Secure IT Environments Finds 46% Unclear Whether Data Centre Energy Efficiency Has Improved In Two Years

Secure IT Environments has released the results of its most recent data centre survey. The survey found that 46% of respondents did not know whether their data centre had improved in energy efficiency over the last two years. 

Forty-seven per cent were however clear that their data centres had improved in efficiency over the last two years. Only 7% admitted that the efficiency of their data centre has declined.

Chris Wellfair, projects director at Secure IT Environments, comments: “It is surprising that so many organisations do not understand the energy usage and efficiency of their data centres, because it can tell them a lot about their infrastructure. Regular monitoring of key performance indicators across the data centre can not only improve efficiency, but lower costs, identify failing equipment and improve maintenance regime.”

The big worries

The survey asked about the biggest ICT worries respondents have over the coming three years, with the top concern (47%) stated as the ‘lack of budget available for data centre management and/or infrastructure upgrades’.

Energy efficiency was next with 33% stating they were concerned about their ‘ability to demonstrate improved ICT energy efficiency’. Joint third place (30%) was budget allocation for software and systems developments, and finding/recruiting qualified ICT staff.

Data breach woes

Forty per cent of respondents said they were more concerned than ever about the threat of a data breach, when asked about how security concerns had changed over last year. Twenty-four per cent felt that the security threats they faced had not increased, this despite increasing reports of DDoS and other attacks that have been much larger than anything seen before – some over 500Gbps in recent months.

Priorities with limited budgets

Security (38%) was given as the greatest priority for organisations when facing limited budgets, followed by the upgrade or ICT systems and infrastructure (29%) and maintenance of ICT systems and infrastructure (26%).

Chris Wellfair adds: “Security remains important to the data centre community, with data breaches the biggest concern. It is important that those with responsibility for personally identifiable information in data centres protect against internal and external risks of data breaches and remember that the physical protection of the data centre is as important as the online threat.”

The survey was conducted amongst 100 UK IT decision makers and C-level executives with responsibility for data centres. It was conducted in Q1 2017.

 

Featured in DCN April 2017

How to Measure and Improve your Data Centre’s Energy Efficiency

All IT data centres should be aware of the EU’s code of conduct for data centres, which provides a framework measuring and improving your data centre’s energy efficiency. As part of the UK government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), all data centres in the UK need to be assessed to ensure they meet the set standards.

We’ve put together this post on how to monitor and improve your data centre’s energy efficiency through real-time monitoring and by managing your data centre environment.

A truly green data centre.

How to Measure the Energy Efficiency of your Data Centre

The most effective way to measure your data centre’s energy is to implement a monitoring and reporting strategy. By installing energy monitors in your data centre, you’ll be provided with insights into variables such as the temperatures of your hot aisle and cold aisle systems, your carbon dioxide emissions and your overall energy consumption.

With energy monitors, readings can be taken manually or generated automatically, which can then be used to produce reports through energy and environmental reporting consoles. These reports can show how frequently equipment in your data centre is used, which then enables you to implement management systems to reduce your overall consumption.

How to Improve your Energy Savings

Alongside encouraging behaviour change within your organisation, the way in which your data centre is set up can have a significant impact on your energy usage.

Ideally, your data centre should be planned in such a way that your direct current is spread out across the server, so that any power spikes are distributed evenly over the whole system, reducing their overall impact. Other ways you can improve energy savings include:

  • Reusing waste heat from your data centre to provide additional heating to your office spaces
  • Choosing energy efficient equipment and distribution unites and making use of any energy saving features
  • Using more efficient IT software that doesn’t use as much energy
  • Consider what small changes can be made to reduce power usage, e.g. install energy efficient lightbulbs, heat water using urns instead of kettles etc.

In order to properly manage and improve your data centre’s power usage, you need to install smart software that can manage your whole data centre environment continuously and in real-time.

How to Demonstrate your Energy Savings

Data Centre Management systems like Sensorium can quickly identify where there’s excess energy being used and pinpoint specific areas, departments and even individual servers. Once improvements have been implemented, this holistic approach can then be used to measure the impact of improvements and provide you with real-time and historical data, which can be used as part of the ESOS assessment.

If you choose to take your energy saving efforts to the next level and gain ISO50001 Energy Management System accreditation, management systems like Sensorium will certainly come in useful. To gain accreditation, you’ll need to demonstrate how you use data to improve your energy usage, measure the results and work towards continually improving your energy management processes.

