Safe Harbour seems more like a rough sea

The impact of last months’s unexpected referendum result is yet to be fully defined, however it is likely to affect all of us in the data centre world and possibly acerbate some of the challenges ahead. The issues around the ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement is just one example of the confusion that we are facing, and are likely to continue to face, in the coming months.

It was last October that The European Court of Justice ruled that the “Safe Harbour” agreement, which was designed to provide a “streamlined and cost-effective” way for US firms to get data from Europe without breaking EU rules, was no longer valid. The result following the ECJ decision was several months of confusion and in some cases panic before the Privacy Shield Pact was introduced instead. The main difference is that US companies can no longer rely on self-certification and must seek to strike “model contract clauses” in each case. These agreements will then authorise the transfer of data outside of Europe.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU means that we will no longer be bound by decisions of the ECJ and we are likely to have to create our own regulations. However I don’t believe we should ignore its findings or the views of European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli, who criticised the Safe Harbour’s replacement describing it as ‘not robust enough’ and needing ‘significant improvements.’ The UK will need to factor these in to ensure that its citizens’ personal information remains safe.

There is no doubt that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has added instability to an already uncertain market. Before the results of the referendum were known CBRE’s quarterly review of data centre supply and demand in Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris, reported that the amount of data centre space taken up during the first quarter of 2016 was well above average leaving spare capacity in short supply. In fact the amount of spare data centre capacity in four major European cities is at its lowest level since the end of 2013, as cloud providers respond to user demand for locally hosted services.

The report suggests that this is in part due to the uncertainty surrounding the successor to the Safe Harbour US data transfer agreement which is motivating more IT infrastructure firms to consider data centres in Europe. Whilst this is understandable it is likely to increase costs which will ultimately be passed along the supply chain.

At Keysource we are working closely with our clients who are affected by these issues and helping them to continue to operate cost effectively and remain compliant during this difficult time.

This was originally published on Data Centre Solutions blog on the 6th July 2016.

Keysource is selected to design and build new critical data centre

Keysource, the expert in business critical environments, has been appointed to design and build a new data centre for a leading pharmaceutical company at its production site in the North of England. It will replace an existing, ageing facility and will underpin the critical services being delivered to the business for the next 10 to 15 years, saving over £250k in energy costs.

The location for the new data centre will be an existing IT services office. The Keysource team will strip this room and make any health and safety, as well as aesthetic refurbishments, before installation commences. The project will be completed under live conditions so that the existing data centre and staff working at the campus are not disturbed while construction takes place.

Designed to be concurrently maintainable, with N+1 critical cooling and power the new data centre will also be highly efficient, fully utilising the ASHRAE recommended temperature range. In addition, an environmental monitoring system will also be deployed.  This system will allow provided real time insight across the data centre environment allowing cooling to be further optimised.

Mike West, Managing Director at Keysource concluded,

This new data centre will be developed in line with the latest regulations and industry standards. It will not only guarantee long term reliability and availability of critical services to the business but ensure they are delivered in a sustainable and efficient way, thereby maximising the return on investment.

Design for operation is the key to success

When customers are looking to build a new data centre, they often lose sight of the operational aspects of the facility.  ‘Design for operation’ is an  approach which focuses on the long term running of the facility when considering the initial design and one that we, as an industry, should be championing. Richard Clifford, Data Centre Consultant at Keysource explains.

Data centre standards

Whilst there are some good standards in our industry around data centre design including the Uptime Institute’s established Tier system, there is very little guidance in the market around the actual operation of a facility.  The Uptime Institute have introduced their Management & Operations (M&O) Stamp of Approval but it is relatively new and is not compelling for consultants and specialist contractors who are not involved in the ongoing management of the data centre. This means that organisations need to manage their risk carefully or they may end up with an expensive facility that is expensive to run and not fit for purpose.

The data centre design tenders and contracts we’ve seen rarely reference any kind of operational or FM standards and I would go as far to say that in many cases they are not considered at all. This can be for a number of reasons, the main one being that often the team that is tendering and procuring the data centre design is not the one that will be responsible for operating and maintaining it and these teams have not been consulted.

Importance of early engagement

Having over 30 years of experience designing, building and then operating data centres and other businesses critical facilities, we always encourage different stakeholders, both internal and external, to be part of the process from the outset, as we feel that this delivers the best results. This early engagement is key as not having all the stakeholders involved may mean that the team fails to consider the design implications on the maintenance requirements, Total Cost of Ownership or understand the risks around downtime as they often don’t have a specialist subject knowledge. This can be a key challenge for public sector organisations or SMEs where cost is the key driver and in-house resources are scarce.

