Superior Access Control

Security FootageSecurity at a datacenter can’t be an afterthought. With tens of millions of dollars of equipment and countless transactions and secure connections being made throughout the day, a responsible datacenter must have first-rate access control systems in place. Security must be made a priority, which has led us to invest in state-of-the-art access control systems in addition to more traditional security measures.

Cisco Physical Access Manager (CPAM)

The datacenter is only accessible with an encoded badge that is monitored by a system called Cisco Physical Access Manager (CPAM). The HID badges we use are encoded with our employees’, clients’, and contractors’ information, then catalogued, monitored, and regularly audited. When a badge is issued, it is given a “time to live”—a pre-specified period of time that the badge will be active—after which the badge’s credentials will no longer work unless a datacenter access control employee reauthorizes them.

A database is kept of every active badge and is regularly audited to ensure that only currently authorized clients and employees have access to the colocation facility. The system tracks the time of each entry and exit into the building and the datacenter so any suspicious activity can be flagged. While the badges do give authorized personnel access to their equipment in the datacenter, some areas of the facility are still not accessible to every badge holder. CPAM and HID technology allows us to grant access to those who need it, such as specific datacenter employees, without compromising the security of the datacenter.

Other Security Measures

Norwood Security provides our datacenter with an added layer of protection. Security guards walk the premises every hour to make sure there haven’t been any security breaches. In addition, security cameras closely monitor every inch of the datacenter.

Your Servers Are in Good Hands

A datacenter has two primary roles: to keep servers running at all times and to keep them safe. Data102 takes both roles seriously, which is why we have layers of protection in place. Set up a time with us to see our state-of-the-art datacenter and discuss our colocation and managed services.

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Emergency Power Supplies

Gen1The best monitors, controls, and switches in the world are only relevant if the datacenter has power. While Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) generally delivers reliable, quality power, we don’t take chances with our servers.  Our electric generators provide yet another layer of redundancy and ensure that our infrastructure will stay powered even in the case of catastrophic power loss.

Always Standing By

We have one 500kW Cummins generator and one 500kW Kohler standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If the automatic transfer switch (ATS) detects any irregularity in the power coming from CSU, the generators are immediately started, and power is transferred: a process that takes less than 11 seconds. The generators are fueled by a 1000 gallon tank, which will keep the generators running for several days. In the event that a power loss extends beyond that, Data102 has fuel contracts with local providers to make sure the tank never runs dry.

To ensure that the generators will fire at a moment’s notice, our maintenance team has numerous tests and protocols in place. Once a week, the generators are fired and allowed to run for half an hour to keep all of the systems lubricated and operational. Once a year, our maintenance team tests the generators’ output by load testing their capacity for an hour. The machines also receive regular oil changes, just like any other diesel engine, and oil temperature is kept at 110 degrees to keep the engines from bogging down as they get cranked up.  The batteries that start up the motors are also maintained religiously. These procedures guarantee immediate response time from our generators.

Data102 Takes Uptime Seriously

All of these systems have been put into place even though our datacenter has had very few power problems through the years.  Several summers ago, we experienced some rolling brownouts in the Colorado Springs metro area, and from time to time accidents or construction mishaps lead to a brief power outage. Despite this, Data102 has kept the power on and our client’s servers running.

Interested in the other systems we have in place to protect your hardware? Call us to set up an appointment to tour southern Colorado’s premier datacenter.

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ATS – Another Layer of Automated Redundancy

ATSData102 has numerous layers of redundancy at every level of infrastructure. Nowhere is this more evident than the power supply and cooling systems. Obviously, without power, servers are just expensive paper weights damaging your business and productivity. And without proper cooling, the hardware is at risk. With that in mind, Data102 has an elaborate system of checks and balances, controls, and monitoring systems like power distribution units, uninterrupted power supplies, and a redundant pump system, among many other systems, ensuring that every piece of hardware in our datacenter keeps running no matter what happens on the outside. A vital component of the power system is automatic transfer switches.

ATSs—Proactive Power Protection

The job of an automatic transfer switch (ATS) is to monitor the electricity powering the datacenter and to transfer power from one power source to another should the need arise. The transfer switch detects inconsistencies or outages coming from public utilities, for example, and will switch power to our generators if necessary. This has been especially necessary during periods of rolling brownouts where power levels drop significantly, causing major problems for large electrical systems. ATSs can also detect shorts or interruptions within the building or datacenter itself.

In order for an ATS to transfer power to the generators, they have to be on. The automatic transfer switches activate the generators as necessary before switching over. Once the generators are producing sufficient power, the transfer switch will make the jump almost instantaneously—within 100 milliseconds. This transfer is so fast that the servers do not experience a power loss.

