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to provide a “streamlined and cost-effective” way for US firms to get data from Europe without breaking EU rules, was no longer valid.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 launches new consultancy business – Business Critical Solutions

The Keysource Group has today announced the launch of a new independent consultancy business to support CEO’s, CIO’s and CTO’s facing the increasing challenges within the mission critical sector. Key customer targets for the new business include colocation, wholesale, cloud, technology and education providers, as well as corporate end users across the world.

Business Critical Solutions Ltd (BCS) will deliver a range of independent consultancy services designed to provide a holistic view across all IT assets and property, aligning them with the business strategy and customer needs. It will enable companies to maximise the value from their IT, utilising their asset portfolios to gain strategic advantage and agility.

Other objectives will be to ensure that an organisation’s future growth and investment is enhanced by liberating value in existing low performing assets, and also to mitigate the risk and liability of complex delivery contracts. The business will be headed up by two recognised industry leaders, Jim Hart and Scott Shearer who will have access to the 100+ business critical specialists across The Keysource Group.

Jim has specialised in mission critical facilities such as data centres, mission critical infrastructure and secure installations for the past 15 years, specialising in global roll out strategies and programme formation with a total of 30 years in the technology and real estate industries. He has delivered projects for global technology clients including Digital Realty, Global Switch, Tesco, HSBC, NAB, JP Morgans, Serco and Barclays. He was previously a Partner at Arcadis.

Scott has specialised in M&E cost and project management for 20 years with an expertise in mission critical environments since the first dot boom. He has successfully delivered high profile data centre fit out and new build projects on time and to budget for Digital Realty, Reuters, Barclays, HSBC, Global Switch, JP Morgan and Infinity.  Scott was also previously a Partner at Arcadis.

Jim Hart, CEO at BCS, said: “

There is no doubt that significant digital disruption has already happened and having the right IT and data centre strategy is key for enabling growth in this new digital era. The impact on the mission critical sector is far reaching, creating a rate of change never previously experienced and resulting in increased demand for agility, flexibility, faster delivery and more efficient operation.”

Scott Shearer, COO at BCS said:

“In simple terms, our team of highly skilled and experienced consultants will be providing solutions to problems that are keeping CEO’s, CIO’s and CTO’s awake at night, helping them to enhance their operations through innovative tools and techniques.”

You can find out more about Business Critical Solutions on their website.

How effective is PUE as an industry standard for measuring data centre efficiency?

(This is our final blog in our PUE series)

When measuring efficiency in the data centre PUE gives us a starting point but, as with most standards, does not necessarily meet all the needs of the industry. Although we’ve touched on some of the limitations of PUE in our previous blog, it’s important that data centre specifiers and managers are aware of the challenges of using the PUE metric as an indicator of overall efficiency and are not mislead by some PUE claims.

Calculating the PUE metric takes time and effort and although the guidelines are very specific, it can be challenging. As we close off our series on PUE here’s our top five list of points to note when looking at PUE figures:

  1. Collection of Data

The time of day, the points at which the monitoring takes place, and the frequency that data is collected all influence the PUE results and make it very difficult to have an accurate comparable PUE indicator. There will be spikes in loads at different times in the day and even different times in the year. A simple example is that on the hottest day of the year more cooling is going to be needed than on the coldest day of the year. (See the full list of requirements on our first blog – What is PUE and Why is it Useful?)

While yearly results can help at an overview level, the ideal is to have continual daily monitoring to get a genuine impression of efficiency in a data centre. This can be quite an undertaking for a data centre manager and is more suitable to some environments than others.

  1. Partial PUE

Different data centre settings need different metrics. PUE is based on the premise that the data centre facility is only used as a data centre and does not factor in that other departments might also share space in the facility. It does not work well with the business model of data centre services or colocation providers either when they are not operating at maximum design capacity.

This has resulted in the Partial PUE metric that allows the active data centre zone to be measured instead of areas not being actively used for data centre services. This means that the partial PUE will indicate how efficient a data centre is at part or low load which is imperative to data centre services companies, (see our blog When is PUE not PUE).

  1. Miscalculating and Misreporting

Some managers find it difficult to understand the PUE metric and may report a PUE value of less than 1.0. This is impossible to achieve because all energy will have an output of at least 1.0 and therefore anything lower is not achievable.

Not all reporting is accurate because some of the aspects of the data centre have been excluded for example, calculations have been based only on the cooling system.  Or in the case of modular designs only the electricity supply within the modular environment has been measured rather than including the electricity points actually supplying the electricity to the modular unit.

  1. Non Comparable

Although PUE can provide an overview of how a data centre is performing over time, the complexity of the calculations and different data centre environments means that comparing the PUE across data centres is not very meaningful. To make useful comparisons, we need to look at the PUE calculations and reporting in detail.

  1. Limited scope

Efficient sourcing of energy is not included in the metric so energy-saving generation measures such as cogeneration, waste-heat re-use and local power generation are not reflected in the PUE value.

In conclusion, while PUE is a useful indicator, it is not a case of one-size fits all and analysis needs to be tailored so that it is relevant to the individual data centre environment. Correct monitoring and management, that are able to drive actionable insight are required to deliver real efficiency cost savings. You can find out more about our monitoring solutions here

Keysource hosts customer event in London

Yesterday Keysource hosted its latest customer event with exclusive use of the basement bar at the New Moon pub in Leadenhall.

Joined by 60 or so of our London based customers we booed, cheered and then cheered again as we watched England beat Wales 2 – 1.

Our competition to guess the minute the first goal was scored (42nd minute) was won by James Macdonald – Congratulations! Enjoy the Champagne and an England shirt will be winging its way to you next week!

It was a fantastic afternoon and we would like to thank everyone that attended and hope to see you at the next one!

Keysource opens new London Office

Following on from the recent announcement of Keysource’s international work in China, the company is now proud to announce the opening of its new office in the heart of London!

Located at 99 Bishopsgate, just a two-minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, the new premises will supplement Keysource’s current portfolio of offices in West Sussex, Hong Kong and its highly secure 24/7 managed office in Woking.

Keysource is the leading provider of turnkey solutions for data centres and business critical environments from consultancy through to on-going operation. With over 30 years’ experience working across all sectors, its expert in-house teams continue to deliver industry-leading solutions for multiple organisations across the globe.

Stephen Whatling, Managing Director – CAPS at Keysource said:

The business has seen significant growth over the past three years and we’re confident that the new London office will provide Keysource with a hub in Central London to serve our increasing customer base.

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