04 October 2017

New generation of data centre resilience

The announcement today that B2, the first of NEXTDC’s three second-generation facilities, is the first Australian data centre – and the first Asia Pacific colocation data centre – to receive Tier IV Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF) from Uptime Institute, has drawn back the curtain on some exciting developments in the Australian data centre industry, and reflects the growing demands placed on data centre operators for continuous uptime, scalability and connectivity.

B2 is the first Australian data centre – and the first Asia Pacific colocation data centre – to receive Tier IV Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF) from Uptime Institute, the world’s leading independent data centre advisory and certification organisation.

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Uptime Institute’s Tier IV is the peak of the Tier Classification System and builds on the Tier III Standard for concurrent maintainability, already held by NEXTDC’s P1, M1 and S1 data centres, which means the facilities don’t require shutdown for any equipment replacement and maintenance, and no disruption to the customers’ infrastructure.

Building on innovation

The new facility is a generation beyond anything else the Brisbane region has to offer, with the exceptional service resilience and power density to fulfil organisations’ need for 100% IT service continuity and increasingly power-hungry IT infrastructure. B2 features multiple redundancies in critical systems, an extremely robust power distribution system designed in-house, and clever separation of power and water utilities within the facilities.

NEXTDC has developed a highly reliable and low-risk power distribution system uniquely combining Penske Power Systems high performance MTU diesel engines with Piller’s unique Rotary Uninterruptible Power Supply (RUPS), all connected on the Isolated-Parallel Bus electrical distribution scheme (IP-Bus). Even if one of the RUPS or engines experiences performance issues, the others automatically increase their output, ensuring that power can be delivered wherever it is required.

“Enhancing the strategies used in their Tier III data centres, in B2, NEXTDC haves achieved Australia’s first Uptime Institute Tier IV Constructed Facility Certification and globally, the first Tier-Certified data centre with a Fault Tolerant N+1 redundant IP-DRUPS electrical system.” John Duffin, Managing Director, South Asia, for Uptime Institute.

Whereas many Tier IV designs rely on a significant increase in redundant infrastructure, B2 only required an additional extra RUPS unit (+1) to be added to the number of units required to support the facility (N), for the electrical system to achieve a Tier IV level of fault tolerance.

Keeping a lid on cost and complexity

By combining cutting-edge technologies with innovative engineering and design, NEXTDC is building its second-generation facilities to Tier IV fault tolerance standards, at almost the same cost as a Tier III facility.

“One of the things we have learnt by studying Tier IV around the world is that it doesn’t have to cost you more. As a simple example, for B2 we installed and designed the water pipes outside the building for B2, freeing up multiple rows of additional racks. By putting the pipes outside the structure, we achieved catastrophic leak tolerance by default.” NEXTDC’s Head of Engineering and Design, Jeff Van Zetten.

This design feature maximises the available data hall space for customers and helps deliver a data centre that can maintain customer services in case of a rare, unpredictable event that would cause many facilities to shut down.

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“Our first-generation data centres are also incredibly close to Tier IV already,’ said Van Zetten, commenting on the range of features that distinguish Tier IV facilities. “We already have the entire cooling system supported by the Piller rotary UPS system, they are continuously cooled. We have already started fire segregating the generators and UPS rooms.”

Harnessing company-wide ingenuity

According to Simon Cooper, NEXTDC’s Chief Operating Officer, creating a Tier IV data centre like B2 is the result of ingenuity and coordination among the teams involved in designing, building and operating NEXTDC data centres.

“Over the last two years we’ve matured a lot in terms of working cross-functionally. From a design perspective, Engineering has had the opportunity to learn from our experienced Facility Management, Customer Operations, IT and Development teams. We’ve also become more responsive to market pressures and the needs of our customers, which has allowed us to streamline and optimise the way we do things, and deliver huge benefits to our customers and partners.” NEXTDC’s Chief Operating Officer, Simon Cooper.

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Stage 1 of B2 offers an initial IT capacity of 2MW across 1,200m2 of technical space, which will grow to total IT capacity of 6MW across 3,000m2 of technical space at full fit-out and target a PUE of 1.25. NEXTDC has plans for a second building development on the existing property (Stage 2) to eventually double that IT capacity to 12MW.

If you’d like to know more about Piller’s Isolated Parallel UPS System, check out the videos on their website. For more information on Uptime Institute Tier Standards, have a look at the excellent article Explaining the Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System by Matt Stansberry, Senior Director of Content and Publications at the Uptime Institute.