Since ATSs monitor the power system at all times, they can send notifications to our technicians as soon as problems arise. In addition, every Saturday our ATSs fire the generators to make sure everything is working properly and that the generators are producing good, clean power. A report is then made available to our technicians to ensure our backup systems will be ready to go at a millisecond’s notice.

The Safest Datacenter in Southern Colorado

Data102 has put all of these controls in place to guarantee 99.9999% uptime to all of our customers. Be assured that your servers will be up, functioning safely, and protected in the state-of-the-art datacenter at Data102. This assurance is what has made us southern Colorado’s leading colocation and managed hosting solution. Give us a call today to find out more about our infrastructure and services. 

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Even More Redundancy with Uninterrupted Power Supplies

Uninterrupted-Power-SuppliesAbove all else, the job of a datacenter is to keep servers powered at all times, regardless of external complications caused by public utilities, weather, hardware malfunctions, or other unforeseeable interruptions.

Every aspect of the power infrastructure at Data102 is backed up by redundant, monitored systems that ensure your servers stay up at all times. One of the primary systems we have in place is an uninterrupted power supply.

How UPSs Keep Our Servers Running

Every strip delivering power to the servers in our cabinets is connected to an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). These UPS units monitor the power coming from Colorado Springs Utilities, convert the electricity coming in from AC to DC, and charge the battery banks, after which the power is converted back to AC.  This process cleans up the power, removing power spikes or dips before it is delivered to our clients.

The UPS also protects against brownouts—rolling reductions of power. When a brownout is detected, the UPS supplements the power coming in with in-house batteries. If a more serious power outage occurs, the UPS will switch to backup generators almost instantaneously.

The monitor also provides reports and controls for our technicians. The UPS will notify us of any number of issues including brownouts, site transformer problems, or any other power inconsistency or outage. The controls then switch to the backup power systems to keep everything humming.

The Power of Redundant Power Supplies

Data102 is southern Colorado’s leading colocation and managed service solution because of our redundant power supply systems, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and superior technical support. Don’t put the productivity, revenue, and reputation of your company in jeopardy. Entrust your servers to a datacenter that has a proven record of service and 99.9% uptime. Give us a call to learn more about our datacenter and the services we offer.

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Power Protection

Datacenter power protection

power protectionStrong monitoring and redundancy systems are vital for datacenters because our job is to keep your servers safe, efficient, and, above all, running. While there are many layers of redundancy and advanced monitoring systems throughout the datacenter, perhaps the most important are those of the electrical system.

Power loss, power spikes, and inefficiencies can all lead to major problems. Thanks to our redundant power system and end of row PDUs, Data102 has you protected.

End of Row PDUs
Power distribution units (PDUs) are used at the end of each row of cabinets to monitor the electrical systems and deliver power. These PDUs deliver power via overhead power cables, which travel through designated ladder racks and power troughs above each cabinet. Once the appropriate cabinet is reached, the power is delivered to redundant vertical power strips, which in turn power the servers. The end of row PDUs are connected to Data102’s UPS (battery banks and generators), ensuring no loss of power or interruption of service to our client’s equipment.

The functionality of end of row PDUs allows our technician to carefully monitor the power usage of each breaker delivering power to the power strips in every cabinet. The PDUs also allow Data102 technicians to balance the electrical load per power leg, helping to prevent wasted power and additional heat. This balance is performed during the initial installation of our client’s equipment. End of row PDUs report on usage and other details about each active circuit to our clients, as well as the power delivered from our UPS. These reports allow Data102 to watch for potential power issues.

In addition to just delivering power, PDUs are more efficient than breaker panels. They monitor and alert us to unsafe conditions and are safer and more secure than traditional panels. We have multiple PDUs running on each floor of our Colorado Springs datacenter to ensure true redundancy in power delivery.

Southern Colorado’s Leading Datacenter

Data102 takes the safety and efficiency of your servers seriously, which is why we have put in so many layers of protection and redundancy. We view each server colocated in our datacenter like it’s our own and do everything possible to keep your servers active 100% of the time. Come take a tour of our datacenter to see the systems we’ve put in place to provide superior colocation and managed hosting services.

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The Power Is In Your Hands With PDUs

PowerIf you’ve ever tripped a breaker and lost power at your home, you know how disruptive it can be. However, once you’ve found your breaker and restored power, the inconvenience is generally over. With expensive electronics—like servers—drawing too much power can be much more problematic.

Powering a server is not as simple as plugging the cord into an outlet. While servers do use standard plugs, they draw a lot of power. When grouped together on a single circuit, the amperage can shoot through the roof. Without proper monitoring and controls, elevated power use may trip the breaker, fry the power strip, or even damage or destroy your servers. In some cases, a power strip may be pulling too much power but not enough to trip the breaker, which can lead to serious hardware problems. No matter what the cause, offline servers could lead to missed sales and internal disruption for your employees.