At Secure IT, with every project that we undertake, we are able to report and advise on all areas of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Data Centre Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE). This enables our customers to keep track of their ongoing energy costs and identify ways to reduce them further.

We pride ourselves on keeping up to date with changes in industry guidance, technology and accreditations so that your data centre is as energy efficient as possible.

For more information on how we can help reduce your data centre’s energy consumption, send us an email at enquiries@siteltd.co.uk, or call us on 01983 885 182.

How a ModCel Data Centre Can Combat Physical Security Threats

No EntryAt Secure IT, we specialise in designing and building secure I.T. environments in the form of Modular Data Centres. Our modular  data centres and containerised ModCel pods offer benefits that many traditional data centre builds do not.

We take physical security very seriously, so we’ve written this post to provide some guidance on how you can protect your Data Centre against physical security threats, including intruders and terrorism.

Internal CCTV Cameras

Monitoring your data centre’s external surrounding environment is a necessity and we’ve covered this topic before in our post Protect your Data Centre from Physical Security Threats. However, having an internal CCTV security monitoring system is equally as important.

A busy data centre will have visitors on the premises all the time and although having secure access systems in place should prevent intrusion, monitoring your data centre’s  interior will help prevent this further.

At Secure IT, our internal CCTV systems offer 24 hour recorded footage. We also have high definition CCTV cameras that can record colour and thermal images at night time. Our security cameras film at 360 degree angles, ensuring maximum security coverage.

Enhanced Security Access

It goes without saying but your Data Centre needs sophisticated lock mechanisms to prevent against intrusion and threats of terrorism. At Secure IT, our access control products include card-swipe entry systems and FOB keys, so that only staff members can access certain locations within the building.

Many Data Centre’s contain particularly sensitive data, so you may want to consider more advanced security access system. At Secure IT, we also provide more complex systems such as Iris Retina Scanners and Biometric Readers.

Modular Panel Protection

Protecting your Data Centre isn’t just about technology, it’s also about the building itself. At Secure IT, we specialise in building data centres from modular panels which offer the highest protection in and are approved for Government Agency assets against forced attack and bomb blasts to CPNI base and LPS 1175.  These panels also protect against fire and are independently tested to temperatures of over 950 degrees Celsius.  In the case of flooding or water damage from fire extinguishers, our modular panels don’t retain water in the same way as brick and plasterboard, which means a reduction in humidity which in itself can be very damaging to IT equipment. Given the number of terrorist attacks in Europe this year, more customers are looking for the levels of protection that our modular panel can offer. The system is so easy to install that even existing bricks and mortar data centres can be ‘lined’ with our modular panels to offer greater protection for the data centre with minimal disruption.

Whether your modular data centre needs internal or external protection, at Secure IT, we can assist in selecting the right products and systems for your organisation. For more information on how we can help, send us an email at enquiries@siteltd.co.uk, or call us on 01983 885 182.

How to Prepare your Data Centre for Power Outages

Power Generators

Power Generators

Despite a data centre’s best efforts to prevent power outages, sometimes they do happen. And when they do, you’ll want to make sure that your data centre is prepared and any disruption to your business is kept to a minimum. Here are out tips for preparing for data centre power outages:

Power Monitoring

One of the best ways to prepare for power outages is to monitor your power levels regularly. This enables you to act quickly if you notice a decrease in your power supply. By taking frequent power draw readings using data centre power monitoring tools, you’ll be able to track the power demand trends of your business.

Secure IT offers market leading  electrical system design and we offer a wide range of award winning power supplies and protection systems for modular data centres. Some of our products include Uninterruptable Power Supply Systems, monitored switchgear, monitored power distribution tools and back-up generators.

Have a Response Team in Place

In the event that your data centre does experience a power outage, efficiency is the key. You’ll want your IT infrastructure to be back up and running as quickly as possible, so assigning a dedicated team to deal with the situation is highly recommended.

Your team should be trained to deal with the situation and have a procedure in place should your power suddenly cut out. A fast response time and a well organised process are key elements to ensuring that your business operations don’t suffer.

