Stewart and Eaton Team Forge Continuous Uptime for Historic Mixed-Use Development

By Matthew Price and Sami Hussaini

In 2017, Stewart, a design, engineering and planning firm located throughout North Carolina and South Carolina, was engaged to provide engineering and design services for The Dillon, the first mixed-use, high rise development of its kind in downtown Raleigh’s rapidly expanding Warehouse District. Early in the process, Stewart wanted to preserve the historic value of The Dillon – originally a warehouse for the Dillon Supply Company built in 1914 – while renovating and modernizing the building to meet today’s commercial and residential needs, as well as assume a monumental presence in downtown Raleigh’s skyline.

The firm played a pivotal role in the construction of the new building, with almost all of its practice areas collaborating to bring the space to life, including Planning & Design, Structural Engineering, Geomatics, and Geotechnical & Construction Services. After working so diligently on the project, Stewart opted to relocate its own headquarters to The Dillon, taking over the entire eleventh floor as its first commercial occupant in June 2018.

Making backup plans

Even the smallest amount of downtime had the potential to cripple Stewart’s operations in its new headquarters, which rely on a number of unique applications specific to engineering design and analysis. So, while Stewart was designing its innovative, open office space with areas for collaboration, discussion and team meetings, the firm’s IT leaders were also focused on deploying a comprehensive power protection solution capable of safeguarding the company’s servers and other critical devices.

High reliability, scalability and manageability were key elements that Stewart desired in an uninterruptible power system (UPS). In 2016, the firm had sought to standardize on a single UPS model and was attracted to the Eaton® brand for its reliability. As a result, prior to relocating its headquarters, the company had already rolled out Eaton 5PX UPSs at its other locations.

While Stewart was happy with its existing fleet of UPSs deployed across its offices and labs, the new facility at The Dillon required a more robust system to protect the additional lineup of equipment. Thankfully, the firm didn’t have to look far to find the right solution.

Stewart is headquartered on the 11th floor of The Dillon in downtown Raleigh. Photo: Eaton

Putting the pieces in place

To ensure critical servers and other equipment would remain protected at all times, Stewart stepped up to a larger Eaton UPS – the 9PX UPS – for operations in The Dillon. Available in models ranging from 700 VA to 11 kVA, the solution offers an ideal fit for both rackmount and stand-alone installations, delivering premium backup power and scalable battery runtimes. Since installing four 6 kVA units in the server room of the new facility, Stewart has experienced an unparalleled level of availability and uptime for its vital systems.

The reliability of both its 5PX and 9PX UPS units are enhanced by Advanced Battery Management technology, which uses sophisticated sensing circuitry and an innovative three-stage charging technique to extend the useful service life of batteries while optimizing recharge time. The technology provides up to 60 days’ notice of the end of useful battery service life, allowing ample time for batteries to be replaced without ever having to shut down the connected equipment.

The 5PX and the 9PX UPSs are further bolstered with hot-swappable batteries, optional extended battery modules (EBMs) for scalable runtimes, and an exceptional power factor rating that provides up to 28 percent more wattage than comparable UPSs – enabling more devices to be connected.

Software for remote power management

Stewart leveraged Intelligent Power Manager (IPM) software in conjunction with its UPSs, allowing for the graceful shutdown of network devices during a prolonged power disruption to prevent data loss and save work-in-progress. With the software, IT staff can tier different components and prioritize the order in which they shutdown and startup during a power event. A network card enables the team to remotely and sequentially power down equipment, check server room temperatures and perform other key functions.

Stewart has gained additional protection and functionality by installing Environmental Monitoring Probes (EMPs) as part of the backup plan for all of its sites. The devices enable personnel to remotely collect temperature and humidity readings in rack enclosures and monitor environmental data. The EMPs came in especially handy during Stewart’s first few weeks in The Dillon building, when some of the facility’s HVAC issues were still being ironed out.

Complementing the ease of monitoring and management is the software’s customizable alert feature. The capability allows Stewart to set up email alerts, so the team can be informed if there are power fluctuations at any offices.

Getting down to business

With The Dillon already making its name as an iconic property in downtown Raleigh, Stewart finds itself at the center of an entrepreneurial and pioneering atmosphere that matches its company culture. Thanks to its commitment to power protection and forward-thinking approach, the firm can rest easy knowing its systems are protected as it continues to usher in a new era of economic development in the city. With its integrated power management solution, Stewart is now able to:

  • Provide high availability and uptime to the servers and other critical devices at its headquarters and multiple office locations
  • Maintain the highest level of reliability with features such as ABM technology
  • Remotely monitor and manage the system using bundled power management software and connectivity
  • Gain scalable runtimes with the addition of optional EBMs
  • Protect more equipment with the UPS high power factor rating

While the new headquarters facility hasn’t yet experienced any electrical cuts or serious power anomalies, some of Stewart’s other locations aren’t as fortunate. But thanks to its Eaton UPSs, even in the face of complete blackouts, all of the firm’s critical equipment remains online — and completely unscathed. With the Eaton 9PX and 5PX UPSs safeguarding equipment at all of Stewart’s facilities, the company is able to focus on its own business, without having to worry about downtime, equipment damage or data loss.

Matthew Price is Director of Technology at Stewart, and Sami Hussaini, is UPS 9 Series Product Manager at Eaton.