The importance of this cannot be overstated and companies need to ask themselves operational questions, such as whether the design can continue to support the critical business services under maintenance conditions and how the maintenance will be undertaken? Can the design help to streamline the ongoing operation of the facility reducing risk and cost? For example does work need to be delivered out of hours, or can it be done during normal working hours thereby reducing servicing costs.

The design and build team may not understand the resilience factors but the FM teams will know that the data centre cannot be taken offline, and that concurrent maintainability should be considered as part of the solution.

The future of the data centre design

As an industry we need to put more of a focus on ensuring that data centres are ‘designed for operation’ and the team responsible for maintaining and running the facility is engaged from the outset.

Bringing together multiple stakeholders is always a challenge and it will need the industry to work together and be more open and engaging to share best practice and insight.  We should remember that the life of the data centre could be up to 25+ years and by taking a little more time in the early stages organisations can  ensure that the design will meet their requirements operationally and provide the best value for money at the lowest risk

Originally published by Digitalisation Word 

Keysource awarded major contract to design nationwide network of data centres throughout China

Chayora, a Hong Kong-based data centre infrastructure company, has chosen Keysource as its lead design consultancy partner for a nationwide network of world-class, licensed data centre campuses in some of China’s most important cities. These will enable international online companies to effectively access the vast and rapidly developing Chinese market, providing the most reliable and assured route to business engagement in the region.

It follows last week’s announcement that Chayora Holdings Limited has reached an agreement for Standard Chartered Bank Principal Finance to become the lead institutional investor in Chayora, securing a strategic minority stake and providing equity funding for key data centre development projects.

Under the terms of the deal, Keysource will be responsible for delivering strategic design advice and site master planning in the initial phase. Leading the design team, Keysource will then work with Chayora and its customers to deliver designs in accordance with client requirements, site plans and in country codes.

The fully enabled, state-of-the-art, licensed data centre campuses will be constructed in key locations across China – initially in Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, offering a range of options such as Powered Land, Built-to-Suit, Assured Scalability and Wholesale Colocation

All Chayora sites have fully provisioned power from grid and direct feed renewable sources, and are fibre-connected to world-class standards, ready for data centre construction and immediate connection to the domestic internet. The campuses are very large creating technology districts in key cities.  For example in Tianjin, it is anticipated that up to 12 data centres will ultimately be constructed on the Chayora campus amounting to around 3.5 million sq ft of buildings, with around half that total in white space.

Commenting on the announcement Mike West, CEO at Keysource, said:

“This project builds on our growing experience in Asia, which will undoubtedly become the world’s largest data centre market. It is testament to the proven quality of our design consultancy and understanding of the global data centre market. This is a highly vibrant market and we believe we have the skills and expertise to continue to deliver outstanding results here.”

Oliver Jones, Chief Executive at Chayora, said:

“Keysource has been selected to provide services for Chayora based on the company’s unrivalled and proven capability to deliver world-class facilities. They have a strong understanding of our clients’ needs and are able to quickly translate business drivers into deliverable projects. Keysource has demonstrated a passion for engagement in China, understanding the regulatory environment whilst respecting cultural differences. This has underpinned the successful award of our first two Data Centre Operator’s Licences as part of the wider technical and commercial team.”

About Chayora: Chayora Holdings Limited is a Cayman Island company and is the 100% owner of Chayora Limited, headquartered in Hong Kong which develops large-scale, world-class designed and operated, long-term scalable data centres and data centre parks in China. Chayora serves global Fortune 500 companies and premium Chinese data centre users offering cloud services, ICT services, financial services or other services offerings relying on intensive, high quality data centre infrastructure in China.

Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust select Keysource for Data Centre Infrastructure Review

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has appointed Keysource, the expert in business critical environments, to review its data centre infrastructure. This will involve benchmarking the data centres at each hospital to ensure the significant investment the Trust has made in its IT infrastructure is protected.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust provides healthcare to 258,000 people across Southport, Formby and West Lancashire and the ongoing security and resilience of its data is a key consideration. Under the terms of the deal Keysource will also provide a clear strategy that will meet the Trust’s future data requirements, reduce running costs and minimise the risk of potential downtime. A further report will look at options to enhance the resilience and availability of the site.

The Keysource team will assess the critical power, distribution to the racks as well as cooling, monitoring and general layout of the data centres. The review will be conducted while the infrastructure is live so that critical services provided by the hospitals are not interrupted in any way.

Matt Connor, Head of IT at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said,

“We were looking for a partner who could help us to deliver industry best practice standards throughout our data centre estate and Keysource had the best credentials. We were both impressed and reassured by their approach from the outset and look forward to working closely with the team.”

Mike West, Managing Director at Keysource, added,

“This contract is the latest addition to our healthcare portfolio and further builds on our extensive expertise in the sector. We understand the challenges faced by public sector organisations in terms of resilience and cost and are ideally placed to help them meet their objectives.”

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