Backup Generators

Every data centre should have a backup generator on standby and at Secure IT, we can advise you on the most suitable generator for your needs. Having a backup generator means carrying out additional maintenance and routine checks but the benefits of doing so are worth the effort. We advise carrying out the following weekly checks on your backup generator:

  • Check your oil levels and look out for oil leaks
  • Look out for signs of corrosion and address any wear and tear issues
  • Check that the coolant jacket heaters are working, especially in cold weather
  • Make sure there are no blockages in the generator’s exhaust vents
  • Ensure that the battery charger is working

At Secure IT, we can advise on and supply reliable Power Display Units for modular data centres. All our electrical installations are fully compliant with today’s standard: BS 7671.

What other tips do you have for preparing a data centre for power outages?

How to Know if Cold Aisle or Hot Aisle is best for your Data Centre?

It’s a question every data centre owner has asked at some point – cold aisle or hot aisle? These terms refer to the layout of the server racks which hold all of a data centre’s computing equipment. The purpose of having a hot or cold aisle is to reduce energy costs by conserving energy and managing air flow.

At Secure IT, we provide both hot and cold air containment units, so we’re well placed to advise on which system would be best for your data centre.

Energy Efficient Data Centre

Energy Efficient Data Centre

Cold Aisle Containment

Cold aisle containment stops hot air mixing with cold air by creating a cold air chamber within a cold aisle. End of row doors, overhead vertical wall systems or aisle ceilings are installed so that the cooling system effectively sends airflow into the cold aisles.

Cold aisle containment can benefit your data centre by improving your cooling control and stabilising the temperature within your facility. Cold aisle systems can be useful if your data centre doesn’t meet Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) requirements as installations of cold aisle closures and in-row cooling can help reduce your overall energy usage. Some benefits of cold aisle containment include:

  • Reduced energy consumption, which saves money
  • The elimination of humidity and static problems
  • Reduced carbon dioxide emissions
  • Less chance of equipment failure and downtime as temperatures are stable

Hot Aisle Containment

With hot aisle containment, air conditioning units only receive hot air from the aisles.  Hot aisle systems, essentially work in reverse, by controlling the flow of ‘used’ warm air and directing it back to the Computer Room Air Conditioning Unit. Hot aisle containment involves collecting all that warm exhaust air that comes from the daily use of IT equipment and cooling it so that it can be reused in the air conditioning unit.

By separating the supply and return airflow, hot air containment controls and stabilises the temperature surrounding IT and other electric equipment. Some of the benefits of using a hot aisle containment system are:

  • They Work in raised floor and slab data centres
  • An increased cooling capacity
  • Hot and cold air mixing is eliminated
  • They reduce energy consumption and improve cooling efficiency

What type of containment unit do you use in your data centre? What other advantages do you see in both systems?

The Importance of Maintaining a Data Centre – Prevention is Better than Cure

When it comes to maintaining a data centre, you don’t want to leave anything up to chance. Poorly maintained facilities can have devastating consequences and that’s why prevention is better than cure. Here are our top three essentials to maintaining a data centre:

Air conditioning in a data centre is critical to ensuring that your IT infrastructure doesn’t overheat and catch fire. There are several server room cooling options out there that will match your specific needs and at Secure IT, we can advise you on the most suitable solution for your modular data centre. Some of the climate control options available to data centres include traditional chilled water air conditioning, cold aisle containment, rear door coolers and in-row cooling systems for standard and high density applications.

Server Room

Server Room

This is an important one. If you have a climate control system in place, hopefully fire will never be an issue, but nevertheless, your data centre should be prepared for every possible threat. At Secure IT, we work with several fire suppression suppliers who offer a full range of suppression and detection solutions for modular data centres. When choosing a fire detection system, you’ll want one with a quick detection time that uses high-specification open digital communications. We work closely with suppliers who provide Novec, Inergen, Argonite, Water Mist and oxygen solutions.

We can advise on the best fire suppression systems for your data centre based on the layout of your facility, your IT infrastructure and the size of your data centre.

Security

It goes without saying that access security is paramount to any data centre facility. First of all, the building itself needs to be structurally sound and secondly, access controls need to be in place to prevent potential threats. At Secure IT, we offer a full range of security products for Modular Date Centres including card-swipe entry systems, FOB’s, Iris Retina Scanners and Biometric Readers. Our CCTV systems also offer high definition, 24 hour internal and external security filming.

Whether you’re looking for internal or external security measures, Secure IT can help advise you on the best products for your needs.

What do you see as being the most essential elements of maintaining a data centre?

