Publishing Date: Jul 24, 2020

Datacentres for better security

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The coronavirus lockdown of 2020 sparked a mass shift to remote working. The knock-on effects were widespread, from almost-empty roads and plummeting fuel prices to cleaner air and increased visibility, liberated wildlife and clearer water. But one effect perhaps less widely discussed was the hugely increased reliance on remote data centre services.

With hosted services in such high demand, not just courtesy of the newly christened homeworking generation but also by the home-schooled and home-entertainment-thirsty lockdown population, data centres started to meet brand new challenges.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic was even an issue, data centres were known to experience power and capacity challenges, with cooling issues accounting for almost a third of unplanned data centre outages.

Optimising data centre performance is known to be a complex process, even during normal times. But it is crucial to business continuity, and vital to the economy, in so many respects.

With data centre operations going all-out to do everything possible to minimise staff exposure to the coronavirus, a drop in critical data centre facility walkthroughs – vital for ongoing risk reduction – resulted. Combined with heightened demand, the pressure on energy and thermal performance was always going to surge. This has made it essential to look at alternative methods of data centre monitoring and cooling management.

Going remote with datacentre monitoring

Remotely monitoring, planning and optimising critical data centre environments is the way forward for reduced risk and energy saving strategies.

A great deal needs to be considered when creating the ideal data centre environment. Taking into consideration the heat that’s produced, how it disperses, the way air flows around the equipment and the external temperature are all vital.

Leading UK critical infrastructure services provider FEL Group Ltd factors all of these elements into its data centre design and management strategies. Expansion for future development is factored in at an early stage, optimising the footprint of existing facilities so the need for additional data centres is removed.

In the realm of cooling and energy saving, FEL Group employs specialist monitoring software to discover and manage cooling issues within data centres and technical spaces. Delivering 100 per cent rack-level ASHRAE TC9.9 thermal compliance means the system considerably reduces risk, whilst the dynamic cooling control provides significant energy saving benefits of up to 75 per cent.

Data produced by the software delivers exceptional levels of thermal insight, empowering data centre managers to effectively manage thermal performance. In addition, the real-time cooling capacity insight prevents unnecessary spend on new cooling systems.

Reducing carbon footprint through energy performance optimisation

The challenges shaped by lockdown may have started to ease as the nation has gradually returned to work, but remote working is likely to continue well beyond the near future as businesses and workers alike realise the advantages of working flexibly. This, together with the swathes of organisations committing to ambitious net zero carbon reduction targets, will mean that data centres will have a vastly important ongoing responsibility.

FEL Group director Jason Preston says that reducing clients’ carbon footprints as well as their own remains at the forefront of their agenda. Trials of the group’s dedicated corporate energy optimisation programme have suggested that overall site performance can be improved by 25 per cent.

“Our Energy Optimisation initiative draws upon our extensive range of energy reduction measures. The programme aims to tackle the feasibility, design and delivery of energy performance improvements in existing technical facilities UK wide.

“Trials have shown reasonable room for improvement courtesy of cooling energy systems optimisation. This means we can reduce the energy we consume by more efficient handling of the by-product of the network service: heat.”

During the lockdown period, FEL Group acquired circa £1.5 million worth of projects with new and existing clients across all areas of the business. This included new data centre cooling and energy performance optimisation projects, air conditioning refurbishments and new service contracts throughout the UK including in Scotland, Durham and London.

About FEL Group:

FEL Group is a 20-year established, UK-leading specialist in the design, maintenance and management of controlled live environments crucial to the operation of the thousands of servers that support the UK economy. The Scunthorpe-based ISO-accredited company offers expertise in maintaining and repairing all types of cooling equipment to the exceptional standards demanded by its corporate clientele.

For more information please visit www.felgroup.co.uk or email Jason.preston@felgroup.co.uk

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