From the blink of an eye to eternity

What role does time play in a data center? Interxion in Vienna, Austria, provides some answers.

Time is relative, or so they say – and as any child knows who’s ever compared 15 minutes of math class to 15 minutes of football on the playground. Time is also a critical factor for companies. Take data centers, for example. At first glance, it appears that what matters most is computing power and lots of memory. But the time factor plays a much more important role, from fractions of a second to eternity. How, exactly? Interxion’s data center campus in Vienna serves as an example.

When every second counts

The blink of an eye: Normally, we associate hundredths and thousandths of a second with sports – but fractions of a second are also playing an ever greater role on the trading floor. In high-frequency trading, a split-second can mean the difference in achieving the decisive competitive edge. In this case, time really is money, because whoever’s algorithm can access and process current stock prices the fastest ultimately holds the best cards. The lowest latency wins. The effort behind all this is tremendous, which is why data centers have to be located as close as possible to trading platforms and nodes, they have to be specially protected from power failures, and they have to have massive bandwidths. These investments also benefit all customers, from streaming service providers to social media operators.

26 seconds: What distinguishes a good data center from a very good data center? The probability that its operation can be guaranteed in the event of a component failure. Interxion offers 99.999 percent availability: In other words, customers can be certain that the downtime per month won’t exceed 26 seconds, which is about the time it takes to brew a classic espresso. And this is without having to deal with the complexity and costs of maintaining their own network solution. Their data is stored at a location that offers a variety of power supply options, a complete backup, cost-effective climate control, advanced fire and water detection systems, a multi-level security concept, and other certified information security management systems and business continuity systems.

24 hours: It’s essential that modern companies constantly come up with new ideas. Their survival rests on a fast introduction on the market. That’s why Interxion does all it can to minimize its customers’ time to market and secure their competitive edge. In addition to good timing, this requires good partners. When a busbar trunking system at Interxion was damaged by construction work, Siemens fired up the relevant factory over the weekend in order to produce and replace the necessary parts promptly and in time for the customer’s market launch. It was 24 hours of concentrated performance for the sake of one decisive moment – a successful market launch.

When days become years

365 days: Data centers need power – lots of it and, more importantly, with no interruptions. To ensure that power failures don’t close down operations or threaten availability, providers like Interxion leave nothing to chance. Along with the power supplied from the grid, they’ve set up their own parallel microgrid that kicks in as soon as there’s a blackout. The reliable emergency power supply is available 365 days a year, without a noticeable transition. So the only evidence of a power failure in Vienna is a small indicator light in Interxion’s control center.

20 years: In Vienna, Interxion and Siemens are linked by more than just their close proximity. The two companies have been working hand in hand for 20 years. That’s a lot of time to get to know one another. The result is trust and a partnership that’s reflected in all of Interxion’s operations, from the building technology – which includes the self-sufficient power infrastructure – to the low- and medium-voltage systems and Service Level Agreements. This collaboration has come to be about more than just punctuality.

Five billion years: The sun has been shining for about four-and-a-half billion years and is good for at least another five billion. What relevance does this have for data centers? Quite a bit, actually, if 100 percent of their power requirements are met by renewable energies, which is the case with Interxion – so the company can be certain that its power source won’t be exhausted any time soon. In other areas as well, Interxion is constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve its data center buildings and operations, which includes increasing energy efficiency, improving energy management, and reducing CO2 emissions.

Interxion’s data center campus in Vienna, Austria

Interxion operates more than 50 data centers in Europe, including Austria’s largest data center campus in Vienna.

 

 

The servers occupy about 11,000 of the 23,000 m² company premises. Interxion’s data capacity is used by cloud providers and digital media of all kinds, and also by financial services providers.

 

 

The entire solution for medium- and low-voltage power distribution, including the transformers and busbars, was supplied by Siemens.

September 29, 2020

Picture credits: Siemens AG

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