Fortunately, Data102 offers Power Distribution Units (PDUs) to keep your servers safe.

PDU Options
Every client purchasing colocation space from Data102 is given the option to lease two 24-outlet APC power strips. This A/B redundancy ensures that the any single power failure will not affect your duel fed equipment. However, the basic models do not provide any information about power usage. For that Data102 offers two systems that provide added levels of information and control:

  • Metered PDU — A metered PDU includes an LED monitor that displays the power usage of the whole unit. These reports will indicate if the PDU is drawing too much power overall. From this your technical support staff will then have a better idea of how to address any issue that may arise.
  • Switched Rack PDU — The most advanced option is a switched rack PDU. These units monitor and control each outlet individually. This level of granularity provides detailed information on all power usage throughout the strip. Additionally outlets may be remotely power cycled, saving your IT staff a lot of time and hassle.
    Power Solutions from Data102
    The technical support staff at Data102 has years of experience with server maintenance and safety. We have seen firsthand the consequences of ignoring server power usage. Don’t put your servers at risk. Contact us today about to find out more about PDUs and what Data102 can do to protect your equipment and your business.
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Efficient and Effective: The Redundant Pump System

redundant pump systemData102 is always looking for ways to reduce energy consumption. Increased efficiency means less environmental impact, lower costs for our customers, and peak performance from the servers. We also have to take into account the unique conditions that our high-altitude location can present. One system that we have in place to improve our efficiency is our redundant pump system, which helps to keep the datacenter cool while minimizing our power usage.

What Does the Redundant Pump System Do?
Our redundant pump system uses two alternating pumps to keep a mixture of water and glycol running from our computer room air conditioning units (CRACs) up to one of the 150-ton dry coolers on the roof.

The dry coolers exhaust the heat from the water/glycol mixture and the liquid flows back into the CRAC units to absorb the heat from the datacenter, and the cycle continues. Since the CRAC units must be running at all times to ensure that the datacenter doesn’t overheat—putting servers and other hardware at risk—the pumps have to keep pumping every day, all day long.

A redundant pump system allows us to keep our pumps maintained and functioning at peak efficiency. Only one pump runs at a time, allowing the other pump to receive regular maintenance. The smart controls that monitor the pumps will switch from one pump to the other if a problem is detected so that the flow of water/glycol mixture is never interrupted, which can cause power spikes or even damage to the system. These controls also ensure that the runtime of the pumps stays even so that one does not get overworked.

The Power of Variable Frequency Drives
Our redundant pump system also uses a variable frequency drive (VFD), which dramatically improves efficiency. The VFD tunes the pump like a throttle, allowing for different amounts of pressure to be used depending on the outside temperature. Regular readings are also taken to tune for pressure and heat. These continual adjustments ensure that the system is using the minimal power possible, that the motor is not being overly taxed, that coils are not being burned, and that there aren’t any shockwaves in the glycol/water mixture.

When choosing a Colorado datacenter, you want the assurance that costs are being kept low without sacrificing safe conditions for your hardware. Data102’s redundant pump system does just that. We continue to be the best datacenter in southern Colorado in part because we use these state-of-the-art systems to operate at peak efficiency.

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Keeping It Cool – Advanced Airflow Systems

air flowWithout proper airflow systems in place, Data102’s hot aisle containment system and computer room air conditioning units (CRACs) would be ineffective. The entire design of our Colorado data centers revolves around creating a circuit of air from the CRAC units, into the servers, out through the ceiling, and back through the CRACs. A number of systems have to be put into place to accomplish this.

Data102 uses cold air and hot air plenums in the floor and ceiling to keep the air moving. The floor of our Colorado data center is raised from the ground, creating an open area beneath the servers that pressurizes and channels the cold air coming out of the CRAC units. This cold, pressurized air is directed up to the front of the servers through perforated panels in the floor. The cold air is then sucked directly into the front of the servers and exhausted out the back into a contained hot aisle.

The ceiling in the datacenter is dropped, creating a pressurized, open area above the hot aisles. The hot air rises into the hot air plenum, which creates a stacking effect that pressurizes the area and pushes the air directly into the CRAC units, where it is cooled and recirculated into the floor to continue the cycle. The heat removed from the air is transferred into glycol water lines and pumped out of the building to a 150-ton dry cooler on the roof.

The server cabinets are also vital to the airflow process in the datacenter. Blanking panels are used to close off open areas in the cabinets so that hot air doesn’t accumulate and create hotspots around the servers, which could lead to hardware malfunctions. In addition, proper installation and cable management allows the hot air to be effectively exhausted from the servers, as opposed to blocking airflow and trapping heat inside the cabinets.

