Keeping Up with the Flow

Reliable technology important to 24×7 business continuity at Fairfield Suisun Sewer District

For the most part, we don’t give a second thought when we turn on a faucet in our homes to get a glass of water or brush our teeth. We’ve come to expect a steady, clean flow of water to be available whenever and wherever we need it. However, if recent events in places such as Flint, MI, have taught us anything, it’s that a safe, reliable source of water for our homes, businesses and industries shouldn’t be taken for granted.

In central Solano County, CA, located 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District (FSSD) takes it mission of treating and supplying water to its consumers very seriously. Every day, the FSSD plant treats an average 16 million gallons of wastewater and provides water supplies to more than 135,000 residents, Travis Air Force Base and a national brewery, as well as retail businesses, light industries and manufacturers in and around Fairfield and Suisun City. With so many relying on its services, the plant can’t allow unreliable technology to cause down time.

Talyon Sortor, assistant general manager at FSSD, understands all too well how critical it is to make sure the treatment facility runs smoothly 24×7 and doesn’t experience any down time. The treatment plant, which sits on 150 acres, draws from a collection system made up of 12 pumping stations and 70-mile network of sewers throughout its service area. Reliable technology is critical to efficiently managing the operations of this large and complex operation.

Under state and federal laws, urbanized communities are required to collect and treat domestic and industrial wastes, and proper water treatment processes are an essential element to public health. The FSSD also has responsibility for protecting the environmentally sensitive Suisun Marsh, the nation’s largest brackish water marsh and the Pacific Coast’s largest wetland. Since waste water treatment systems are heavily regulated by both state and federal agencies, technology also plays an important role in recording information that demonstrates that the FSSD is in compliance at all times.

According to Sortor, any server failures or other technology issues that could affect service delivery within the plant are scrutinized by regulators. In 2015 (CK DATE) the FSSD engaged nDataStor, a long-time NEC reseller partner based in Suisun City, CA, to provide managed services for its facility. nDataStor took over the data center, which consisted of a collection of legacy hardware. But after a few server failures and a couple of long nights, the district decided it needed to upgrade its technology. Downtime costs the plant money and increases potential compliance risks, so being able to count on the technology was critical.
Drawing on its decade-long relationship with NEC and knowledge of the reliability of NEC hardware, nDataStor recommended replacing the legacy hardware with NEC products. nDataStor installed NEC’s Express5800/R120f-1M servers and M110 SAN Disk Array Storage.

Being able to count on its technology to run the plant provides the FSSD with the peace of mind of knowing that operations can be managed and monitored effectively around the clock from a centralized location, ensuring business continuity and an effective disaster recovery process. Staff at the control center are able to remotely respond to perimeter alarms, monitor the pump stations located across the county, and view captured security video throughout the complex.

As FSSD discovered, the total package of NEC technology combined with world-class support gives the district the reliability it needs to keep its operations running 24×7. And that means that the residents in Solano County can count on a steady supply of clean, safe water in their communities.

What Do Intel’s Youngest Intern and NEC Have in Common?

Joey Hudy has been described as many things, including one of the 10 most brilliant kids in the world. He is a self-described “Maker” or someone who designs and builds things on his own time. Joey’s infamous “extreme marshmallow canon” made news when he launched a marshmallow across the East Room during the 2012 White House Science Fair. Another milestone for Joey is being appointed the youngest intern at Intel. At 16 years old, he has already achieved multiple accomplishments, including a solar-powered computer he submitted at another science fair. It’s that type of innovative thinking that helped Intel CEO Brian Krzanich hire Joey when they met at the Rome Maker Faire. Joey even has a personal credo that he has on business cards he passes out – “Don’t be bored, make something.” We couldn’t agree more, Joey.

Much like Joey, NEC also believes in “building something,” and we are also joined Intel recently when it released the new Intel® Xeon® processor E7 v2 product family. It’s the innovation of those chips that supports NEC’s latest enterprise server – the Express5800/A2000 (A2000) series server – providing a new class of server that manages big data projects, among others. In fact, the A2000 series server offers RISC-class availability, and is at least twice as fast as previous enterprise servers, making it ideally suited for enterprise mission-critical use.

Build with Innovation in Mind

When the NEC team makes a decision to “build something,” our standard is to empower it with innovation. The reality is that developing a new line of servers is certainly important to helping our clients’ growth, but it is even more powerful if we can help them reach new heights by combining technology for rapid transformation of their data centers, including virtualization. This is certainly the case when you combine the A2000 series server and software-defined networking (SDN).

With the advent of cloud technology and the continued need to process larger amounts of mission- critical data, it became time to rethink networking. NEC’s SDN offerings leverage the OpenFlow protocol in the ProgrammableFlow® networking suite. Combining SDN and the A2000 series server provides both server and networking virtualization that addresses the inherent challenge of inflexibility found in many IT data centers today.

Now, it is feasible to virtualize tier 1 applications with confidence. With its enhanced featured set, the A2000 series server provides excellent uptime and predictive failure analysis tools so that thresholds are continually monitored and SLAs are met.

It is this combination that intrigued NEC customer Edgenet, Inc., which collects, optimizes, and distributes data used by online retailers, search engines and consumers. Its systems process data for millions of products. Mike Steineke, VP of IT at Edgenet, had this to say:

“When you run applications that are mission critical and have high SLAs, it’s essential that hardware used in the infrastructure design mitigates the risk of downtime. NEC’s server architecture and engineering design were the biggest influence on our decision,” said Steineke. “The A2000 series server is engineered to offer advanced RAS features, such as redundant service processors or increased number of enhanced I/O slots, which Edgenet needs to provide continuous operation and performance. We are looking forward to combining the A2000 series server and ProgrammableFlow technology integrated with Microsoft’s SCVMM and Hyper-V to deliver improved management, reporting, quality-of-service, and dedicated resources for customer facing applications. It is this type of comprehensive solution offering that puts NEC at a level ahead of the competition.”

From Marshmallow Canons to Big Data

The A2000 series server offers up to 4TB of memory, making it an ideal platform for running in-memory databases. This capability supports rapid decision-making and large-scale analysis of complex data. The ability to analyze complex, robust data in minutes, rather than hours, provides opportunities for businesses to maximize profitability through greater access to important information.

There are other benefits as well, including having a smaller footprint and custom configuration options for performance requirements. In fact, there are exceptional levels of availability with this server for mission-critical applications, providing a better option over RISC. Some of the interesting technology benefits include:

  • 2 times* more powerful than NEC’s previous generation servers, with up to four CPUs using the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 product family
  • Supports twice the memory capacity of current generation servers to support in-memory databases processing data at high speed using large-capacity memory
  • Highly efficient 80 PLUS® Platinum certified power supply significantly reduces power utilization when compared to current generation servers EXPRESSSCOPE ENGINE SP3 availability and serviceability framework delivers enhanced monitoring and autonomous operations
  • Improves efficiency through dynamic CPU core online additions when workloads increase, without suspending the system**
  • Responds to CPU and memory failures to ensure the system continues operating; memory can be added without a server reboot through a memory module hot-add feature
  • Includes up to 16 PCI-Express 3.0 slots (8x and 4x), delivering real-time analysis infrastructure that simultaneously supports network, storage and flash storage
  • Includes additional consolidation benefits (when compared to legacy two-way servers), such as: using nearly 78 percent less rack space; enabling nine-to-one conversion rate under standard test conditions, and delivering 124 percent more performance per watt.***

While the A2000 series won’t be launching marshmallows inside the White House, it will launch your business to new levels of reliability, flexibility, and cost savings. You can find more information on the A2000 series at www.necam.com/ExpressServer.