Since 1967, LAND-DATA GmbH with headquarters in Visselhövede, has been rather successfully supplying software and peripheral services to tax-advising chancelleries, accountancy offices, and agricultural operations. Focussing especially on unconventional tax-related questions in agriculture, the company with its 70 employees has become the leading software provider for agricultural accountancy.
To date, LAND-DATA supports 4,500 users and manages the accountancy data of more than 110,000 agricultural units as well as commercial operations, tendency upwards. It is with this background that the security of delicate data had to be seriously addressed. The prime principle of protecting this data is of the utmost concern for LAND-DATA GmbH. Therefore, an IT solution just had to be found that would cover the needs of not only today but to see them well into the future-safe & secure.
Facts and figures
• Branch: IT services for agriculture
• Size: 30 m²
• Outdoor data center
• System-tested room-in-room
• System in accordance with EN 1047-2
• Project timespan: October to December 2011
When entering the modern office building at company headquarters in Visselhövede, Lower Saxony, it is clear to see that LAND-DATA is on the way forward. The same goes for information technology which in the past had grown-up inside the building, looking like it had taken over, threatening technical & logical security. Already in the middle of the 80ies, there was a data center on the company premises, which did in fact house a large computing system. The course of time saw LAND-DATA updating IT environment with a series of adaptive phases, until the sheer physical & technical capacity had reached its limits. “The data center grew with our growth, as is the case with lots of other companies.
Eventually the time comes when the data center no longer complies with fire, smoke and water damage regulations as stipulated by our security demands, not to mention our clients. In connection with a redundantly equipped second location, in which data architecture is completely mirrored, the high-performance data center offers LAND-DATA and the agricultural scene a real head-start over the competition”, says Andreas Kanngießer, responsible for technical infrastructure at LAND-DATA. An initial step in the direction of high availability of its IT was made by the company just 3 years ago, when a second data center was erected near to the main building, thereby mirroring the whole database in real time.
The trouble was the main data center was past its best. After a feasibility check for an expansion of the existing space was carried out, the decision was made in the middle of 2011 by top management and IT controllers for the erection of a new data center based on the latest technology available, to be able to keep ahead of increasing demands on data protection & security. Further goals were energy efficiency, system stability as well as image-enhancing architecture. “Naturally, our first thoughts were to modernize, i.e. extend the existing data center. As this would involve unnecessary effort and would be inefficient on the hosting side of things, we went for a new construction” commented LAND-DATA Managing Director Dipl.-Ing Andreas Baldamus.
“We communicated through all phases on an eye-to-eye basis, from planning through to completion."
The prerequisite of being able to provide continued access and flexible exchange of sensitive data was put at the top of the priorities list for IT security. It was here that LAND-DATA was to take on board the expertise of service provider Data Center Constructionwho is specialized in non-partisan, interdisciplinary manufacturer-independent planning & realization of data centers and server rooms. Working together with a local builder, the IT infrastructure specialist was able to complete what can be described as a truly high-tech data center which even optically meets the exceedingly high demands on security. In the form of a windowless, black glazed cuboid block, the architecture contrasts perfectly with the existing LAND-DATA building nearby. It´s almost futuristic, the way this 6 x 6 x 12m structure symbolizes the innovative force of this market-leader in the field of agricultural accountancy.
“It requires more than a bit of courage and fantasy to put such a structure in the middle of a park-like landscape, but we have been complimented by such positive feedback from partners & clients, we feel rewarded for our boldness.” were the words from Managing Director Andreas Baldamus, responsible for the whole operation. Reasons for working with Data Center Construction as IT specialist for the security cells inside the structure are described as follows by Andreas Kanngießer: “We communicated through all phases on an eye-to-eye basis, from planning through to completion. Our vision was crystal clear. Data Center Construction transformed this vision with the right competence and know-how; it was uncanny, from the first meeting we got the impression we were onto the right people here.”
In addition to real cost-effectiveness and rapid reaction times, what really led to the awarding of contract were 2 factors, one was the quality of technical advice relating to energy efficiency & the concept of keeping ahead with the whole technical infrastructure of the building. The other being exemplary cooperation on all levels. Planning & implementation all under one roof were important for Andreas Kanngießer and his team. Likewise, they placed great value on the fact that the partner not only carried out the planning and determined possible measures, but also took responsibility with them for realizing the new construction. The new data center at the company´s location in Visselhövede underlines the commitment of LAND-DATA to maintaining trustworthiness, availability, and integrity with all physical & electronic information material of the company and its clients. In the optically pleasant appearance of a conventional F-90 constructed system, the servers of this highly modern data center sit inside a security room which guarantees the high availability desired.
The room-in-room system protects the server racks which form the heart of the company´s operations. “It was paramount to us that in case of fire, all constructional components still functioned with another, so that servers & data would not be damaged and continue functioning. This was the deciding factor in going for a room-in-room system” explained Andreas Kanngießer. In order that damage to supply technology has no negative effect on the servers, both areas are arranged separated from each other. Additionally, the entrance to the building & entrance area were secured via safety access control unit. Door frames are tailormade embedded into the façade and so hide the electrical supply, stopping nonpermitted access to the inner room. Access to the 30m² server room is controlled by a fingerprint system.
Installed between entrance zone and equipment room is a Novec 1230 extinguishing unit, the appropriate control unit, the fire alarm system as well as conduit leads for feeding the ventilation units. Ventilation for the air conditioning was cleverly solved: The core of the ventilation concept includes 2 DC side coolers in addition to an energy-saving heat input housing. Both units are assigned 2 completely independent cooling systems which operate in a range from 5kW up to 35kW per unit. This solution offers the power for 4 ventilation units and requires the space for only 2. “We preferred to make use of the space for additional IT racks than for infrastructure, and that reduced the costs per height unit of rack space.”
“That´s the way forward!”
Andreas Kanngießer lays special value on the fact that the new RZ solution is tried & tested as well as being in line with EN 1047 certification. “Our company philosophy revolves around and is driven by innovation; we rely on stability and resilience against failure of our technology. Our goal is that the data from our partners & clients remains completely with LAND-DATA within the framework of server hosting and to enable location & time-independent and high-security access without failures”. The new outdoor data center is not only optically pleasing. Even the construction and structure reflect the irection in which this company in Visselhövede is heading. “We don´t want to find ourselves reaching our limits in the next few years, better is the concept of increasing server capacity flexibly and according to needs.
That is exactly what we have achieved here with this data center solution” comments Kanngießer, taking stock of events. LAND-DATA lives not only from developing software- but also in principle from hosting IT infrastructure: “that´s the way forward!” As an independent specialist design company, Data Center Construction posesses an experienced team of architects, engineers, technicians, and businesspeople. Long-term & comprehensive practical experience in the world of IT & building physics have placed us in the position to offer you professional know-how in the evaluation, planning, construction and running of a server room or data center. Our philosophy is to procure customized solutions for individual clients, and thereby define demands on availability.
Our specialists accompany & support in the fields of IT availability, security, as well as optimizing operating costs - fully neutral and not acting for any specific manufacturer. Our spectrum of services encompasses consultation, planning and realization of data centers, server rooms and outdoor IT centers (containers) in all sizes. Furthermore, we offer complete support in planning towards certification of a data center or in the financing of a new IT infrastructure. With 100 employees and in excess of 1,000 references in the construction of server rooms and data centers, we can supply our clients with not only standardized but also individual solutions – solutions customized to individual needs. Turnkey is even a popular option.