We are starting 2014 with another milestone achievement – our Tier III Certification for Design Documents from the Uptime Institute for our new Singapore facility, CloudSpace2, also known as SGCS2.
The eight-storey SGCS2, will bring 155,000-square feet of state-of-the-art data center capacity to the Singapore market. More importantly, the new facility located in Paya Lebar, is now the first Singapore data center to be recognized by the Uptime Institute.
So, what’s so important about a certificate? Firstly, there is good reason for the name behind the Institute. The Uptime Institute was founded in 1993 as an independent research and consulting organization focused squarely on data centers. It gets its name from the most important factor in data center operations – uptime.
In its two decades of history, the Institute’s Tier-rating system has become the de-facto standard criteria by which data centers are evaluated. During this time, the Institute has come up with a systematic methodology for evaluating the capability and performance of data centers, as well as a tier-based certification process for categorizing sites according to their “uptime” ability.
There are three certificate categories representing different stages of a data center’s development in the Uptime Institute’s certification scheme. Certification is awarded for Design Documents, Constructed Facility, and Operational Sustainability. As you design, build, and operate a data center, you can apply for certification at each phase from the Institute.
For SGCS2, we have now achieved the first phase – Design Documents – at Tier III.
What does Tier III mean and how did we get here?
Tier III is described as ‘concurrently maintainable’, meaning I can take any piece of the infrastructure out of service at any time for maintenance and it won’t impact the IT layer for our customers. Similarly, the failure of any single piece of equipment will also not impact our customers’ availability. Effectively, every system within the SGCS2 site is mirrored by another system.
It took us 12 months to get here, with work by our internal engineering team, our external engineering experts, architects, project managers, commissioning engineers, and of course the Uptime Institute.
As you can imagine, designing and building a bespoke data center is a time consuming and complex task. A facility such as SGCS2 is easily as complicated as a motorcar. But instead of going out and buying the latest motorcar, you sit down, and from scratch, start to design a machine where you pick out every component separately.
That is what we have achieved with SGCS2. And thanks to the Uptime Institute’s Tier III certification, we have affirmation that our design is up to par with industry best practices.
Further, the certification process is not just about ticking all the boxes. Our designs were reviewed hands-on by experts at Uptime, who worked closely with our design team to ensure they meet all Tier III objectives. In this way, the Tier III certificate represents not only a stamp-of-approval, but also another set of expert eyes over the design.
Pacnet SGCS2 opening ceremony. From left: Jim Fagan, President for Managed Services at Pacnet; Marcus Cheng, CEO at Acclivis; Carl Grivner, CEO at Pacnet; Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore; Giles Proctor, Vice President for Data Center Construction and Operations at Pacnet
And we don’t intend to stop here with just the design. We are in the process of getting the Tier III certificate for the construction component of SGCS2, and after a year of operation – a basic requirement – we intend to seek certification for our operational sustainability as well.
For our customers, this means they can rest assured that when they place their equipment inside SGCS2, they are getting the level of reliability of an Uptime Institute certified Tier III site. It is a strategy that we intend to expand across our data center portfolio.
Already, we are offering our customers five ‘9s’ in terms of operational uptime, backed up by our service level agreements.
Increasingly, going ‘green’ is taking center stage in corporate IT, with data centers often the lowest hanging fruit. Cutting down on power consumption and increasing energy efficiency of data center operations is now one of the top priorities for our customers, not only to save opex, but often as a necessity in meeting corporate and regulatory sustainability targets.
It is trend we recognized internally and a hot topic of discussion with our customers. That’s why in addition to getting Tier III certification from Uptime, we also designed SGCS2 to Singapore’s BCA Green Mark scheme – the equivalent of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program.
With the Green Mark scheme, which is tailor-made for data centers, we can demonstrate optimum efficiency levels when we operate the facility at different loads. This is a critical factor when it comes to measuring the efficiency of data centers since you just don’t fill a data center like SGCS2 overnight. As the load grows, the site will match resource requirements to minimize wastage.
Looking ahead, we aim to further enhance the operation of SGCS2 with additional professional accreditations. The series of International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) certifications come immediately to mind, as well as recognized industry initiatives such as the payment card industry’s data security standard.
All these accreditations are testament to our capability of building and operating a world-class infrastructure. For more than a decade Pacnet has been building, maintaining and operating mission critical infrastructure, from submarine cables in the depths of the ocean, to state of the art data centre facilities. Starting with the Tier III certification from Uptime, now you don’t have to just take my word for it.
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