A standard for Data Centers? How will that work? Every Data Center looks different, there are countless sizes, types, uses and concepts of and for Data Centers. How can something like this be standardized?
But on the other hand: why not? Different though all the variations might be – all Data Centers certainly have enough in common that could be "standardized".
Each Data Center operator is asking him or herself the same fundamental questions:
- What is my business model and what is the purpose of my Data Center?
- What do I need in order to set up and operate my Data Center?
- How much money do I have at my disposal – both for initial investment and for operation?
- Can my business model withstand downtimes and if so, how many hours or days a year?
- What location is suitable for me and my business model?
- What is important to my customers (assuming I have some), and how can I win these customers for my Data Center?
Similar questions are posed by the potential customers of a Data Center, who also need help choosing a suitable IT service provider.
Answers to all these questions (and more) are provided by the standards in the series "DIN EN 50600 Information technology – Data Center facilities and infrastructures". The series is aimed at anyone concerned with the issue of Data Centers, and offers a comprehensive guide to their design, installation and operation. It takes a business-oriented system approach based on a business risk analysis, which focuses on the function of the Data Center and therefore does not consider the actual intended application. Hence DIN EN 50600 is no substitute for specialist planning, expert execution and good operation.
Certification of Data Centers
Momentarily, standard DIN EN 50600 consists of 7 approved sections, which cover all areas of a Data Center infrastructure. Further standards on KPIs are in preparation.
- EN 50600-1: General concepts for design and specification
- EN 50600-2-1: Building construction
- EN 50600-2-2: Power distribution
- EN 50600-2-3: Environmental control
- EN 50600-2-4: Telecommunications cabling infrastructure
- EN 50600-2-5: Security systems
- EN 50600-3-1: Management and operational information
DIN EN 50600 therefore covers all the relevant parts and areas of a Data Center – from the building itself to the power supply and air conditioning, all the way to fire protection, and from the IT wiring itself to access controls. Underlying all this are the fundamental parameters availability, physical safety and the ability to achieve energy-efficient operation. A further aspect is the establishment of guidelines for basic everyday management processes. In the standard's various sections four different availability classes are defined, plus four classes for security and various levels for determining consumption figures – which are required in order to draw a conclusion about energy efficiency. This detailed examination of individual areas and systems gives rise to great flexibility which, depending on the Data Center's requirement profile, location and business model, allows it to be classified in a transparent and helpful manner.
Thus DIN EN 50600 gives us a set of rules that is harmonized within Europe and provides planners, operators and customers of a Data Center with certainty, clarity and, in particular, comparability, which is the most important of all. Various planning aids and certification options were also available in the past, but these could only be compared with difficulty, as they mostly only applied to individual areas or systems.
Another benefit of this comparability and transparency is the option of certifying a Data Center to DIN EN 50600. Firstly, this gives the operator the opportunity to submit his business model – including everyday routines – for an objective assessment. Secondly, potential customers have the opportunity to find the right supplier for their requirements.
A Data Center certainly can be "standardized" – and with DIN EN 50600, the right foundations and terms of reference are now in place.