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December 1, 2015

Make IT and facilities work together in the data centre – Interxion chief engineer

C-level briefing: Lex Coors calls on world players to look beyond the Uptime Institute’s Tiers standards and embrace open standards on availability.

By Joao Lima

There is a division in the data centre industry which needs to be bridged, giving way to innovation that will lead to another step of IT evolution.

Strong words from industry veteran Lex Coors, Chief Data Centre Technology and Engineering Officer at Interxion, who has urged both "the north and south racks to cooperate more".

The north rack is what Coors calls the IT, software and network people, whilst those operating in the south focus on the phsyical infrastructure, such as cabinets and racks.

"Today we have two camps: we have the IT camp, looking at the business side and what they think is fairly reasonable, and then we have the infrastructure guys on the other side.

"They can create a better business by coming together. As long as we keep it separate it is not an organism. It is all different things, They must be all together and they must act and work together."

Challenging the world on availability

With this in mind, Coors called for a worldwide common standard on data centre availability: the OSDA (Open Standard for Data Centre Availability).

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"What we realised was that the Uptime Institute has four Tiers and it is all related to one data centre [which sometimes produces barriers to the way businesses look at their data centre]."

The Uptime Institute is an advisory organisation focused on the performance, efficiency, and reliability of business critical infrastructure through innovation, collaboration and independent certifications.

In the data centre space, it is recognised for the creation and administration of the four levels of the Tier Standards & Certifications for Data Centre Design, Construction, and Operational Sustainability.

Looking into OSDA, Coors said that when reaching out to the main peers, "people in the collocation industry and so on", they are all interested in joining forces and working together with enterprises, collocation companies, and others, across the world on the project.

"We believe that OSDA will help us to create innovation. It does not matter what your design is, you can just check it against other statistically available numbers in that same line, and if it is good enough for you, it will be good enough for someone else."

Global collaboration quest

Coors is at the helm of the OSDA project and has himself reached out to global players.

"The global collocation players, global wholesale players, global carriers, quite a few are already engaged. We are also talking to larger corporations like banks, and they are all interested. We have to also reach out to regions like China, Japan, we do have our contacts there.

"It means nothing if you cannot develop it together. We cannot do all the designs of the world in the Monte Carlo simulation."

Bringing parties on board

Asked about the hardship of talking to the relevant parties, Coors said that it was fairly simple. "When I showed them the Monte Carlo simulations, I showed them the differences. I could show them that a fuel cell data centre had an equal availability as a Tier III data centre.

As for when the OSDA project is set to be truly rolled out, Coors said that "as this world is moving fast, we will give it a head start".


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