Claiming that data centers with no diesel generators aren’t fault-tolerant just isn’t in line with operators’ green aspirations, says Lex Coors 

In this interview, Lex Coors, data center technology and engineering officer at Interxion, talks about the development of a new tool to assess data center resiliency.

This tool is designed for operators, built to complement efforts by industry bodies such as BICSI, TIA 942 and the Uptime Institute, and is due for soft launch in December.

The conversation took place at the DCD Zettastructure conference in London in November.

Updating classifications 

Coors said: “As a chair for the governmental engagement committee and a stakeholder for the EU joint research center data center energy efficiency, I often get the question: when do you stop using diesel engines, and when do you start using sustainable energy sources in your designs? And in the beginning I was kind of defensive, so I said the diesel engine is a solid choice.”

“But when I thought about it more, I thought: actually we are being forced to use diesel engine UPS because there are a few very strong and solid standards on the globe, and they talk about having a diesel engine as a prime energy source, and anything you choose as an alternative is fine but it’s your economic alternative.”

“And then I thought: okay so if I built a fault tolerant or an Uptime Institute Tier IV solar data center in a country where the sun always shines and it’s full solar, 2N, and I had the opportunity for 600 hours of energy storage - I didn’t say batteries, I said energy storage, we’re not that far yet -  then why would it fall below the lowest Tier classification? Because it has no diesel engine,” he said. 

“So, working on that I came up with an idea to actually say okay: if I use the base that we have today, because it’s very solid - basic non-redundant, basic redundant, concurrently maintainable, fault tolerant -  and say, if I have a tool and I can select energy sources with enough storage and I can compare that against four layers of existing [classification], against diesel engines, then perhaps this is something valuable to the industry.”

But rather than develop the standard as a commercial tool, Coors said it has more value as a public asset.

“From there we wrote the white paper, it was accepted, and released into the industry. The alpha tool is now ready.

“It has availability and reliability on block diagram model, we have compared it with our own Monte Carlo simulation studies at Interxion, and they’re okay.”