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Aqua Cooling and their Award Winning LPS Leak Prevention System

Posted By Andy Mullings, Aqua Cooling Solutions Ltd, 22 October 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvmRifXS5Dk

Winner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2015 - one of the UK's most prestigious business accolades, in recognition of it's innovation.


Our unique, patented Aqua Cooling Leak Prevention System (LPS) enables computer data centre cooling systems to benefit from water cooled data cabinets with guaranteed leak free operation.
 
Our system isn't a leak detection device – it’s prevents a leak from occurring in the first instance.

  Historically, clients using water cooled systems would be limited to using leak detection systems.

These commonly relied on water leaking, running off pipework or spraying from a burst to activate the necessary alarms and shut the system down, potentially after the water has come into contact with the servers. By this time the damage would have already occurred.

This could lead to flooding if the situation went unnoticed and/or damage to critical hardware, loss of data, damage to room infrastructure and subsequent impact on revenues and investment.

Equally, while detection systems can alert staff to a leak, they have to be set to a level which will detect genuine increases in moisture levels to avoid false alarms.

LPS-large

Such systems are expensive and not entirely fool proof. Solutions such as leak detection tape, add to the expense of a system and must be regularly checked and maintained. Often clients installed two identical systems at 100% capacity – if a leak occurred in one, the systems could be switched to maintain the system’s integrity.

With a guaranteed leak free operation, the Aqua LPS has removed the need for clients to invest in duplicate set ups – the space they take up and the obvious associated costs - while providing considerable environmental benefits:

  • Less need for real estate - a smaller, less complex building can be used
  • Combined with our Coldlogik Rear Door Water Coolers, saving energy by up to 98% over traditional data centre cooling – a proven figure when waste heat from the data centre is used to heat other areas of the operation
  • A system which is modular and scalable, to suit any size or density of data centre from 23kW to 10MW and can work with high or low flow rates and water temperatures
  • The system can be easily upscaled with very little cost and no interruption to the running of the existing data centre
  • A lower carbon footprint

For more information please contact Aqua Cooling at sales@aquacooling.co.uk or 0845 0941 800 and mention DCA Blog.

Tags:  Data Centre LPS Leak Prevention System 

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DCD Europe Converged Discount

Posted By Kelly Edmond, 01 October 2015

Special discount for Data Centre Alliance Members

As a member of the Data Centre Alliance, we wanted to share the latest information on DatacenterDynamics Converged Europe, taking place at ExCeL London, 18-19th November 2015.


As part of the partnership between Data Centre Alliance and DatacenterDynamics, we are excited to be able to offer complimentary event passes to the first 25 DCA members who quote the discount code sent out to members - these places are strictly limited so don't delay!

Once these special offer passes are gone we are pleased to extend a 25% discount to all qualifying Data Centre Alliance members*.


If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Kelly Edmond for the discount code


Email: kellye@datacentrealliance.org

Tel: +44 (0)845 8734587

Tags:  DCA members  DCD  ExCel  special discount 

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Air-side free-cooling: direct or indirect systems and their impact on PUE

Posted By Robert Tozer, Operational Intelligence Limited, 01 October 2015

There is a general perception that direct air systems are more cost efficient and hence the default option. However, providing the design incorporates good air segregation, recommended ASHRAE equipment environmental conditions and adiabatic cooling of the outdoor air, for most cities warmer than London, the indirect air systems are considerably more efficient than the direct air systems. This is because many more hours of free cooling can be achieved with adiabatic cooling without affecting the indoor conditions. Furthermore, zero-refrigeration in most of the world is possible with this solution. For cooler climates, direct systems are only marginally more efficient.

Often when data centre free cooling is discussed, people assume this means direct fresh air cooling. However, in climates warmer than London, indirect air systems are more efficient than direct air systems and can allow refrigeration to be eliminated and considerably reduce the electrical plant sizing requirements. Use of adiabatic evaporative cooling on the outdoor airstream allows free cooling to be achieved for many more hours in the year when there are hot, dry conditions. Further detail on the application for free cooling in data centres is available in our technical papers.

