Morrisons operates a state-of-the-art 10GBASE-T network at its purpose-built Bradford headquarters. Based on Brand-Rex's 10GPlus structured cabling solution, the network comprises a Blolite air-blown fibre backbone and shielded Augmented Category 6/Class EA cabling serving more than 6,000 outlets and a data centre. Providing the central hub of Morrisons' IT infrastructure, the data centre delivers business-critical communications services to the company's 375+ stores, warehouses and distribution points.
With its recent acquisition of competitor Safeways, Morrisons is growing rapidly and is making a multi-million investment in re-engineering its IT environment. This has placed additional demands on the data centre for cabling and power. "We were facing the same issues that many large organisations do in terms of driving data centre efficiencies - namely power, cooling and airflow," said Darryl Shears, Data Centre Manager at Morrisons. "More cooling requires more power which presents a cost challenge. Reducing the amount of space I needed for cabling would help improve airflow - and the more airflow, the better."
Brand-Rex has developed a new Augmented Category 6/Class EA cabling solution designed specifically for use in challenging environments such as data centres, storage area networks (SANs) and links up to 70 metres. Forming part of its 10GPlus System, the Zone cable has an outside diameter of 5.4mm and is the smallest cable on the market realising Class EA performance. As the Zone cable is smaller and more flexible than conventional shielded AC6 cables, it is easier to install. Brand-Rex' accredited installer, Express Data, was able to deliver 480 links for Morrisons in just two weeks, with the installation of an increased number of 10GPlus Zone cabling links now planned to further support the OM3 fibre backbone infrastructure.
By creating more room in server cabinets and under-floor cabling trays, the Zone cable has enabled Morrisons to significantly improve airflow throughout the data centre while accommodating the new hardware being deployed. Cabling installation times have also been reduced using another Brand-Rex innovation, the tool-free RJ45 Snap-In-Jack, which supports the 10GBASE-T application and removes the need for termination tools. "With all the new hardware going in, it is difficult to quantify the efficiency gains we have made but if you stand next to the server cabinets, you can physically feel the difference. The installers were also able to terminate the Zone cable a lot quicker and if a job takes less time, then we are saving money too," Shears added.
"Morrisons is one of the most prestigious retailers in the country and we are delighted that such an organisation has become the first to implement our leading-edge 10GPlus Zone solution, which is currently the only cabling system of its kind in the market," said Steve Finnegan, Business Development Manager, Brand-Rex. "It is also testament to Morrisons' forward-thinking IT strategy that it has chosen to maintain a future-proof and standards-based infrastructure at its purpose-built HQ using Brand-Rex's 10GPlus System of cabling and connectivity."
Brand-Rex Ltd is a global operation, designing, developing and manufacturing the most sophisticated, high performance copper and fibre cabling systems for communications and extreme environment applications. Headquartered in Scotland, the company is committed to being a trusted market leading provider of best-in-class communication infrastructure solutions that are truly 'future proof'.