What’s in your data center? Really; do you know?
If it’s not a part of your direct responsibility, you may have never been inside your company’s data center. It may not even be in your office; instead, it’s miles and miles away in a remote and seldom-visited area.
As data storage continues to be critical to business operations, more attention is turning toward the massive data centers that house our data. Massive buildings that can consume as much electricity as a small town, data centers provide redundancy, innovative temperature regulation, and intense, sometimes unorthodox, security. Do you know what’s in yours?
When even the lowest data center tier of the TIA (Data Center Classification Standard) starts above 99% uptime, including redundancy in power and cooling systems is essential for a data center to remain competitive. That’s why you’ll see systems configured with an Automatic Transfer Switch, which routes to backup power in case a utility grid goes offline due to unforeseen circumstances. An Uninterruptible Power Supply will kick in immediately to account for the time between power failure and the switch to the backup generators. At the highest tier, this entire redundant system is then doubled for multiple additional layers of downtime protection.
None of this is excessive when considering how precious consistent uptime and data integrity is to day-to-day business. At Tier 4, the redundancy guarantees no more than 26.3 minutes of downtime per year, offering near-perfect reliability.
Keeping your electronics cool with…ice water?
As you might suspect, a room full of IT equipment would get pretty hot without some sort of cooling system. You might not expect that one of the best ways to remove all that heat is with hundreds of thousands of liters of ice cold water. Usually, the bane of electronics, in this process water is run through a chiller to remove heat, cooling and dehumidifying the air in a space through cooling coils. It’s a complicated process that requires precision to be truly effective. There are numerous other ways, such as configurations, that can mitigate the buildup of heat as well.
Security fit for a king’s castle
Valuable data requires lots of security. Cyber attacks are an obvious threat, but physical danger exists as well. Infiltration or physical destruction is an imminent threat. Good data center practice mitigates this risk by being in an obscure location relative to the data they’re storing, putting up surveillance and physical impediments, and shifting which data is stored where to keep single centers from becoming targets. The need for security has infamously included the installation of a surrounding a Visa data center!
From ice water to medieval defenses, data centers are full of surprises. When downtime matters up to a fraction of a single percent, and security means billions have been invested, the most exceptional data center solutions can seem a little unorthodox but are nonetheless essential. With decades of experience among our project managers, Align has designed its fair share of data centers, and we’re no stranger to the ins and outs of these rooms that most people have never visited.