 

Tags:  air management  Cooling  Date Centre  Location  London  pue 

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Compromising Commissioning

Posted By Robert Tozer, Operational Intelligence Limited, 25 September 2015

There is always pressure at the end of a project to reduce commissioning time. However, the interdependency dimensions of any project are financial, time and quality. Each one of these dimensions affects the other dimensions. If you shorten the programme time, then it will either cost more or the quality (of tests / commissioning) will be compromised. If you try to reduce the cost of it (cutting corners), again the quality will be compromised and you will certainly have delays. And finally if you compromised the quality (why would you?) it would cost less and shorten your programme. But bearing in mind that commissioning is proving that what has been designed, will actually work in practice, in whose interest is it to compromise commissioning?

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Don’t be held back by your legacy data centre

Posted By Felicia Asiedu, Infinity SDC Ltd, 21 September 2015
Updated: 21 September 2015

We live in the age of the nimble and agile challenger. Or to put it another way, companies using the latest digital technology to disrupt markets, deliver better services and steal market share from larger and more established rivals.


Equally, though, we live in the era of hugely successful business giants who dominate their chosen markets at home and abroad and many of them have a dark secret. Hidden away behind closed doors, in locked rooms they run their operations using “legacy” IT systems, many of which date back thirty years or more to the days when mainframe computers ruled the roost.


For the most part, these venerable systems run anonymously in the background, processing payroll for government departments, running record systems for health providers, managing procurement for manufacturers and handling billions of pounds worth of transactions for City institutions. Then one day something goes wrong. A bank fails to process direct debits, or benefit payments are delayed. At that point the legacy IT systems (still used by a surprising number of major organizations) step to the front of the stage as critics round on hardware and software combinations that are no longer fit for purpose.


Legacy systems are firmly embedded in the world’s business eco-system. For instance, here in the UK, companies such as John Lewis and Tesco run their operations using old mainframes. Perhaps more surprisingly, according to a recent report in Information Age, mainframes process about 30 billion transactions for the world’s banks, each and every day.

 

The bigger picture – escaping the legacy mindset


But it’s not just about mainframes. Arguably you can define legacy IT as any aging system that is being pushed beyond its originally intended design limits in order to cope with the transactional demands of the modern world. Perhaps it is also difficult and expensive to maintain due to a shortage of suitably experienced engineers and programmers. Certainly it will hold the organization back.


And that last point is key. A legacy system might be based around a 30 year old mainframe, it could be an aging ERP solution, or it could be a data centre that is no longer delivering what the organization needs. The common factor is that its limitations are feeding through to impaired performance.

 

Caught in the headlights


So why do we still see so many legacy systems fulfilling business critical roles?


Well the short answer is that change is difficult. There are certainly risks associated with maintaining legacy systems. In recent times we’ve seen flight disruption thanks to problems with an aging air traffic control system and a large financial institution’s reputation damaged by a computer failure that locked down customer accounts. But there are also risks in upgrading. Transferring data from one system to another is a huge task for a major company. There is a fear that data will be lost and that services will be disrupted. Best to stick to the stable and reliable devil you know then.


Is there really a choice?


Take the banking sector.  Analysts are already warning that incumbent banks will lose out to challengers with better systems. To remain competitive, major institutions must replace their legacy systems. To a greater or lesser extent the same is true in all sectors. What’s required is a strategy and a willingness to take some short-term pain.

 

An opportunity


And a strategic rethink creates opportunities not just to improve legacy systems but to also review and upgrade every aspect of IT.


Data centres provide a case in point. It was common, ten years ago, to provision a vast numbers of racks all supplying low level power (around 1kW) in order to run old machines that did not need much more than a steady supply of electricity.  Fast forward to 2015. To replace a high quantity of legacy equipment an IT manager can now purchase a single piece of hardware, usually in the form of a blade server, to do a better job than all the other equipment combined. The only snag is, those low powered racks will no longer do and all of a sudden, the IT manager now needs maybe 20x times more power and cooling and 10x less space than 10 years prior.


Another issue that can be slightly daunting is the need to forecast for years of business activity to buy the right equipment and take the right amount of space and power from day one.  The lack of flexible space, power and contract terms afforded by many data centre providers can often deter major businesses from taking steps forward with their IT.  But with the right partner, it shouldn’t be a worry.


