24 Oct 2011
Understanding what technology is powering, cooling and securing your data centre is essential if you want to ensure IT availability 24/7/365.
Essential data centre technologies include:
A resilient connection between your users and the data centre will help maintain successful operations. As an absolute minimum the data centre that houses your system should use multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In doing so, an uninterrupted connection can be maintained should any of the lines suffer inevitable downtime. In addition to this underutilised high capacity lines, a range of different types of connections and wireless failover should be in place.
Ensuring a constant supply of clean power reaches your hosted solution is a vital part of a successful data centre setup. Technology including Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS); redundant (N+1) components; high-capacity diesel generators and additional battery power stored in a separate cooled plant, all protected by fire suppression and cooling systems, will ensure your IT remains in operation despite any drops, or surges in the central power supply.
As well as technology you must have faith in the people managing your servers. An operations team that proactively monitors the power to all feeds delivers more flexibility and accuracy than relying on technology alone. Having a trusted team means you can benefit from regular start-up and failover testing to ensure business continuity and a speedy disaster recovery service should the need arise.
Adequate cooling technologies play a central role in the operation of an efficient data centre. Servers generate significant amounts of heat which must be dealt with in order to avoid meltdown.
Cold aisle containment is a highly efficient cooling method. Server racks are housed in enclosed aisles with sealed roofs. Heat generated is removed from the units, recycled through the system, and fed back to be re-circulated.
Other essential technologies include air cooled DX chillers which achieve advanced cooling with lower power consumption, mezzanine flooring to allow the unrestricted circulation of cool air and external cool units to filter cool air before feeding it back into your internal cooling system.
If a fire does occur it is important there are provisions in place to deal with it promptly. In addition to alarm systems, equipment such as the NOVEC1230 gaseous based suppression system which uses world class VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) will absorb heat rapidly in the event of fire and protect your servers as best possible.
You must ensure you know exactly where your data is at all times. You are well within your rights to insist that your provider confirms the permanent location of your data. Without this you run the risk of having no support from local authorities should a data breech occur.
There is a considerable amount of legislation that hosting providers should adhere to when storing your data. The European Union’s Data Privacy Directive supports the secure movement of sensitive data within Europe and makes it difficult for companies to move a client’s data out of the region. Organisations must take appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect your data or face significant penalties.
An additional piece of legislation in place to protect you is the UK Data Protection Act. To ensure you remain protected under this your data must be stored in the UK and not be sent overseas.
Your chosen hosting provider must place as much importance in the security of your assets as you would. CCTV, cage and entry door access controls, 24/7 security patrols, front desk security and intrusion detection systems are just some of the elements that should be in place.
As well as physical security, network security must be taken into consideration. SafeDNS, McAfee Active Virus Defence, security patches, Juniper front edge routers, highly resilient SAN storage and PCI DSS compliance will all help keep your systems secure.
Choosing a hosting partner cannot be done without a clear understanding of the technology and security in place at its data centre. It is vital you know how and where your data will be housed as well as what is in place to protect it whilst under someone else’s care.
Why not speak to one of our specialists to see how our seriously cool UK-based data centres operate.