May be you do not know that the industry-wide colocation Vietnam Hanoi standards were not established until 1995.
It is the time when “Tier Classifications Define Site Infrastructure Performance” is created by the Uptime Institute. With that document, the data center (DC) industry had guidance around how to connect DC uptime with business delivery. Within the Uptime Institute’s tier system, DCs are assigned classifications based on performance of core infrastructure elements.
The Uptime Institute is not the only purveyor of the standards. The Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) also contribute the blueprint that DC operators follow as they build and design their facilities. They also offer a methodology for comparing the capabilities of different DCs, along such metrics as operational procedures, levels of energy efficiency, redundancy and fault tolerance.
The conventional wisdom is that DCs that follow the standards will achieve their operational goals, all while minimizing waste and reducing costs. However for some DCs, strict adherence to industry standards can no longer be to their ultimate benefits.
One prominent example of innovation paying dividends focuses on a colocation provider that, in 2010, went to consider the Uptime Institute’s standards around the way Uptime had prior to 2010 to show how to achieve similar Tier IV statistical availability in favor of an alternative design. This led to savings – for a generic 1,000 m2 DC – topping out at €3.3 million in construction and replacement CAPEX, as well as nearly €250,000 in annual energy cost savings.
New standards to meet new demands
Today, DCs see efficiency as more of an imperative than ever before because they are managing input from an increasing in connected devices, and they want to support more data-heavy computing activities. Cloud, big data and social media mobile – it is all made computing environments much more complicated. Everyone knows that 90 % of the world’s data has been made in the last two years. All that data needs to be stored and managed somewhere.
It is against this backdrop that in-house DC managers should be upgraded facilities to ones that are future-ready, even amidst declining operational budgets. What usually happens then is that DC managers fall back on industry standards during build process, but what many not realizing can be inadvertently creating for themselves less efficiency and higher costs. Many probably do not realize that the efficiency they lose in trying to follow the standards is totally preventable.
Design excellence is within reach, but the equation does not need to include line-by-line compliance with industry standards provided that all regulations are met. There are ways to innovate beyond these standards, while maintaining high availability and reducing operating costs.
What a next generation DC looks like
Time and again, innovations in DC design – beyond those that standards call for – have been proven to generate efficiency in a facility’s operation, from the millions saved in OPEX and CAPEX to continued high availability. Particularly among colocation providers, which can roll in the newest efficiency-generating improvements to the multiple large-scale facilities they build annually, the benefits of deviating from industry standards can be considerable.
For example, while the TIA recommends pre-action sprinkler systems, innovative DCs have instead turned to new methods like gas suppression for fire protection. The systems manage fires are more efficiently and less likely to damage IT infrastructure. Some DCs have also stopped using PVC-coated cables and emergency power-off systems.
As these examples show, it is possible for DCs – even those that do not match the scale of web-scale companies like Amazon or Facebook – to go beyond industry standards to reduce costs and increase efficiency, all while maintaining security and high availability. Savvy enterprises that choose colocation providers who are emerging as industry leaders in challenging the norm to innovate upon typical build and operate demands will gain all the benefits.