For a major company, a change from one solution to another is not something to be undertaken lightly but within the context of a much broader strategy that will see significant increases in efficiency, there is a real opportunity to work together to plan for a change to a data centre that can provide improvements in terms of costs, reliability, resilience, security and flexibility.


In a competitive marketplace, all aspects of IT should be fit for purpose. Making the necessary changes requires an escape from the legacy mindset.

 

Tags:  data centre  server hosting  upgrade 

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The true cost of energy is not being charged

Posted By Robert Tozer, Operational Intelligence Limited, 21 September 2015

Our carbon debt is accruing interest.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that the atmosphere can take another 1000 Giga tons of CO2 before we reach our target of 2ºC of global warming. If our current rate of emissions remains static, this threshold will be reached in 30 years and no further CO2 emissions can be released.

We are releasing emissions at an unsustainable rate; there is some debate over whether the impact of a 2 degree temperature rise is too great; depending on the exact eco-system tipping point, the anticipated consequences include extreme weather conditions, severe droughts, floods, water shortage, food shortage, social unrest, mass emigration, riots and financial meltdown; we will be at war with ourselves fighting for survival.

US president Barak Obama recently said that this is the first generation to notice the effects of global warming and the last generation to be able to do something about it. I agree, the consequences will be personal and extreme.

I believe we got to this situation due to an open loop control issue, we use way too much energy and we are not charged for the environmental consequences of it. If energy costs were say 10 times greater, we would think twice about: flying, driving, heating / cooling set points, insulation, leaving lights / computers on, etc., etc. Then we might have some money for research and development of renewable energy, and reduction programmes of energy use and embodied environmental impact of products and systems.

Tags:  disaster recovery 

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Containment Systems: a disappointing outcome!

Posted By Robert Tozer, Operational Intelligence Limited, 17 September 2015

I have visited too many sites where I am assured that air management is well under control because an air containment system has been installed, only to find disappointing results in many cases. The objective of containment is to segregate the hot and cold air streams, to minimise recirculation (exhaust IT equipment hot air re-entering intake) and bypass (cooled CRAH air not making it to IT equipment and returning directly to the cooling units). There are two fundamental issues: firstly, even with a perfect containment system, the amount of air supplied needs to be controlled to satisfy all IT equipment requirements, and secondly, containment is only part of the segregation solution.

There is a very simple way to check if there is enough cold air being supplied.  In the case of cold aisle containment, open the cold aisle door slightly and verify the air flow direction with a sheet of paper. If air is coming out of the cold aisle, there is a slight oversupply of air to the cold aisle (which is fine), however, in many cases hot air is entering the cold aisle, which means that there is insufficient air supplied, making recirculation inside the cold aisle inevitable. This can be due to incorrect type and number of floor tiles or simply insufficient air volume from the CRAHs. There are some very simple and rapid methods / metrics to diagnose air management based on temperatures, etc. such as Af (Availability of flow) which is the ratio of CRAH air volume to IT equipment air volume. Normally a slight oversupply of air (with a small amount of bypass) is better than undersupply (which causes recirculation). A large oversupply of air is an energy opportunity, whereas a large undersupply of air will inevitably lead to considerable hot spots.

The next concern is the quality of segregation between hot and cold air streams. The metric defined as Air Segregation Efficiency = 100% (ideal) when there is zero bypass and zero recirculation. The important concept here is that we are trying to create a physical barrier between the cold and hot air streams, for which we use a containment system. Most containment systems (excluding butchers curtains) are very hermetic. The issue is regarding the other segregation areas which are not part to the containment system, such as the raised floor where you can have unsealed cable cut-outs and floor grilles in the hot aisles or the front of the rack where there is a lack of blanking panels between IT equipment and gaps at the sides.

Whilst I am all for containment, the reasons why it is being installed need to be fully understood and monitored in order for its objectives to be met.

Tags:  Cooling  Datacentre  Date Centre  efficiency  energy-efficient computing  ICT 

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Never Stop Learning

Posted By Jason Liggins, Ark Data Centres Limited, 14 September 2015

I came across an interesting article the other day that discussed the advancement in data centre technologies, highlighting that the rapid pace of change has enabled those of us in the industry to learn a lot from what worked and, importantly, what did not.

