Interactive Data Center
Welcome to our facility in Saarbrücken. Use your mouse pointer to embark on a a virtual tour and discover and experience our thoroughly modern computing centre.
Secure power supply
TRANSFORMERS & DIESEL GENERATORS
Even in the otherwise reliable German power network, there may in extreme situations be outages which last more than a few minutes. In such cases not even separate power supplies are usually of any help, as the power normally fails over a large area, which is to say that all the lines are affected.
That’s why we decided to set up a complete and redundant substitute power supply: two large diesel generators coupled with two transformers take care of the power supply in the case of outages which persist for longer than a few seconds. The generators are pre-heated on cold days, so that they not only start within 60 seconds, but also reach their full output within that time. This performance is also tested at regular intervals, which is why our flues show evidence of activity once a month, when the generators are fired up for test purposes.
The fuel stock for the generators is sufficient for at least 24 hours of continuous operation with the computing centre running at full capacity. And if there should be a longer outage, we would in extreme situations, for example ice and snow, be given priority as regards further deliveries of diesel fuel.
Security from the very outset
EXTERNAL SECURITY AREA
Security doesn’t just begin at the lock chamber leading to the internal computing centre. It starts outside. The entire computing centre complex is surrounded by a sturdy fence and already protected in the car-park by means of access controls. What is more, the whole outside area is monitored round the clock by video cameras and professional security personnel.
These high security demands of course mean that our staff are trained in security matters; but they are also friendly and helpful at all times. So if you do ring the bell at our main entrance and are then issued with a pass and accompanied by one of our staff, you’ll have a chance to find out at first hand that we take security seriously.
The best connections
The connection to the outside world is made via several completely redundant glass-fibre cable runs. At network level the computing centre is connected directly to the the major Internet backbones, so that the systems operated here are optimally accessible from anywhere in the world. At physical level too, protection against failure is systematically implemented by means of redundancy and cable entries to the building which are physically separated from each other, as even the best computing centre technology is ineffective if the sole Internet connection is accidentally severed, for example in the course of road works. In our Saarbrücken computing centre, this dual physical connection ensures the uninterruptibility of operation even in extreme cases like that.
INTERNAL SECURITY AREA
The whole building is protected by a security system. This comprises not only a modern mechanical locking system, but also an electronic access control, monitoring and alarm system. All sensitive areas, especially the computing centre area, are monitored by cameras and sensors. Its outer walls consist of maximum-protection security glass which will resist even major forceful impact. If the very slightest attempt is made to set foot in the area without authorisation, highly sensitive vibration and motion detectors trigger the alarm. Apart from direct connections to the security service, the police and the fire brigade, our staff, who are trained in security matters, and our security clearance system, which is subject to restrictive management and regular audits, ensure that all the systems operating here receive the best possible protection.
On four floors, our main building, built to the most recent standards in 2008, houses some of our offices and the actual computing centre. Here you can see state-of-the-art computing-centre and facility engineering technology!
Thoroughly modern technology
INNER COMPUTING CENTRE AREA
In the heart of the computing centre, servers, storage and network systems are arrayed in standardised 19-inch racks and securely housed. Via the false floor, on which the whole of the inner computing centre area is mounted, all the rows of racks are supplied with electrical power, network connections and air-conditioning. Via two redundant three-phase busbars, each rack and each system is reliably and uninterruptedly supplied with electrical power. High-quality modern copper and glass fibre network components connect the systems redundantly with one another and with the Internet. All the racks are cooled in an energy-efficient way via cold-aisle containment. However, not only high-quality technology, but also its practised and professional handling by experienced and trained staff are hallmarks of this optimum computing centre operation. Based on exacting standards, all the systems are installed, inventoried and cable-connected precisely and conscientiously. Backed up by the uninterrupted automatic monitoring of all the functions of each individual system, our staff are available round the clock so as to be able to detect and rectify technical problems before they have time to develop any negative effects.
