Minkels developed the monitoring system in cooperation with the University of Antwerp and leading customers. The monitoring system comprises all the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) required to manage the entire infrastructure of a data centre environment cost-effectively. The system accesses all the real-time data required from the various types of infrastructural equipment in a data centre, including PDUs, chillers, CRAC units, UPSs, coolers, cameras and fire detectors.
Existing data centre monitoring & management systems are primarily designed for the monitoring and management of individual pieces of data centre equipment, which are often brand-specific, explains Jeroen Hol, Minkels Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Varicontrol 1.0 is different. It serves as a sort of umbrella for the measurement, analysis and management of all parameters in the data centre, in which brand-specific protocols can communicate with one another and all the management information is accumulated in a single, central database. This makes the underlying technology and systems transparent to users. It is an open source platform that supports all the popular protocols, including SNMP, Modbus and various others.
As a manufacturer, Minkels is aware that many commercial data centres, corporate data centres and SME data centres throughout Europe currently lack a fully integrated monitoring system. Mr Hol: They do often use a Building Management System (BMS) for instance, for the general control and management of the data centre. However, a BMS offers little scope for interaction with IT, as it is usually installed from the real estate perspective, which implies that it does not fully comply with the increasing needs of data centre managers, in terms of operational excellence.
Mr Hol: Anyone who aspires to achieve operational excellence in a data centre therefore requires a means of managing all the KPIs using a platform in which various sub-solutions have been integrated. And this is the reason that we developed Varicontrol 1.0, a solution which approaches the problem specifically from the perspective of IT and the data centre infrastructure technology. Thanks to the open source nature of the platform, it readily enables the integration of existing management software such as an access control system, a Network Management System (NMS) and a building management system (BMS) in Varicontrol 1.0.