Information technology is an industry experiencing huge growth and innovation is its beating heart. The computing infrastructure that underpins the services of enterprises and the internet are all located in data centres. Each new computer model can do more than the last, but at the expense of more electricity and generated heat. The heat comes from the computers’ CPU; nearly every watt of electricity that goes into a computer generates a watt of heat.

To give you an idea of how much heat is generated, a domestic oven typically uses about 2kWh. A rack of data centre computers (servers) new in 2015 will generate ten times that - (20kWh) 24 hours a day. A large data centre of such servers might generate 10MW of heat every hour. That’s equivalent to 5,000 ovens.

Part of the job of a data centre is to take the heat away from the computers. Across the industry we have learnt a lot about how not to do it. Traditionally, the industry has cooled data centres using refrigeration technologies, but this can be like an oven in reverse, using as much electricity to cool as the IT itself uses – to extend the analogy, 25,000 2kW air-conditioning units. This is obviously wasteful, and the environmental impact of the IT industry, including data centres is a concern to us all.

At Ark we decided it was not enough to navel gaze at what we had collectively learnt in the data centre industry. It was time to look elsewhere at other industries, and see what lessons they had learnt.

The oven analogy is still useful. Industrial kitchens set up to feed thousands of people in one sitting don’t use refrigeration to get rid of heat, they do the industrial equivalent of opening the window in our kitchen at home. At Ark, we do something similar: We use an invention that mixes waste heat with outside air to recycle the energy and bring the cold UK air up to the temperature that modern servers expect to intake.

Careful and considered air management is hugely important for infection control in hospital operating theatre and intensive care units. Traditionally air management in data centres has not been great. There is so much heat involved that it has been akin to working in a wind tunnel, a freezing cold wind tunnel when combined with refrigeration. Cold windy operating theatres are not a feature of our hospitals, another lesson to learn for data centres.

The revelation that other industries have something to share does not stop there. Ark innovatively brings a suite of lessons learnt to its data centres. Industrial logistics, assembly line processes and modular construction have reduced two-to-five year building construction times down to under four months, allowing Ark to build just ahead of demand and incorporate the latest technologies as it goes.

We’ve also drawn on experiences from the utility sector when it comes to billing, only paying for what you actually use and contracting using incentivised design and build framework agreements.

In short, learning, thinking out of the box and doing things differently – and better – is second nature to us at Ark. You can borrow a lot of clever ideas from other industries, and that’s what we, and our trusted partners, have done. The result: wholesale data centres that are literally twice as efficient as any legacy data centres out there, saving our customers money, and saving the environment.

Innovation is perhaps one of the compelling reasons why the Cabinet Office chose Ark as its joint venture partner for Crown Hosting Data Centres, and why organisations like the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice, Boeing, and others are also making a move.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. So, we’ll keep pioneering better technologies, and we will keep those ideas coming.

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5 Best Reasons to choose an online back up on VPS or Cloud.

Posted By Suhaib Logde, 12 September 2015

Cloud back up is an online data storage option. If the data is lost or damaged due to some misfortune, it can be easily retrieved with the help of online back up through Cloud hosting services. The data is stored in cloud server at remote data centers and can be accessed from anywhere using the secured user login. It enables the secure data back up as the users no more need to store their data on physical disk or drives.

5 Reasons to choose an online back up on Cloud:

Secured: Online backup on cloud is highly secured because the data is encrypted before storing into the cloud vault. And the user is given the code for decoding the encryption and thereby accessing the data. So, online cloud backup service protects the mission-critical business data.

Agile: Accessing data with online back up on cloud server is very convenient, which was earlier not there because the external storage devices had so many hassles- from carrying them along, careful handling, risk of virus infection to damages due to physical reasons. While online cloud back up allows you to access your data simply by logging into your account from anywhere, anytime, connecting to the remote cloud server data centers.

Affordable: Online backup through Cloud hosting services incur lesser costs than the traditional backup and storage devices like CD ROMs and external disks and drives.

Eliminates the limits of traditional back up machines: Traditional CDs, DVDs, pen drives and other external drives were very much susceptible to getting lost, easily got corrupted due to virus infection or some physical mishandling. Besides, on getting obsolete it could get un-readable and data may even get damaged and irreparable.

