Data availability starts at the data center. If the DC fails, then the data stops flowing. To prevent this from happening, TÜV Rheinland puts new data centers and DCs currently under construction through their paces. Just recently, the fire at cloud provider OVH offered us an impressive example of the importance of proper fire and safety planning.
Cybersecurity increasingly mission-critical
Of all the many changes the coronavirus pandemic has brought us, one is very clear: the increasing pace of digital transformation. More than ever before, businesses need to be able to access their data at any time and without interruption. This also requires companies to protect their computer systems against attacks from virtual threats: cybersecurity has now gone mainstream. On the other hand, it is also just as important to ensure that internal data centers are operated securely and cloud services are reliably protected.
How ‘available’ is your data center?
The failure of a data center can have fatal consequences for any business. Everything simply stops. Operational reliability and high availability are therefore key criteria that a modern data center simply has to fulfill.
A “crash test”, which checks data center stability in critical situations, is therefore an extremely useful option for new or modified DCs.
To ensure the future reliability of such a data center, a number of risk factors should be considered from the outset, such as heavy rain, flooding and fires – including fires that only appear to have an indirect impact, such as those affecting nearby roads or railway lines. Failures affecting utilities and cooling technology are also critical.
The ‘crash test’: keeping risks to ongoing operations to a minimum
At TÜV Rheinland, my colleagues and I perform systematic audits of new data centers from the commissioning phase onwards, to determine whether the building automation and control systems (BACS) are working properly. This is where the crash test comes in: if the air-conditioning system fails, do the backup systems come online as they should? Our aim here is to exclude any and all risks that threaten normal business operations. We also help operating companies draw up disaster recovery/service continuity plans. The importance of this work was recently demonstrated by the fire at cloud provider OVH, which destroyed several buildings. No less than four of the data centers on the site were destroyed (SBG1 to SBG4). Substantial volumes of data have been lost forever. Work to establish the extent of the loss is still ongoing.
DIN EN 50600:
Anyone looking to set up or modernize a data center should take a look at the specifications of DIN EN 50600: this European standard provides a comprehensive guide to designing, planning, building and operating data centers for high availability. Keeping to the standard makes everything more reliable, and certification to this standard can also be obtained.
An interesting bonus effect of getting certified to DIN EN 50600 is that the companies who use cloud services are increasingly looking for service providers whose DCs have this certification.
Big data looks set to get increasingly bigger. This will place even greater demands on data centers and their operational reliability. Our ‘crash test’ is an important part of this picture.
Field testing a hydrogen car for a day
Industrial Applications and Safety