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NATO strengthens disaster recovery with European data centre

News: Hub set to come online before the end of 2016.

By Joao Lima

Military alliance NATO has unveiled plans to build a critical Tier IV data centre in Europe to boost its Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) disaster recovery capabilities.

The organisation will build the hub in Betzdorf, Luxembourg, under a five year agreement with the country’s government.

The data centre, announced by NATO and Luxembourg’s Ministries of Defence and Economy, was described by the alliance as securely redundant and with an optimised back-up system for the information processed by the NSPA.

The site is expected to be operational by the end of 2016 with the first test scheduled for this autumn, according to Economy Minister Etienne Schneider and NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) GM Mike Lyden.

Lyden said: "The project is the culmination of extensive consultation with Host Nation Luxembourg since early 2015.

"From project conception, we have been honoured to be able to work closely with Luxembourg Centre Des Technologies de l’Information de l’Etat (CTIE) and Ministry of Defence to scope the requirement for this data centre."

Schneider said: "When possible, our efforts and investments in regards to defence are made with the purpose of directly benefiting Luxembourg’s economy.

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"By building a data centre, it not only supports this key technology sector in our country, but also helps to consolidate NATO‘s presence in the Grand Duchy with an important infrastructure which will give the NSPA a highly-secure IT back-up environment."

Mike Lyden, Étienne Schneider

Left to right: Mike Lyden, Étienne Schneider

Before entering Luxembourg’s data centre space, in March, NATO selected Italian NFV company Italtel to build two transportable data centres.

The data centres will be deployed at the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC – ITA), in Solbiate Olona, to align its Communication and Information System (CIS) infrastructure with the requirements of its recently-awarded role of land-heavy Joint Task Force (JTF) Headquarters, which involves leading NATO joint operations within NATO Areas of Responsibility, often performed out of the national borders.

Elsewhere, NATO has also selected Cisco to help it keep up with virtualisation and cloud functionalities in the modern age.

The alliance’s Communications and Information Agency (NCIA), which operates over 30 data centres worldwide, in 2013 moved one of its data centres to a "greenfield site in Italy".

Cisco was tasked with installing its Unified Data Center (UDC) solution based on Vblock to seamlessly integrate Cisco compute and network (both physical and virtual), VMware server virtualisation, and EMC storage technologies.

According to NATO, this helped to reduce the amount of floor space previously needed by 70%, and also led to a 30% reduction in power consumption.

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