Reliable: Agile, affordable, encrypted data and secured login solutions by online cloud back up makes it extremely reliable.

Reasons to choose an online back up on Virtual Private Server:

Self-managed: FTP backup feature on VPS server also enables self-managed scheduled backups for securing users' data.

Secured: Online backup on Virtual Private Server comes with Secured FTP login which makes it highly secured as it encrypts the data.

Affordable: The costs involved in online back up on VPS server is very less especially compared to traditional backup devices.

Scalable: Besides, online backup on VPS is easily scalable. For increasing storage needs, the data backup services are expandable with enough bandwidth.

High Performance: This reliable and secured online data back up on VPS allows the users/clients to focus on their prime business, resulting into better performance and better results.

Tags:  cloud hosting  Data Centre  dedicated servers  server hosting  vps server 

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How to protect micro data centres and individual defined high risk cabinets in data centres or co-location situations

Posted By Andy Billingham, EMKA (UK) Ltd, 09 September 2015
This white paper by our MD Andrew Billingham is a must read for managers of small data centres as it addresses the issues involved in physical protection of valuable or sensitive data, right down to the level of a single server cabinet.

Andrew asks the question: “How secure is secure?”

According to the most recent studies, only about 20 percent of data centres are secure, leaving an overwhelming 80 percent at risk. It is likely that small centres are at the high end of this range. Fortunately there is wide commonality among Data Privacy Directives in that when boiled down to their essence, data privacy rules and regulations all seek to accomplish the same thing. Government regulations and non-government standards invariably ask four basic questions regarding access to sensitive information:

• Do you have safeguards in place to control access to sensitive data?

• Are you able to continuously monitor who is accessing sensitive data?

• Are you alerted in real-time when information is being accessed without authorization?

• Can you produce an audit trail showing who has accessed sensitive data and when they accessed it?

It’s important to remember that “access” within the context of these questions means physical access as well as network access, and that specific requirements for controlling physical access exist in all rules and regulations concerning the protection of private or sensitive information.

The Cabinet Sentry with biometric processing at the cabinet handle is reviewed as a best practice solution.

The full white paper can be downloaded at www.emkablog.co.uk/cabinet-sentry.

Tags:  biometric processing  cabinet sentry  data centre security  EMKA  server cabinet security 

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Cool ways to beat the heat

Posted By Steve Webb, Ark Data Centres Limited, 08 September 2015

Recently, Computer Business Review magazine reviewed the top cooling trends in the data centre space. And that got me thinking.

It sounds obvious, but if you’re looking for ways to cool down your data centre, then it makes sense to keep the future in mind.

With IT upgrades happening every nine months to three years, your cooling solution will need to be able to keep up with the pace of change that comes with higher density computing.

In other words, the solution you choose must have technology capable of adapting to ever changing IT power requirements –because a rack that today may only need 4kW of electricity, tomorrow may need 10+kW.

Losing sight of this could prove a costly miscalculation, as you’ll find yourself needing to regularly update your cooling technology to match the pace of change in IT power consumption.

And that’s important if you want to ensure efficient and reliable operation of mixed density racks – from 1kW to in excess of 30+kW – side-by-side.

Employing an appropriate cooling solution – coupled with highly sensitive real-time monitoring technology – makes it possible to undertake the rapid deployment of higher rack densities with no negative impact on existing racks.

This is a good thing, because applying some careful thought to the application of the right cooling technology can significantly extend the flexibility of your data centre room. This makes it possible to cope with whatever future additions and changes may be on the cards.

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EURECA invites Public Sector Data Centres to come together to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance.

Posted By Simon Campbell-Whyte, 25 August 2015

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Member Sponsorship and Discount Opportunities

Posted By Kelly Edmond, 24 August 2015

The DCA continues to work with leading publications and strategic partners around the world to find innovative ways in which its members can reach out to new prospective customers.

The Data Centre Alliance often through collaboration secures media sponsorship and discounted opportunities.

As DCA members there are special discounts which can be taken advantage of: 

 

Member Sponsorship Opportunities –

MediaPlanet UK Legal Technology Campaign

MediaPlanet UK Financial Technology Campaign

Today’s CIO DC Special Edition

 

Member Discounted Opportunities –

DCD Europe Converged Discount

Tags:  dca members  discount  opportunities  sponsorship 

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Google loses data as lightning strikes

Posted By Amber Farrant, Future-tech, 19 August 2015

See our Engineering Director James Wilman featured in today's BBC article - discussing the impact of lightning strikes on data centres 

Google says data has been wiped from disks at one of its data centres in Belgium - after it was struck by lightning four times.

