To assess the safety of a data center

The security of a datacenter, is the security of your data or those customers. Do not be fooled by security pretexts, marketing often also, to avoid questions about the real conditions of operation and maintenance of your site hosting.

Data centers are the factories of modern times. They host Internet : websites, les emails, data and photographs of individuals ; but also corporate data. At the centralization of IT and cloud computing, they become the backbone of the digital economy. A failed datacenter, and thousands of people may be deprived of network, Phone, emails or data.
For all that, we do not know well their security. Often under the guise of confidentiality, some operators of data centers provide little information on their thermal architecture, electric, and failures encountered. This communication is rather made by users who have to suffer an outage. There is no standard defining the security of a datacenter.

Criteria based on the architecture of datacenters enable a private, l’Uptime institute, classify datacenters. They are categorized as « Tier I » to « Tier IV ». However, these categories are often used wrongly and without control by designers datacenters. Furthermore, they do not take into account new data center configurations and operating process.

To know the security of its datacenter, Here are some basic questions that it seems useful to ask their host :

Thermal safety is often the most overlooked element, and it is the cause of many failures. For a datacenter 1 MW computing power, if the cooling system stops working, this is 1 MW heat that builds up and raises the room temperature. How are cooled machines ? Is it a system of chilled water circulation in a false floor ? Is this ice water directly in the machines ? Is this recycled air conditioning and ? Cooling by ambient air ? What are the beaches outside temperature for which the system is designed ? What is happening in case of leakage of water if the water is used ?

It is necessary to check the fault tolerance of the cooling system. The network is it doubled ? Production units of cold are they redundant ?

– Electrical safety must be examined from the high voltage to the computer servers. How high-voltage electrical sources your datacenter he has ? high-voltage cables are they doubled, on two different courses ? A risk of fire exists on the high-voltage transformers : are protected against fire ? Are they lined ? Many data centers have only one general low voltage switchgear : Is this the case with your ? Computer rooms are they protected electrical brownouts ; that is to say is that the inverter is used continuously ? What are the procedures and maintenance of energy storage systems, Batteries such as ? How gensets been dimensioned ? Can they rescue all the datacenter or only the power of the computer ? What is the fuel reserve available ?

At electrical bays, how many power sources are distributed ? Is it different phases of the same channel, which is not a security ; or channels produced by separate inverters ? Computer servers are they connected to two separate sources ?

– The fiber-optic networks data center must be secure. How many conveyances optical fiber are present ? The optical fiber paths they are disjoint from one end : in the street and in the building ? points of presence until berries operator customers ?

Other security features may be considered : access control, video surveillance, fire detection, automatic fire extinguishing. A key element is the presence of staff on site : Security Officers, but also maintenance personnel, welders fiber, network and systems technicians. Procedures put into production, maintenance, SAV, penalty must be clearly defined and applied. For information on the quality of operations, a visit is helpful : the site must be clean and empty boxes should not be located in rooms. The access to the rooms and bays doors must be closed, well ordered and labeled wiring. Rooms, berries and technical areas must be clearly marked.

You can never be certain that an incident will not occur in a datacenter. However, it is quite essential to be very demanding vis-à-vis its host in terms of safety, availability and operating conditions. Safety is not to be walled in underground and excuse solicitor. Safety is first and foremost a question of resources and processes but also clear and transparent vis-à-vis its customers’ information.