability, fitted with 12 IEC outlets and providing a comprehensive array of alarms and data that allow the customer to monitor all aspects of their rack. Providing a ‘window into each rack’ and enabling the remote surveying of critical infrastructure. Data monitored; total power used in each unit, current by outlet, power factor measurement, voltage, temperature, and fuse status. Alarms can be set against pre-determined levels using the comprehensive built-in web-browser. Delivering SNMP alarms for; Fuse failure, under/over current by outlet, under/over voltage, over-temperature, and finally total current. Working beautifully with any DCIM software package each PDU is also capable of delivering a ‘stand-alone’ view of its environment using the internet in the sending of email alarms or to mobile phones through an SMS gateway. The unit also offers programmable start, sequential start and switchable power outputs, minimising inrush currents at power-on with the ability to power-off or re-boot remotely sited equipment.

The Insite software was installed on a VMWare host, backed up by a cloud copy, and connected to the TSL Power Units over the regular IT network. The Insite DCIM software can monitor many types of equipment, not just that manufactured by TSL, and in this installation it was also monitoring temperature, input power, and online presence. The commissioning of the software was carried out remotely from the headquarters of TSL Products in the UK. The monitoring dashboards were designed to meet the specific needs of the customer and monitoring individual units, server racks, and server rooms, providing clear visibility of the health of the system and providing instantaneous data on any faults occurring which might impact the running of the 24/7/365 TV Station. 

The dashboards for this project deliver a powerful visual picture of the data centre and the ability to drill down to each rack, permitting quick and easy identification of any alarm condition and so helping to provide a speedy response that will minimise the risk of blue screens. Just a sample below:

The premise for Sky News Arabia’s install was that they required a simple straight forward dashboard which gave them 3 key elements, online ethernet presence, input power in watts for each MDU and individual unit temperature in degrees. They could then simply see this data on the dashboards at a glance for their daily checks. The rack layout was designed from their own excel spreadsheets for familiarity and this was then converted to three jpeg pictures and uploaded to the Insite Server. The process of installation is straightforward, firstly the creation of a Virtual VMware and or Hyper-V server onsite at Sky News headquarters.

Secondly remote access to start the installation of the base Linux Operating system, thirdly the installation of the Insite software, fourth, dashboard design and finally probe creation and placement.

As mentioned previously the dashboard designs had already been uploaded, onto these dashboards the probes were overlaid giving live readings from each of the 250 MDU12-PMI intelligent power units. Insite can create large quantities of probes at a time from csv files hence this part of the install was fairly straight forward, the csv file requiring only the IP address of the MDU, its unique name and rack position and the type of probe needed for the data that was required.

Once this information had been gathered it could then be uploaded, the probes created and they could then be overlaid onto the dashboards in their relevant positions.

Each probe was configured to speak to each of the MDU’s every 30 seconds so that the Sky News engineers could get data readings every minute throughout the day, 24/7.

As seen in the dashboards each individual MDU gives status, temperature, and input power readings. The input power (Watts) in green, temperature (degrees) in yellow. Although not configured on this occasion, we can configure these dashboards to give more detailed elements so that the customer can drill down to the individual MDU and check fuse settings, switch off outputs in order to reboot equipment. This can be achieved by adding another probe that would link to the IP address of the MDU12-PMI webpage when selected by the customer.

The TSL rack power products coupled with the Insite DCIM software, provide unparalleled levels of control and monitoring of critical and remotely sited equipment. Speeding up fault finding, reducing the burden on operations and maximising facility up-time.