The strikes resulted in permanent data loss in a small fraction of Google Compute Engine (GCE) storage systems.

Some affected disks later became recoverable. But some hardware which is more susceptible to power failure suffered irreversible data loss.

Data centres often need extra protection from lightning, say experts.

In an online statement, Google said that just 0.000001% of disk space was permanently affected.

"Although automatic auxiliary systems restored power quickly, and the storage systems are designed with battery backup, some recently written data was located on storage systems which were more susceptible to power failure from extended or repeated battery drain," it said.

The GCE service allows Google's clients to store data and run virtual computers in the cloud. It's not known which clients were affected, or what type of data was lost.

The company said it would continue to upgrade hardware to improve data retention and improve response procedures for system engineers during future incidents.

Unlucky strike

While four successive strikes might sound highly unlikely, experts say that lightning does not need to strike a building in exactly the same spot more than once to cause additional damage.

Justin Gale, project manager for the lightning protection service Orion, said lightning could strike power or telecommunications cables connected to a building at a distance and still cause disruptions.

"The cabling alone can be struck anything up to a kilometre away, bring [the shock] back to the data centre and fuse everything that's in it," he said.

And James Wilman, engineering sales director for the data centre consultants Future-Tech, added that while data centres were designed to withstand lightning strikes via a network of conductive lightning rods, it was not impossible for strikes to get through.

"Everything in the data centre is connected one way or another," he said. "If you get four large strikes it wouldn't surprise me that it has affected the facility."

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Your area of expertise and interests

Posted By Administration, 19 August 2015

Dear all members, 

We have created two new tabs for your profile - 'Area of expertise' and 'Area of interest'. 

We have created these for us as the DCA to better understand and serve our members, but also to enable you to connect with other members who share similar interests and needs. This will also enable end users to find you and vice-versa.

It is a multi-select box that can be accessed when you log into your profile under 'Manage Profile > Edit Bio'

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Membership Executive at kellye@datacentrealliance.org.

Tags:  data centre  end users  expertise  interests 

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EUCOC Oct Update Meeting

Posted By John Booth, Carbon3IT, 13 August 2015

Its thats time of year again, the annual update of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) which will take place in Ispra, Milan, Italy on the 6th October 2015.

The invitations have already been sent out to interested parties but due to a lack of space at the EU JRC not all participants and endorsers will be able to attend this year, and some of you may not have received your invitation.

That said, both Simon Campbell Whyte (DCA) and myself have been invited and will be attending, therefore if there are any DCA members who wish to pass on any observations, comments or suggestions for new best practices, the retirement of old ones that are no longer relevant or indeed items from Sections 10 & 11 of the code that should be upgraded, please get in touch before the 30th September and we will collate all your thoughts and present them to the committee.

Our Energy Efficiency steering group will provide feedback and information at our next meeting which is on the 17th November 2015 at the UEL (more details will be sent out closer to the event), please note that we always try to colocate with an industry event, and in this case it is DCD Converged which takes place the following 2 days at ExCel London.

We look forward to seeing all our members at the event.

Tags:  EU CODE of Conduct 

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Europe's small firms are making a big impact

Posted By Lucie Frideling, Digital Realty, 05 August 2015

 Blog written by Rob Bath, Digital Realty VP Global Solutions. 

In almost every industry sector, attention tends to focus on the largest players, but often this is not where the real action is happening.

Across Europe, start-up firms are redefining categories and providing stiff competition for incumbent operators. If you want to see the future, watch the small players at work.

The evidence of the growing power of start-ups is everywhere. In many countries ride-share firm Uber has come from nothing to be a serious rival for established taxi companies. More recently, start-ups such as Stockholm-based Spotify, London-based Shazam and Berlin-based SoundCloud have changed the rules when it comes to digital music.

While success is to be admired, the typical start-up faces big challenges during times of rapid evolution and growth. Attracting seed capital, developing a business plan and getting offerings to market are huge tasks that take both time and experience to complete.

