Tag Archives: Amazon Web Services

What Are the Environmental Standards For Data Centre?

If you are assigned a design project for a data centre, it is essential to follow environmental standards for developing ideal conditions in offices and buildings. There are five environmental standards necessary for data centres:

Temperature Control
University of Toronto* researchers found out that servers do not necessarily sweat at higher temperatures. In fact, heat can cut the consumption of energy that is associated with cooling equipment. This finding actually supports yet another research by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE)**, who decided to increase recommended data centre temperature range from 20-25 degrees Centigrade to 18-27 degrees Centigrade. If particular type of server hardware is used, it is easy to control effects of temperature on equipment. Recently, new variety of heat resilient hardware have hit the market, having the capacity to work with no problems at 10 degrees warmer environment.

Humidity Control
It is foremost priority of data centres to keep humidity level in control. CRAC unit gaggle is perfect for constant airflow all through the room. Units work to pull in heat, cool it down and then pushing out through vents towards server. ASHRAE suggests 60% humidity level for 5 to 15 degrees Centigrade. When humidity level is too high, it generates water that could damage server hardware. Data centre designers need to design systems that have the capacity to detect water and humidity present in the surrounding area of equipment.

Monitoring of Static Electricity
Static electricity is one of the most serious threats in the data centre environment. Sensitive IT equipment could get damaged partially or completely with a 25 or less Volts discharge***. If issue is not resolved, the company could face problems, such as system crashes, dropped calls and data corruption. To check static electricity, there are specific equipments that are usually installed in positions where static electricity charges are largest.

Fire Control
Fire control is one of the essential environmental standards of data centre. In Virginia, e-commerce giant became fire victim**** in the beginning of 2015. Fire started on the roof top, and as a result, no injuries or damage were reported to Amazon Web Services. Fire protection system is part of the data centre standards. To get peace of mind, fire control system must be checked on regular basis to make certain that it works in emergency situations.

Systems for Physical Security
Physical security is an important part of environmental standards. Operators are directed to design a plan to keep unauthorized members away from server rooms, buildings and racks. Deploying security guards is not enough for physical security. There must be surveillance IP systems and latest sensors to inform relevant personnel when unauthorized party enters in server racks or building.

Data Centre Centralized Environment
Environmental standards make monitoring of data centre a very challenging task. Centralized systems that incorporate applications and software for server management, and that are capable of overseeing all features from one central location, is much preferred.

* — http://goo.gl/zCC7j
** — https://goo.gl/9rzz3q
*** — http://goo.gl/ofpzrk
**** — http://goo.gl/ewUje5

Mitigating and Avoiding Downtime – Part II

In Part I, we discussed the importance of having a service level agreement to keep cloud services available anytime, from anywhere in order to reduce downtime. If the service provider’s networks are available at all times, users need to worry only for their own infrastructure.

Having said that, however, downtime must always be monitored at all times using advanced network monitoring tools. Record of system outages or downtime should automatically be logged for analysis in real time. Admin should have the ability to enter identified names and email addresses in the system for notifications in case of failures.

Failover servers are programmed to seamlessly take over the service while repairs are carried out to correct the problems in the main server. In addition, help desks and trouble-shooting services offered by online backup services enable the customer to alert his service provider about any and every possible system difficulties that they may encounter in the use of the service. Backing up your data in the cloud has not only the benefit of safeguarding your data, but also minimising or eliminating the detrimental effects of down time for your company.

By putting your data in the cloud, you have the convenience that come with accessibility, scalability and mobility. In addition, you have protected your data from physical destruction, theft, natural disasters, operating systems and hard drive crashes. Cost savings, easy sharing and “set-it-and-forget-it” operations that comes with automated systems are additional benefits. At the same time, extreme care should be exercised in selecting a cloud based backup service provider so as to avoid any fly-by-night operators.

Small, medium and large enterprises use the cloud because not only it is effective and saves money, but also it mitigates downtime. Occasionally, cloud services might get interrupted for various reasons. Even Amazon’s AWS suffered downtime in the past.

To avoid downtime, it is suggested that you get a signed copy of the SLAs, have both on-premise and cloud services, perform a thorough risk analysis, and determine your true downtime cost per hour, which might not be an easy task as it requires complex assumptions and calculations. As cloud services are charged on “pay as you go” basis, calculating actual downtime costs becomes a moving target. However, other costs such as operational, salaries, connectivity, and so on can be figured out easily.

Downtime could possibly be avoided by developing a well thought business continuity and disaster recovery plans. It must be remembered that the cloud does not guarantee that you will have a 100% uptime services, rather, it mitigates the risks of downtime.

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