To answer that question, we must first ask, what’s in a name? The name Theseus refers of course to the mythical Greek hero, who with the help of breadcrumbs to guide him, was able to overcome the ordeal of the labyrinth and succeed in defeating the minotaur. But what’s that got to do with a French data center I hear you ask.

According to Eric Arbaretaz, co-founder and CTO of Thésée Data Center, each character in this historical tale can be seen as a metaphor for modern life. “The myth of the bull of Minos is a warning: some opportunities are too generous not to involve a counterpart.

“Daedalus, the architect of the labyrinth, embodies technological progress, but a progress without ethics, without anticipation of risks. The entire Cretan myth can be seen as a reminder of the fragility of information systems in the age of cloud computing.”

And he’s not wrong. Progress is indeed being made, but at what cost? This is why the ambition of the Thésée Data Center was always to contribute to digital sovereignty, whilst at the same time, minimizing the environmental impact of the digital sector, through innovations that not only anticipate risks, but help prevent them.

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Statue of Theseus and the Minotaur – Getty Images

Located in Aubergenville, 25 minutes outside of Paris, the Thésée tier IV data center offers the very best combination of qualities currently sought after by customers looking to outsource their IT within a neutral, shared facility.

Comprising six data center buildings, each housing two identical 534 square meter data halls, Thésée caters to mixed density clientele, whilst remaining independent and neutral toward cloud providers and telecom operators.

Thésée prides itself on its status as a sovereign, eco-responsible data center; offering unrivalled levels of security and availability at a competitive price – and within the data center industry, competition is fierce.

Staying ahead of the curve doesn’t happen by accident, or overnight. This is why the Thésée data center has been a truly collaborative project from the start, an undertaking that pulled together design and operational expertise to build in excellence from phase one.

A collaborative process

The main technical challenge for the Thésée design team was to marry together objectives that seemed somewhat contradictory.

The facility needed to achieve high availability due to its Uptime Institute tier IV certification, whilst keeping environmental impact to a minimum through the delivery of unprecedented energy performance, which Thésée has achieved via a PUE of 1.2 – no easy feat for such a sizable colocation data center.

When initially looking to achieve their vision, the Thésée team knew four proverbial heads were better than one, and worked together diligently with Future Facilities, HPE and New Generation to provide a world-first experience to its end customers, complete with real-time transparency on what is happening in the customer’s data center space.

The secret to success

To ensure capacity was managed effectively and always working at optimal efficiency from a power and cooling perspective, each Thésée data hall benefits from its own 6Sigma Digital Twin from Future Facilities.

Providing eyes on parts of the data center operators can’t see, a digital twin is a 3D, physics-based, virtual representation of the facility, encompassing IT equipment, cabinets and supporting power/cooling infrastructure. From design to operations, the digital twin virtually replicates the physical behavior of the data center.

Consider the digital twin as the breadcrumbs that helped lead Theseus to victory, allowing him to navigate his way through the complex labyrinth (and back out again) relatively unscathed. Of course, had Theseus had access to a digital twin, the whole mission would have been far more efficient. The Greek’s were ahead of their time but not that far ahead unfortunately.

A digital twin allows end-customers to manage their own data center space, complete with visibility of all alarms and performance metrics through a web-based portal, and the ability to interact with a virtual replica (AKA digital twin) of their 3D space, with access to CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulation to assess IT deployment options. The solution integrates technology from New Generation, with all information accessed via a single (highly convenient) web portal.

And in terms of colocation experience, this sort of visibility is nothing short of groundbreaking; brought to life via an end-to-end integrated data center management system (DCMS) designed by HPE, which seamlessly marries together DCIM and DCSO (operations optimization) components.

“Future Facilities has adapted the software for a multi-client environment, and Thésée Data Center will be the first hosting company to offer this service integrated into our service portal. We are particularly proud of this innovation,” says Eric Arbaretaz, co-founder and CTO of Thésée Data Center.

“In the context of Thésée, customers can view their assets directly through the NUVEA PaaS portal and interact with click and drop: a first in the world of colocation,” says Gilles Cieza, CEO, New Generation.

It’s worth noting that the 6Sigma Digital Twin is the only CFD tool that allows data centers to optimize not only design and improvements, but operational planning too, due to the fact the 6SigmaDCX product suite was built to encompass both design and operational requirements.

This 3D representation of the physical data center – combined with cutting edge CFD, allows data center operators to safely simulate the impact any changes will have on their data center space, whether that be in relation to resilience, physical capacity, or cooling efficiency.

“CFD modelling was very important to each step of the design, not just cooling, but also space organization. If you manage to save even one square meter of space, this is really important, particularly in Paris where space is so expensive,” says Pascal Lecoq, worldwide director, hybrid IT data center technology services, HPE.

Safety with simulation

They say practice makes perfect, and that’s exactly what a digital twin allows operators to do. Most Thésée’s customers are looking to deploy high density IT racks (cloud or HPC) and of course have concerns about the capacity of their racks when acquiring new servers.

Customers know Thésée has been designed for this type of high density rack, but aren’t sure if their future projects can be carried out without electrical or climatic risks. This ‘not knowing’ can quickly become a significant roadblock when planning future projects.

Fortunately, the modelling within the digital twin, together with numerical airflow simulation capabilities, means that via 6SigmaRoom, virtual reality takes center stage, allowing future scenarios to be analyzed and tested in a zero-risk environment – all without stepping foot on site.

Simulation allows for informed ‘scientific’ client recommendations when it comes to rack and equipment placement, as well as experimenting with various data center capabilities with confidence.

This home away from home data center experience, accessed via browser-based tool, 6SigmaAccess, means every change, both pre-sales and capacity planning can be CFD simulated, paving the way for improved operations.

6SigmaAccess accelerates the capacity planning process from weeks to hours, by consolidating critical data center resources such as power, space, cooling, and weight, all in a single view.

“This virtual representation of a customer’s data center is of course a valuable ally, but in my opinion, it is also an essential tool for managing their projects and having a precise knowledge of the evolutionary capacities of their infrastructures,” says Eric Arbaretaz, co-founder and CTO of Thésée Data Center.

Trailblazing into the future

It’s no secret the data center market is changing rapidly, and what makes things tricker, is that this change is constant. If companies aren’t able to scale up or down when needed, or plan for capacity efficiently, sooner or later, they will fail.

On the one hand, the electrical density of computer racks is increasing, already pushing the capacity of many data centers to their limits. And unfortunately, the cost of electricity is increasing too.

These changes aren’t exactly conducive to a reduced carbon footprint, nor are they ideal for meeting stringent customer demands in terms of security and sovereignty. Without the tools to adapt, facilities will quickly find themselves obsolete as they struggle to keep up with an ever-evolving market.

And when it comes to this industry evolution, Thésée has started a revolution. By choosing to design a modular, high-density campus, complete with digital twin technology, Thésée is paving the way for the data center of the future, where knowledge (and a digital twin) really is power.

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