Attracting and retaining talented staff is another big challenge. With start-up numbers growing by the week, finding the skills needed to get a particular business off the ground can be very difficult. Many firms offer share options or other financial incentives yet still find themselves battling with rivals for the very best of the talent crop.

One London-based firm, Entrepreneur First, is taking a different approach to the challenge by recruiting talented IT specialists directly from university and then matching them with an appropriate start-up. According to the company, it has already supported the creation of more than 40 successful firms.

Meanwhile, cities across Europe are racing to position themselves as start-up hubs in an attempt to attract fresh talent and investment. They're hoping to foster a Silicon Valley-like ecosystem of small firms that feed off each other and create long-term value for their country.

For example, in the Netherlands monitoring group Startup Juncture calculates some 75 small firms attracted investment of around $US560 million in 2014, helping to establish a vibrant business ecosystem. Indeed, both Netflix and Uber have opted to place their European headquarters in Amsterdam.

To support their bullish plans for growth, start-ups must also have the right IT infrastructure in place. Where once this would have required significant capital investment, now many are opting to embrace outsourced and cloud-based resources and take more of a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ approach.

Rather than investing in expensive CRM and ERP systems, start-ups can make use of on-demand offerings such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite. For those requiring compute and storage resources, capacity can be rented from a range of cloud providers.

Because such technology is critical for a start-up, ensuring it's housed in a purpose-built and well-managed data centre is vital. Any disruption to core applications or data loss could be a disaster to a small firm enjoying a rapid growth rate.

A start-up should check the credentials of a data centre partner carefully before retaining them as part of the team. Do they guarantee appropriate levels of performance and redundancy? How secure are their facilities? Do they ensure that smaller private IT deployments are interoperable with public clouds together with providing provisioning automation to and between these cloud environments?

Because start-ups are likely to initially only require modest resources, the ability to co-locate equipment within a secure data centre facility is also important. Rather than paying for space that's not required, start-ups can increase their floor space as business grows together with supporting burst capacity requirements in public cloud environments.

Effective data centres should also have robust connectivity with other facilities. This will allow a start-up to readily shift data between geographic locations as well as take advantage of the rapidly growing range of cloud services. The mix used can evolve as the business develops and forms the foundation of a hybrid cloud strategy.

Start-ups have the potential to reshape the European business landscape and, with proper planning and execution, many may very well achieve this goal. The appropriate blend IT infrastructure pools will greatly enable them getting there.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Start-ups; data centre 

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DCA Journal - September Feature

Posted By Kelly Edmond, 21 July 2015
Updated: 21 July 2015

Dear all Corporate Partners & Members,

In the September edition of DCA Journal published in DCS UK and Europe, the DCA will feature'Research & Development' as the main topic for articles which will be published early September 2015.

A popular subject within the member base, this is a good chance to put your point of view in the limelight with a short article.   

Should you wish to contribute and submit an article please contact me at kellye@datacentrealliance.org. As a guide we will be looking for 600 to 1200 words, together with author image plus any other accompanying imagery/artwork. All editorial copy must be educational, impartial, topical and of a “thought leadership” nature, and not overly biased to the author’s organisation. It is also important,where possible, to detail the role the DCA plays or could play in relation to your chosen subject matter. 

We would like to point out that there is no additional cost in you submitting an article – as it is part of your DCA membership!

Deadline date for articles is the 31st July 2015

Thank you for your continued support and please don't hesitate to get in contact should you have any questions.

With Regards

Kelly Edmond

Membership Executive

+44 (0)845 8734587

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Why Knowledge is Power

Posted By Stephen Hall, Ark Data Centres Limited, 21 July 2015

At Crown Hosting Data Centres we believe that knowledge is power. It’s the reason why we give all our public sector customers comprehensive infrastructure reporting on every aspect of their data centre operation.

Delivered in a dashboard format, these monthly Management Information (MI) reports are packed with insights into the efficiency and performance of your data centre –it’s a bit like a detailed breakdown on everything from equipment capacity, availability and loading, to the amount of power consumed by cabinet.

All of this delivers significant advantages for every agency or department we work with, regardless of size - especially when it comes to demonstrating carbon savings.

