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Will Volcanic Ash Impact Your Data Center?

by ISG

Volcanic ash continues to disrupt travel and business across continental Europe without predictability, while also compounding environmental and climate change issues. IT executives globally are pausing to reconsider whether their existing data center facilities can stand the test of time and the ever-more-frequent tests of nature making headlines almost daily around the world.

Here are the TPI Top 5 considerations for IT executives looking to determine the efficacy of their current data center facilities:

1. Air contaminants and RF interference: Frequent breakdown of critical IT equipment in the data center facilities (e.g., due to oxidation of motherboards) have often been tracked back to the contaminants in the ambient air. Contaminants such as SO2, NOX, NO2, O3 and lead react with some of the components of IT equipment (primarily silicon) affecting their performance. Such contaminants may be carried by chimneys of upstream industrial units, which are usually missed without a detailed assessment. Similarly, radio frequency (RF) transmission from nearby mobile or TV towers may interfere with the performance of network equipment.

2. Soil composition: Since resilience to earthquakes is derived from the resilience of the bedrock, sampling of the soil from the data center facility provides an informed view of the structural composition of the soil. Additionally, one should investigate if the area was previously a swamp or used as a landfill, which in turn compromises the bedrock’s resilience. Soil sampling also aids in detecting any contaminants that may have spread from nearby landfills, municipal sewage treatment works or industrial drains.

3. Building structural stability: Commensurate with the subsurface profile and the expected Tier level (per the Uptime Institute or TIA-942) of the data center, the expected structural strength of the building can be derived. Contrasting this with your building’s current structural stability should indicate any need to fortify the building structure.

4. Assessment of flood patterns: Understanding the susceptibility of the site to any impact from coastal, river, surface, or drain/sewer water better informs the remedial measures that need to be adopted. Any required measures should also consider factors such as the accessibility of the site for evacuation and measures needed to ensure operational continuity.

5. Scalability of shared infrastructure: In a co-located setup, the cooling and power infrastructure is frequently shared across multiple clients. The ability of the installed shared infrastructure to continue to support the demands of multiple clients― either on account of business demand or adoption of advanced technologies (e.g., blade servers) ― determines how much runway the facility has left to support your operations.

The pre-Socratic Greek philosophers and Vedic Hindu thinkers believed the world constitution and fundamental powers were derived from four classical elements – Earth, Water, Air and Fire. These may just be the things to watch while reflecting on the robustness of your existing data center in light of the vagaries of nature.

TPI’s seasoned experts can help you achieve your IT Infrastructure and global sourcing goals through objective advice, knowledge of your industry and experience with arrangements from simple to complex.

E-mail Gaurav Kumar, Senior Advisor, TPI India, or phone him at +91-99451-99951 to learn more.