From the substation to a data center

That sounds like a security jackpot for every data center operator: direct connection to emergency call authorities. Security and camera surveillance 24 hours a day, every day. Reinforced concrete walls that do not collapse even if a small fan gun hits them directly. But like everything in life, this medal also has a downside: Up to 1,000 amperes flow one meter below the floor and supply entire streets with electricity. Nevertheless: badenIT in Freiburg decided on exactly this location for its new data center. As a subsidiary of the southern Baden energy supplier badenova, badenIT was able to access its existing building - and, together with proRZ, quickly transformed the storage room of a substation into a data center par excellence. 

BadenIT GmbH is a medium-sized IT service provider. Its portfolio includes private cloud services, IT outsourcing, SAP as well as data center and telecommunications solutions. In addition, the company has its own fiber optic and copper network in Freiburg and offers broadband connections. As a wholly owned subsidiary of badenova AG & Co. KG, badenIT is also committed to energy saving and energy optimization. As part of an energy efficiency analysis by the proRZ, it became apparent that the company's data center is not an insignificant consumer in this regard. At the same time, it became clear that there was a need for action not only in terms of energy, but also in terms of safety. In order to secure, maintain and expand the existing infrastructure, a second, new data center was to be created - geographically separated from the first, in an existing badenova building. “The control room that controls and monitors the energy flows is located in the badenova network control room. There is also a substation for the energy supplier at the site, which converts 110,000 volts to 20,000. Ralf Held, Head of IT / TK Services at badenIT, he was commissioned to implement the project: 

"The almost 400 square meter storage room of the substation seemed to us to be a good basis for the physical security of the data center."

"Since the switch house supplies numerous households with electricity, it is correspondingly important and secured: intrusion alarm systems, video surveillance, 24-hour control of all critical functions. The solid reinforced concrete walls of the building can even withstand the crash of a twin-engine turbo robot," explains Ralf Held Power supply for the data center is naturally available. It comes directly from the 20,000 volts of the substation via two transformer stations. In addition, an emergency power system with 630 kilovolt amperes and 4,000 liters of fuel can maintain the power of the data center for around 45 hours. However, it was more important to ensure whether a data center in a storage room of a substation can be realized at all. After all, massive power lines run one meter below the floor, with far-reaching consequences for fire prevention and extinguishing as well as facility management. With the help of a tender, badenIT found one Partner who can support and accompany the development and implementation of the data center from a single source: proRZ, a company of the DATA CENTER GROUP from Wallmenroth. As a general contractor, the full-service provider of physical IT infrastructures has taken over the complete planning, implementation and maintenance of the data center area. 

“It was important to us that we have a central point of contact. The DATA CENTER GROUP was known to us from other projects and impressed on site with its know-how. "

Ralf Held (Head of IT / TK services at badenIT)

The company first analyzed the situation in detail. A measurement of the magnetic field density showed, for example, that normal server cabinets would increase the electromagnetic effect of the power lines, which is why non-ferromagnetic racks were used. In addition, a completely new IT strategy could be implemented through two locations: New technology replaced the existing storage system at both locations. In addition, all physical systems that had to be touched in the premises during the move were virtualized.

Finally, badenIT relied on a high-availability security solution from RZproducts, a sister company of proRZ. The decisive factor was that the individual existing trades in the QuartzITe room could be flexibly and individually adapted and integrated into the existing building structure. The IT systems are located in their own security cells: a backup room with around 18 square meters and two UPS rooms of eleven square meters each and 200 kilowatts of power. The data center is located in a separate fire section. 32 server cabinets, each with 42 height units, are housed on around 75 square meters. The air conditioning system occupies eight racks in the data center. The InRow precision side coolers with 31 kilowatts each are supported by three chillers with 122 kilowatts each and six indoor air conditioning units with ten kilowatts each.

The complete room-in-room solution has fire protection with fire resistance F90 in accordance with the DIN 4102 standard and EI90 in accordance with EN 1363. In addition, it complies with the limit values ​​of EN 1047-2 for temperature rise and relative humidity for at least 30 minutes. Held:

“In addition to the actual power requirement of the IT equipment, which is subject to very little optimization potential, the main part of the power requirement is for cooling and power supply losses. "

He continues: "Taking the IT growth into account, we wanted to reduce the electricity requirement for the use of ICT in the data center on a sustainable basis and at the same time pay special attention to energy-intensive areas. Chillers for cold generation and InRows for cold distribution For example, they are subject to a complex control process that has to be monitored in the case of constantly changing framework parameters and, if necessary, corrected. "

Therefore, the proRZ also used a solution for sustainable energy management. The monitoring tool DC-ITMonitoring determines all relevant key energy figures, creates transparency for consumption and system operating modes and visualizes them. This means that badenIT can not only uncover optimization potential in energy costs and guarantee the availability of its IT infrastructures. The company can also use the data to develop a long-term strategy that increases the energy and resource efficiency of the data center. This would also be certified by the “Blue Angel for energy-conscious data center operation” environmental seal, which BadenIT is also striving for.

However, building a data center is only part of it. The subsequent operation of the infrastructure is just as important in terms of functionality and, in particular, operational reliability. In general, the processes of ISO 27001 and ISO 20000 apply to the operation of the data center. Operators must therefore continuously maintain the systems and adapt them to changed operating conditions. As the installer of the system, it was therefore obvious to commission proRZ with the maintenance of the building technology, which handed over the task to sister RZservices. Because within the DATA CENTER GROUP, the company takes on maintenance and energy monitoring and thus supports proRZ customers in the management and operation of their data center.

"In proRZ we have found a competent partner who has implemented our requirements for a modern, future-oriented data center infrastructure."

As part of this maintenance or proactive maintenance, abnormalities are reported to badenIT by data center services. In addition, suggestions for measures are submitted or in some cases implemented immediately. To this end, the data center services checks all the trades in the data center infrastructure except for the primary energy supply and the backup system. The maintenance measures and cycles depend on the type of trades and systems. These are the IT security room systems, the electrical management including distribution and electrical installation as well as the air conditioning, cold water outside, ventilation, UPS, fire, fire alarm and fire systems earliest ­ detection ­ system. “We placed the order for the data center in January. Before commissioning, proRZ tested all systems individually and the data center as a whole in a load test. Nevertheless, we were able to accept the data center in July, ”says Held.

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