The facilities management aspect of the site is handled by Keysource.
- Operate – Building management systems and controls and Facilities Management
They say that consulting, building and operating data centres comprises around 80 per cent of their work load but they are also involved with other critical environments like hospitals and financial trading floors.
Here they offer the most proactive service possible, with a 24/7 presence on site. They have a five-year facilities management contract, providing M&E infrastructure, preventive maintenance, a permanent presence and 24 hour-a-day remote monitoring.
There are 21,400 sensor points across the facility, meaning that any faults or required repairs are immediately noted and dealt with.
They of course try to run an operation that is as environmentally friendly as possible. In data centres there are the power requirements of the server, but Keysource aren’t able to effect this, therefore they focus on making all other power outputs as efficient as possible.
FMJ is told that in a traditional data storage facility there would be a cooling/data ratio of 1 to 1. Meaning that for every 100 kw of power used to store data, an equal amount of power would be required for the air conditioning to prevent the equipment overheating.
On this site, using their ecofris cooling system, the effectiveness is closer to one fifth the amount needed for storage. The environmental and financial benefits of this are obvious.
The facility is separated so that all of the M&E and back up power supply equipment is housed in a completely separate building to the actual data storage units. This reduces risk and increases resilience.
Dominic Phillips, managing director of Datum explains. “We encourage people to outsource their needs to us because we are experts at what we do. We therefore chose to outsource our M&E requirements to the experts in that field. Operations staff are absolutely forbidden from touching the actual IT on site as that is not where our knowledge and talents lie.
“It is always change that causes problems in data centres, which is why it is essential that you have a very clear breakdown on who is responsible for what.”
It seems remarkable that there are often only around a dozen staff on the entire site, including security. Indeed the data hall is generally unoccupied and when it is, it is left in complete darkness due to the motion sensor lighting which forms part of the energy efficiency measures.
Phillips, is clearly, and justifiably, is extremely proud of the facility. “We have created an environmentally intelligent, carrier neutral data centre, which will enable us to service the needs of our clients moving forward. Our vision is to develop a network of regional facilities using this flagship site as a blueprint and target locations that offer something a little different away from the traditional UK colocation centres.”
This environmental aspect is very important to Datum. They are very mindful of the effect being seen to be wasteful can have on their reputation. Phillips recounts the Greenpeace hounding of Microsoft due to their use of coal power as an example.
Though the data centre itself is not massive, around average for the UK and only 10 per cent the size of some of the larger facilities in the States it is without doubt efficient, secure and flexible. A worthy blueprint for the future.
POWERING THE CLOUD
- A large data center has a capacity to use as much electricity as a small town in the United States.
- Data centers account to 17 per cent of carbon footprint of the global Information and Communication Technology sector.
- The average life of a data center is considered to be nine years.
- Microsoft built a data centre in 2013 at a cost of $112m.
- Google’s data centers use around 260 million watts of power which accounts to 0.01 per cent of global energy. This power is enough to consistently power 200,000 homes.
- Four of the five biggest data centres in the world are in the USA, the other is in China.
- Lakeside Centre in Chicago uses over eight million gallons of cooling fluid a year.
- Amazon utilises 450,000 servers across seven locations worldwide.
- The secretive NSA database stores so much data that they speak in terms of “Yottabytes” and “Zettabytes.”
- Range’s data centre in China is the same size as the US Pentagon.