Secure power supply
UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLY (+ UPS ROOM)
Initially, two redundantly designed UPS cabinets with rectifiers and inverters are responsible for converting the externally provided alternating current into direct current. With this direct current the UPS batteries are charged and trained, or, in case of an external power failure, used to supply the direct current. The inverters in the cabinets reconvert the direct current to standardised 220V alternating current, with which the hardware in the computing centre is fed on three phases.
Most of the discontinuations in the external power supply are of the order of fractions of a second, usually perceived by the end consumer as a 'flicker' in the lighting. Brief outages of this kind, and also voltage fluctuations, voltage peaks and longer failures are all compensated for completely by this double conversion from alternating to direct current and back again. In this way, all the systems in the computing centre – independent of the external power network – are fed with unadulterated a.c. power.
Environmentally sound air-conditioning
HEAT RECOVERY SYSTEM
Wherever IT systems are operated in such large numbers as they are in our computing centre, waste heat is unavoidably incurred, and that heat needs to be dissipated by constant cooling. On the other hand, offices usually need to be heated. But why consume energy twice over, cooling on the one hand and heating on the other?
Our intelligent air-conditioning system builds a bridge between the two by using the waste heat from the computing centre to heat the offices. This works via an automatic room ventilation system, which keeps the temperature steady in the building as a whole. The heat recovery system replaces spent air from the interior of the building with fresh air from outside, but retains almost all the thermal energy within the building. On hot summer days, by the way, this also works with 'cooling energy'!
This ecologically sound energy management not only creates cost advantages, but was also recently awarded a 'green house number' for environmentally aware behaviour.
From the power supply and the mains connection, the dissipation of waste heat is also indispensable for the stable operation of IT systems, for any IT system produces heat as a matter of principle, and that heat needs to be dissipated reliably. This is the job of the air-conditioning systems which, like all the other operation-sensitive infrastructures, are redundantly designed. The heart of the modern air-conditioning system is the air-conditioning cabinets, which govern the temperature and the heat exchange. The temperature of the environmentally friendly coolant is constantly monitored and its circulation controlled between heat generators and closed-circuit coolers. The redundant design also means that all systems can continue to run uninterruptedly even during maintenance work.
Secure power supply
One pillar in the uninterruptible power supply consists of maintenance-free batteries with an overall weight of 6 tonnes. Housed in two shelf systems in the air-conditioned battery room, they are constantly trained by means of intelligent charging electronics, so as to be able to feed the computing centre with power uninterruptedly, even at full capacity, for at least 10 minutes if the external power supply fails. Since the external diesel generators reach their full output in just 60 seconds, interruption-free operation is ensured even in the case of prolonged power outages. The charging electronics and the ambient conditions in the battery room guarantee a maintenance-free working-life of 10 years. That reduces wear and tear and environmental pollution such as would be caused by battery replacement, and is another example of the ecologically balanced way we operate our computing centre.
Secure power supply
The uninterruptible power supply of the computing centre is built on three pillars: the normal mains power supply, short-term bridging by battery power and mid-term bridging by diesel generators. The low-voltage distribution is connected to the external mains network and the diesel generators, and ensures that the electrical power coming in from outside is distributed to the in-house electrics and – via the UPS cabinets in the adjacent room – to the computing centre. Like all the systems, the low-voltage distribution is designed redundantly. So the power supply is not only protected against outages. Maintenance work can also be carried out without any interruption to operation.
There are but few places where energy is as concentrated as it is in a computing centre. That means that complete protection against fire, which may for example be caused by a short circuit, is indispensable. Our computing centre is protected by a large number of measures for the prevention of fire or, in extreme cases, its rapid extinction. Even the tiniest concentration of smoke can be detected by our ‘very early smoke detection alert’, VESDA for short, in mere seconds, as in the whole of the computing centre area the air is continuously drawn off and its particle concentration measured with the aid of laser light. Furthermore, a fine network of sensitive smoke detectors is installed throughout the building. If a fire source is thus located, an alarm signal is sent to the fire brigade, who already have detailed information about the building so that they can cater to just such situations. The computing centre area is automatically flooded with non-toxic nitrogen by a state-of-the-art extinguishing system, which reduces the oxygen content of the air at a stroke to a level which will suffocate any naked flame, while operation continues uninterrupted.