Protecting Your Data Centre from Physical Security Threats

Access Control and Security

Access Control and Security

When it comes to building a data centre, security should be at the forefront of every project. Not only do you want your IT infrastructure to be protected against virtual attacks, but physical ones too. Natural disasters, intruders and terrorism are very real threats, especially to large organisations, so we’ve put together a list of considerations to make when securing your data centre build.

Surrounding Environment

Whether you’re planning a brand new data centre or moving an existing facility to a new location, researching the surrounding area beforehand is essential. Generally speaking, you’ll want your data centre to be housed away from main buildings and built up areas where nearby hazards could cause problems. Busy roads, residential areas and other businesses can all have an impact on the security of your centre.

Also, be sure to check if the surrounding area has any history of natural disasters like forest fires or flooding, as you’ll want to avoid these areas at all costs. The less attention you draw to your data centre building the better, so any fences, woodland areas or other landscape elements that can help hide your building are a plus point.

Physical Security Features

There are a number of security features that your data centre should make use of. At Secure IT, we offer a full range of security and access products to ensure your facility is as secure as it possibly can be. Among our access control products, we have card-swipe entry systems, FOB keys as well as more complex systems such as Iris Retina Scanners and Biometric Readers.

CCTV systems are also an integral part of every data centre’s security. At Secure IT, our CCTV systems offer 24 hour recorded footage both internally and externally. We also have high definition CCTV security cameras with the ability to record day and night time colour images and thermal imaging. You’ll also want your CCTV cameras to be able to film at 360 degrees to give you a full overview of your data centre.

Protection Against Intruders

Protecting your data centre against intrusion is one of the most important aspects of securing your facility. Make sure you have a locked door policy in place throughout your building in areas that don’t use enhanced security entry systems. Every visitor to the facility should also be screened and shouldn’t be allowed entry without a confirmed appointment with data centre staff.

Similarly, all employees should be background checked to ensure they don’t have any criminal record that may compromise the data centre’s security. Some data centres even go as far as carrying out yearly checks on employees thereafter as well.

What do you see as being the biggest security threat to data centres? Which of the elements above do you see as being most important in protecting data centres from natural disasters, intruders and terrorism?

The Benefits of Modernising Your Existing Data Centre

Businesses often find that as they grow, the size of their IT infrastructure expands too. In most cases, modernising traditional data centre builds involves investing significant capital. However, with Secure IT’s Modular Data Centres, your data centre can be brought into the 21st Century affordably while enjoying all the advantages of a modern build.

Additional Space

One of the biggest benefits of modernising your data centre is the additional space that you can gain by using our Modular design build. Our modular data centres offer a flexible addition to your existing facility, enabling you to increase the capacity of your IT infrastructure. Unlike traditional construction methods, the modular option provides a flexible solution that can be extended to provide for your company’s growing IT needs. This means that your data centre can be modernized quicker and you won’t have to make interim storage arangements.

Improved Energy Efficiency

Modernising your existing data centre will also improve the energy efficiency of the building. At Secure IT, with every project we undertake, we are able to report and advise on all areas of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Data Centre Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE). This enables our customers to keep track of their ongoing energy costs and identify ways to reduce them further. We pride ourselves on keeping up to date with changes in technologies, industry guidance and relevant laws so that your Data Centre is as energy efficient as possible for your budget.

Less Maintenance Requirements

Keeping your modular data centre clean is essential to ensuring its continued efficiency and to avoid costly breakdowns. Miniscule dust particles can build up throughout your data centre’s life, leading to blockages and inefficient equipment.

As part of a regular maintenance contract, Secure IT, we provide highly technical data centre cleaning and testing for dust and particles. We even provide ‘live-cleaning’, which is ISO14644 Class 8 certified, so you know that your IT infrastructure is receiving the very best of care and maintenance.

We’ll also provide you with a detailed report of your modular data centre cleanliness levels, which you can use for audit compliance inspections. Our fully managed 24 hour maintenance is available all year round with a fast-track 4 hour response to maintenance requirements. For more information on our maintenance services, Contact Shirley Osborne on 01983 885 182.