All of these systems have been put into place to keep our datacenter operating as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. This benefits our customers and ensures that their servers operate at peak performance without jeopardizing any hardware. These systems are closely monitored by our team of specialized datacenter technicians, and routine readings and maintenance ensure their continued performance.

While we already have the best airflow systems in southern Colorado, we are continuing to look at new ways of improving efficiency. We will be making several improvements over the coming year that will make the airflow system even better, including underfloor air baffles to direct the cold air more efficiently and utilizing our rooftop misters during the warm months ahead. These improvements show Data102’s determination to continue offering the best collocation and IT services in southern Colorado.

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CRAC Units: The Muscle Behind the Hot Aisle Containment System

CRAC Unit at Data102A vital cog in the cooling machinery of Data102 is the Computer Room Air Conditioning units (CRAC). The term “air conditioning” could conjure an image of a rattling box propping open a bedroom window, but CRAC units are large, expensive, sophisticated machines that keep perpetually hot areas cool—year round—with peak efficiency. Thanks to the economies of scale, Data102 is able to provide cool, climate controlled conditions for all of its servers at a much cheaper and more efficient rate than a single business could achieve.

The CRAC units are the linchpin of the hot aisle containment system. Hot air from the rear of the servers is contained in “hot aisles” and then cycled through the ceiling into the CRAC units, which cool the air using a water/glycol mixture similar to radiator fluid. The new cold air is recirculated under the raised floor in the datacenter and back to the front of the servers while the water/glycol mixture is piped up to the roof where a 150-ton dry cooler exhausts the captured heat. The end result is a datacenter operating at peak efficiency and temperature for all of its hosted servers.

This complex system requires over a dozen 10- and 20-ton CRAC units, all of which cost roughly $1000 per ton in addition to the installation, maintenance, and energy costs. Once installed, the machines are closely monitored by our professional datacenter technicians to ensure that the units are not only running, but also that they are running as energy efficient as possible.

All of this is in place to give your servers a temperature-controlled location in which to operate so that you don’t deal with service interruptions. It takes a lot of time, attention, and money for a single business to setup and maintain the proper conditions for a server. Simply throwing a server into a closet or next to an air conditioning unit will put you at risk of damaging your expensive equipment and potentially losing business. Those are not risks you want to take.

Colocating with Data102 will ensure that your servers run safely and efficiently. We have a number of controls in place to keep your hardware safe both internally and externally, and we offer services to make your web presence as hassle free as possible. But the cooling system and CRAC units are the heart of the infrastructure that makes us the best datacenter in southern Colorado.

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Cool Running – Hot Aisle Containment at Data102

hot aisle curtains at data102The number one job of a data center is to keep the servers up and humming along, but this is not as easy as it may sound. Servers cannot simply be plugged in, stacked in a cabinet, and connected.

Not only must they be monitored, secured, and maintained, they must also be kept cool at all times, night and day, to ensure that the hardware stays intact and that service is not interrupted.

The infrastructure required to do this is costly and sophisticated. One of the main strategies used by Data102 to keep its servers cool and at peak efficiency is called hot aisle containment (HAC).

Like all electronics, bad things happen when servers get too hot, which can easily happen. Servers have fans similar to your home computer that take in cooler air from the front and blow hot air out the back. When servers are arranged haphazardly or in rows facing the same direction, they suck in hot air from the back of the other servers, meaning they can overheat very quickly.

This causes a number of problems:

  • Damaged CPUs and power supplies—even after just a few minutes of overheating
  • Potential data loss
  • System errors
  • Network interruption

All of these consequences in a data center can have a serious effect on a business’ productivity and profitability.

The Hot Aisle Containment Solution

The solution, then, is hot aisle containment. With hot aisle containment, servers are aligned in rows facing away from each other in alternating aisles so that they all blow hot air into the same space, which is contained by large plastic curtains. The hot air is then sucked out of these “hot aisles” and recycled through a large air conditioning unit called a CRAC (computer room air conditioning) that blows cold air up to the front of the servers from the floor. This cycle keeps the servers running at an ideal temperature (usually between 59 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit) at all times, regardless of weather or other factors.

Data102, the premier data center in Colorado Springs, uses hot aisle containment for a number of reasons:

  • To increase server longevity
  • Prevent data loss and connectivity issues
  • Maintain a cool datacenter overall
  • Improve the efficiency of the CRAC units
  • Create a chimney effect so that any excess hot air will rise out of the room.
  • Reduce energy costs

In order to ensure that our hot aisle containment system is doing the job, we monitor the temperature of each aisle and have checks in place to make sure that your server is always running at peak efficiency. These reports, along with our infrastructure experts, ensure that the servers keep humming, which means you stay connected with your customers.

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