As you’d expect, Crown Hosting Data Centre agreements come with a huge number of environmental considerations already built-in.

For example, all Crown Hosting Data Centres employ the best of breed energy efficiency technologies that deliver compliance with the HMG Greening Government ICT strategy and EU directives for all our government and public sector customers.

And of course, all Crown Data Centre contracts come with a fixed power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating that at a stroke minimises your power utilisation by 50% compared to industry norms.

But with detailed MI at your fingertips, the theoretical at last becomes measurable and tangible.

So you can see exactly what level of reliability you’re getting, how much energy you’re consuming, and get a sense of what equipment isn’t being optimised – so you can take the decision to switch off what’s not needed or being used.

Armed with powerful MI, you’ll be able to hit green targets while lowering costs, and increasing scalability.

Indeed, some of the organisations using Crown Hosting Data Centres today tell us they’ve seen a two-thirds cost saving against their previous cost base. Less power usage equates to less carbon - and that’s good for everyone.

Tags:  crown hosting  Datacentre  dc operations  hosting  knowledge  power 

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The E-Factor

Posted By Steve Webb, Ark Data Centres Limited, 16 July 2015

Ahead of a new report on the UK market, I was having a conversation with an analyst group very recently. They seemed keen to know about our data centre capacity and locations. 

My response was factual as you might expect, but I also explained to them, that in the modern world of data centre procurement, it’s all about energy - the E-Factor. And that’s because in the data centre talent competition, the intelligent buyer looks beyond size and sale price in isolation.  

Efficiency and energy are the biggest differentiators. That means efficiency, long-term sustainability, carbon reduction commitments, buying and managing energy (green, brown and blue) smartly.  All of these things are critical because they have such a huge impact on the total cost of ownership (TCO). 

And it’s TCO that should be the deciding factor when choosing a data centre campus and provider. Unfortunately, the TCO is not always easy for people to calculate, not least because some vendors are clouding the real issue with distracting and not always relevant detail. 

The setup can also be complex. Perhaps a property manager owns the real estate asset and pays the business rates and rent. The IT manager worries about maintenance and security, and a facilities manager is managing the energy contract with the energy supplier(s). Oh, and someone else owns the telco routes. So who is responsible for efficiency?

While there is a lot of data centre capacity around, a lot of it is quite aged - particularly in the London market. And with in excess of 80MW available in London for example, it’s no surprise that this creates a pricing war.

As a result, it can be very difficult to understand which data centre option delivers the best value to you the customer. One thing is for sure – at Ark, we will help you understand what your energy consumption and operating costs really are. 

In terms of pounds, shillings and pence and also in carbon tons, we will provide the lowest TCO because our data centres are simply the most energy efficient. For most of our customers energy contributes 40-50% of their data centre operating cost, and that’s why at Ark we are focused on both building and operating extremely efficient and economical data centres and then procuring and managing the electricity smartly to ensure that the energy efficiencies are maximised and not lost in the energy supply contract.

So, when it comes to locations, capacity and pricing it’s important to remember that yes, you can probably find a cheaper rent elsewhere. But, when you take into account the total costs and sometimes ‘hidden’ add-ons including set up fees, power, carbon taxes, etc., the Ark proposition gives you the lowest TCO by a long stretch.

Just compare one of our data centres with a legacy site. For every MW of IT demand we are saving on average 6,000 tons of carbon and over a £1 million in energy costs per year. That’s because they are modern, purpose-built from the ground up to be data centres and not IT infrastructure that’s been shoehorned into a busy piece of real estate.  But this is not all, because we are committed to ongoing, defined and measurable energy efficiency improvements we have Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) for our data centre campuses. 

The summer budget announced on 10/07/2015 removed the Climate Change Levy (CCL – a carbon tax) exemption from all green energy supply contracts from August 2015.  This means that if you are contracted to buy green energy (at Ark we are committed to the green agenda) your bill will go up by 0.5p/kWh from next month, that is unless your data centre has a CCA.  The CCA provides a 90% rebate on the CCL tax as well as a rebate from the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC - another carbon tax), together these rebates are worth more than 1.3p/kWh of electricity consumed, or more than 10% on your electricity bill. 

The E- Factor is not just about efficiency, it is about energy too.

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