Increased Security

Our Modular Data Centres, provide  the highest level of protection and security against natural disasters,theft and terrorist threats We have a range of high-quality products that have been designed to protect data centres from any kind of security threat. Our fireproof and weatherproof Modular builds include the option of  fire suppression, Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS), access control and CCTV to improve security in your data centre

For more information on how Secure IT can modernise your data centre, give us a call on 01983 885 182, or contact us by email at enquiries@siteltd.co.uk

Building a Data Centre the Easy Way

Easy to build Data Centres

Easy to build Data Centres

Building a data centre for your IT infrastructure using traditional methods takes time. You need to plan every aspect, apply for on-site building permission, make interim business arrangements and then arrange the construction work itself. However, there is an easier way to building your data centre and the answer is Secure IT’s ModCel Data Centre Pods and Containers

No Planning Required

With ModCel Data Centres all you need to plan is where your facility will be located, everything else is taken care of off-site by the Secure IT team. You don’t need to worry about disrupting your business operations or making alternative workspace arrangements for your staff – your business can continue as normal. Our ModCel containerised data centres and pods are designed and built to your bespoke specification. We will discuss all your needs and requirements beforehand, so you can relax knowing that every detail is taken care of.

Delivered Straight to Your Door

Unlike Traditional data centre builds, our ModCel Pods aren’t built on-location, meaning your day-to-day business operations won’t be affected. Our pre-engineered data centres are highly-secure and can be deployed quickly and easily via sea, land and air to locations such as oil rigs, mines and even ships.

Because ModCel builds are so easily transported, they can be deployed to any location around the world and in certain cases can be operational within 24 hours. With up to 320 square feet of space, our data centres can house 19 server cabinets and provide as much as 45kW of electricity to each, offering unrivalled Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

Connection Conduits

Connection Conduits

Until now, data centre builds typically took weeks to be fully operational after the facility was completed. However, with ModCel data centres, your IT equipment can be up and running and fully operational in a matter of days. Our pods and containers are designed in such a way to allow for quick connection to local energy grids. Have a look at some of our  previous projects to see how successful our data centres have been for other businesses.

Easy Expansion

With our ModCel builds, if your business continues to grow, you won’t need to pay out for a brand new data centre building. All our facilities are designed to allow for easy expansion should your IT infrastructure need more space. What’s more, the nature of our design build systems enables you to undertake additional construction work on a pay-as-you-go basis. This minimises your upfront capital outlay and gives you the flexibility to add more Pods as required.

For more information on Secure IT’s ModCel Data Centre Pods and Containers, give us a call on 01983 885 182, or contact us by email at enquiries@siteltd.co.uk.

Cloud Vs Data Centre – Which One Will Work for You?

One of the biggest decisions facing businesses today is whether to host your IT infrastructure in a data centre or on the Cloud. There are advantages and drawbacks to both and at Secure IT; we’re here to help guide you towards making the best choice for your business. This is our guide to the Cloud vs data centre storage.

The Difference Between the Cloud and Data Centres

Although these two terms are often interchangeable, data centres and cloud services are fundamentally different. Data Centres are physical constructions, designed specifically to house IT data. They are typically located close to a company’s main premises. Cloud services however, store data on the Internet. Third party providers take care of all maintenance and updates and businesses can access their data through secure logins.

Data Centre

Data Centre

Data centres are ideal for businesses that need a bespoke space for their IT equipment. Data centre builds enable full control over the layout and set up of equipment and enable immediate access in emergencies or for maintenance. If your company has a complex IT system that uses several different applications, then a data centre can be constructed specifically to your requirements and provide you with the ongoing power you need to run your business operations.

When it comes to data centre security, your business has complete control. You decide who gets access and you can choose which security products are most suitable for your needs. However, these products need to be maintained and upgraded, so you’ll need to pay ongoing costs to keep your facility secure.

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Services

Whereas data centres can be somewhat restrictive when it comes to growth, cloud services grow with your business. Your IT infrastructure can be accessed from anywhere online and by anyone who you want to have access. The Cloud’s capacity is limitless, meaning you’ll never run out of space for your IT needs.

However, as cloud services are managed by third parties, you may not have immediate access to your data and you may need to compromise on how much control you have over your IT resources.

With cloud services, you don’t need to spend money on security features as your third party provider will take care of all these matters. However, public cloud services are susceptible to attacks, so you should choose your provider carefully. If your business deals with particularly sensitive information, then you may want to consider investing in a private cloud service with enhanced security features.

Does your business use a data centre or a cloud service? What do you see as being the pros and cons of both these systems?

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