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Shell is a worldwide group of energy and petrochemical companies, with around 100,000 employees covering more than 90 countries

and territories around the World. It has revenues of around US$278 billion (around 180 billion), and produces 3.1 million barrels of gas and oil every day.
The company has operations across Europe, and in one example, a number of exploration teams work together closely between its sites in Aberdeen in Scotland and Stavanger in Norway.

To enable this team-working to be as efficient as possible, Shell has installed what it calls Viz rooms in each of those locations, which provide virtual reality (VR) communications. Theses Viz rooms each contain two high-performance HP XW9400 workstation PCs, which are used by staff for 3D modelling and collaboration services. NEXT > The Challenge .......................

The Challenge
Having set up the Viz rooms, Shell found that the noise generated by the PCs was a huge problem, and specifically meant that it was extremely difficult to conduct conversations via video link-up with the other locations. "The rooms are quite small, so the noise of the PC towers working hard was distracting," says Simon Green, Virtual Reality Centre Coordinator at Shell. Cooling the computers was also an issue for Shell, and it needed a solution that did not generate extra noise, as Green explains: "As we were using videoconferencing, the last thing we wanted was to be distracted by hearing an air conditioning system." "Putting the computers outside the room was not an option," says Green. "The people using the room need access to log on, to use USB drives, or to reboot the PCs if required."

Experience with similar rooms had shown Shell that managing clutter was also a factor, as Green comments: "We had rooms without cabinets, and they ended up being noisy and awkward, with cables all over the place."

NEXT > The Solution .......................

The Solution
To overcome its noise problems, and to provide an ergonomic way to store the PCs and their peripherals, the company selected Kell Systems 24U ComputerVault Pro (Model PSE24), which provides 24 rack spaces and 10 surge-protected power outlets. Shell uses one Kell Cabinet in each of the five Viz rooms in Aberdeen. "The cabinets mean that we can keep everything out of the way, and shutting the door blocks out the noise from the computer fans," says Green.

The Kell cabinets also provide ventilation for the PC workstations. "Our users were initially concerned about closing the doors due to over-heating concerns, until we explained about the cabinets cooling systems," says Green.
"These PCs used to be under a desk, but before we had the cabinets we had overheating problems as they are top-end systems the heat they generated was incredible."

NEXT > Noise Reduction .......................

Noise Reduction
"The main reason for choosing the Kell cabinets was because we wanted the rooms to be quiet they were particularly good at achieving that," says Green. "This is the most important benefit that the cabinets have provided our users have been impressed that they can close the doors and it simply goes quiet."

Typical servers in an open office will generate noise at a level of something like 62 dBA to 68 dBA, which for comparison is above the 60 dBA level of normal conversational speech. To become unobtrusive, the noise from the servers or other hardware must be reduced to the level of the general office background noise, which is around 50 dBA.
At such reduced levels, the human brain perceives the noise from the servers as part of the overall background noise and it will go unnoticed. This is similar to the unnoticed 45 dBA to 50 dBA hum from most built-in office air conditioning systems. A Kell server cabinet achieves this required decrease, and typically brings down server noise to below 50 dBA. For Shell, they found that in day-to-day usage, their Kell cabinets achieved the noise reductions they looking for, and ensured their workstations PCs were quiet enough to avoid intruding into the video conferencing conversations.

NEXT > Ergonomic .......................

In each Kell server cabinet, Shell has the two HP tower PCs side by side, as well as an audio amplifier which is used for videoconferencing. A shelf in the rack is used to provide dedicated spaces for the PCs keyboards, and the chargers for the Bluetooth mice used. "When the room is not being used, everything is kept in the cabinet, which makes it easy for people to just open the door and take out the keyboard and mice, and check the audio amplifier if they need it," comments Green. "We didnt want a massive setup with control systems for the amplifier and PCs, and the cabinets mean we can just control the equipment directly, and can barely see the cables." Green has also found that the cabinets are easy to work with, and comments: "Its useful the way the cabinets themselves come apart to provide access its quick and easy to add or change equipment."

NEXT > The Server Room in a Box .......................

The Server Room in a Box

One of the reasons that the Kell Server Cabinet, or Netshelter CX as it is also known, proved to be so successful in solving this issue for Shell, is that it allows for the soundproofed deployment of server technology in the open office space and consequently outside of the traditional server room. This is not only useful in providing a quiet, flexible home for remote server management, but for those businesses who are looking to save the space, time, and costs associated with building and maintaining a traditional server room, offers a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly modern alternative. In typical usage, Kell's cabinets reduce server noise by up to 83%, CO2 emissions by 97%, floor space by 90%, operating costs by 98%, and capital costs by up to 80%, when compared to a server room. For Shell, the noise reducing capabilities of the Kell Cabinet and its swift and versatile deployment were crucial to the successful continuation of this aspect of their international operations.

NEXT > Additional Information .......................

For further information and enquiries:

Nicole Dickinson, Sales Manager, Kell at Schneider Electric Tel: +44 (0) 118 9037850 Email: Web:

About Shell
Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies. Our headquarters are in The Hague, the Netherlands, and our Chief Executive Officer is Peter Voser. The parent company of the Shell group is Royal Dutch Shell plc, which is incorporated in England and Wales. Our strategy seeks to reinforce our position as a leader in the oil and gas industry in order to provide a competitive shareholder return while helping to meet global energy demand in a responsible way. In Upstream we focus on exploring for new oil and gas reserves and developing major projects where our technology and know-how adds value to the resource holders. In Downstream our emphasis remains on sustained cash generation from our existing assets and selective investments in growth markets.

About Kell Systems

Kell Systems now a part of the Schneider Electric family is a UK-based manufacturing firm that has for more than five years pioneered the design, manufacture and deployment of Office ICT cabinets. Our unique Server Room in a Box Solution provides a cost-efficient, soundproofed, and versatile solution to housing server equipment that is also environmentally friendly. For further information please visit our website at:

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