One standard for Data Centers

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Data Center LCL Belgium

A single standard for data centers? Yes, please!

Server rooms and data centers vary widely today. They include cupboards in the corners of cellars, professional data centers, and carrier-neutral and redundant data centers that are ISO 14001 certified, such as LCL’s data centers. Comparing all the possibilities is a difficult task for those who are looking for an external data center or have to decide between continuing to invest in in-house data centers and outsourcing. Is a more expensive data center really worth the extra money?

I think we really need a single worldwide standard for data centers, particularly in this day and age when privacy and security are more important than ever. The Netherlands already has a standard, NPR 5313, for computer rooms and data centers. However, NPR 5313 covers the installation and design of data centers, and not how they are run. As a consequence, this ‘standard’ is far from comprehensive. It does not come close to what we really need.

So what should a single standard for data centers include?

  • ISO 27001 and ISO 14001
  • Power usage effectiveness (PUE)
  • Matters related to business continuity, such as the data center’s financial situation, the presence of a disaster recovery infrastructure, access to rooms and the availability of personnel, and the availability of specific competencies or the number of FTEs per 100 m²
  • The number of carriers available in the data center

We could use a classification system for different levels of data centers based on the system used in the financial markets (AAA, AA, B, etc.). It would, of course, be necessary to appoint a body to perform on-site checks and determine the ‘level’ of each data center if we want the standard to be meaningful.

Classifying data centers in this way would be to everyone’s advantage. It would make our rapidly growing market much more transparent, and that would benefit everyone. I’m sure that all the relevant parties in our industry are in favor of a single standard, given the trade-off between price and quality.

Laurens van Reijen, CEO of LCL data centers

PS: I would like to thank cloud broker Peter Witsenburg for his valuable thoughts.

Outsourcing your datacenter saves enough electricity to power the city of Liege

I recently attended a conference devoted to the theme of energy-efficiency, organized by the Flemish research group Vito.
One presentation, by Dries De Vos, a member of the Vito research team, was particularly of interest. Based on a combination of internationally available data and Vito's own research, he came to some staggering conclusions:
- The entire amount of electricity needed to power all datacenters worldwide adds up to 272 TWH/year. that is three times the amount needed to power Belgium as a whole.
- The average PUE (power usage effectiveness) of all datacenters in the United States is 2,15. We have no exact figures available for Belgium or Flanders, but the PUE value would probably be about the same.
- The average PUE of internal datacenters in Flanders is 3. This implies that the average PUE of commercial external datacenters is far below 2.
- Outsourcing your datacenter to a commercial datacenter will lead to significant energy savings.

Conclusion: if all internal datacenters and server rooms were outsourced to efficiently managed external datacenters, this could lead to an energy saving of about 200 GWh/year, enough to power almost 60.000 families, equivalent to a city almost as big as Liege.
You don't have to take it from me, take it from a renowned research organisation.