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Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights recently upgraded its data center infrastructure, which serves the IT used by 7,000 inhouse users and protects some of the country’s most important information – its registry records.

Before its upgrade, the data center’s IT environment faced serious limitations. Its aging disparate environments were spread over its estate in small unconnected server rooms without proper security, contingency and continuity measures.

The department’s managing director of IT management Adrian Tedeschi said while the ministry did have a central IT repository, many of its tasks were carried out in these small scattered facilities. “There was so much proliferation of IT along the different parts of the ministry,” he said.

To overcome these challenges, and meet the ministry’s growing concerns about security, the protection of information and increasing data center demands, Tedeschi and his team decided to build a new facility.

Agile infrastructure
Tedeschi said the design team’s main goal was to build an agile infrastructure that could scale as required, and which could also provide better access to data for those working in the Ministry of Justice. This facility was scheduled to come online in April.

The engineering and implementation of the new data center is being carried out by Aceco TI, a company that has a strong presence in Latin America. The organization’s manager Carlos Morard said the new data center has been built with governance in mind and will now allow for continuous improvements throughout its life time. “The ministry was operating in a contingency condition with an obsolete data center, which was ungovernable and risky, and there was no way to measure efficiencies or to establish sustainable measures,” Morard said.

The new facility can be found in the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, which is investing about US$1.5m into the data center. It has a white space of 67 sq m – space for 29 racks.

The design allows for 108kW of power. The power to the racks comes from two parallel uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) built in an N+1 configuration with 120kVA. In the event of a network failure, the backup power will be performed by a 350kVA standby unit. For cooling, the HVAC system also has an N+1 configuration and three direct expansion systems provide accurate airflow across the data center.

One of the most important features of this new build is the intelligence built into the monitoring and security systems. The data center uses central monitoring software, and each rack has sensors fitted which keep a watchful eye over cabinets, temperature, humidity, liquid and lighting.

Biometrics have also been used for access control along with proximity cards and a CCTV system comprising four cameras, three located within the white space and one placed in the aisle.

Contingency as a priority
The migration from so many disparate systems to the new data center is expected to take about 15 days, which means the data center will be serving the ministry shortly after opening.

Tedeschi said his team has had to map out a migration path that would cause the least amount of disruption to what is one of the government’s most important departments. And this is only the beginning of the ministry’s technology transformation. It is already considering a backup of infrastructure, using white space in the newly opened Arsat data center built by the Argentine government as an access point for the Federal Fiber-Optic Network which is being rolled out across the county.

“Once we have finished the primary data center we will address the contingency issue. We expect this to happen in 2014 or 2015,” Tedeschi said.