A. SOLDATOV: “The task of DataPro is to become a market leader”
DataPro CEO AlexeiSOLDATOV was interviewed by NBJ and told about new data centre development in Moscow and shared his vision for the data centre market problems.
NBJ: Please tell us what is the current construction stage of the data centre development on Aviamotornaya street in Moscow.
A. SOLDATOV: We started the project in last October. The conceptual design and equipment selection took a lot of time. If the power supply system was selected pretty quickly the selection process of a cooling system was a long one.
Currently the main electricity generating equipment and the first batch of cooling equipment arrived to the data centre. The construction preparation for cooling equipment is performed, and in the second decade of April the assembly and system connection started. The installation of basic equipment for power supply started in April.
By the 1st of August we plan in the first place to commission the object of about 400 racks. After the cooling system adjustment we want to bring the rack number up to 800 units.
NBJ: What are the characteristics of the capital project? What modern engineering solutions will be implemented in this data centre?
A. SOLDATOV: Perhaps the main feature of the Moscow data centre will be the largest installation of modular cooling system in Europe which is based on EcoBreeze. Talking about its benefits, let’s look at corresponding market offers. If you do not go into the details, we may talk about the availability of three engineering solutions.
First of all, this is freon air conditioning similar to household ones, but with a greater capacity and reliability. However, this product is not economical for data centres due to the fact that you can not use the free cooling from the environment.
Secondly, these are engineering solutions operated by water conditioners. There is an opportunity to cool liquid directly through the atmosphere during cold season. This product also can not be called economical, because you will still need to use the freon based units for half a year. Moreover, this method involves a chain of transformations, and each transformation is a certain loss of efficiency.
Finally, the third method of data centre cooling is the cooling by environmental air. The problem is that the air is either pumped from the atmosphere (without transformation chain) or the outside air cools the inside air in a data centre. Both options have their pros and cons.
In the first case, when the air is being pumped directly from the environment, there is a risk of dust formation. The air currents are very large and the amount of dust that falls into the equipment is large despite any filter system. Besides, there is a risk of corrosion. That is why the equipment may be out of order after a few years of its use. With all these disadvantages such an option may be considered in the corporate data centre. Such a solution is not suitable for a commercial data centre, which houses the customer equipment worth of millions of dollars. A customer won’t be pleased to remove dust from his expensive equipment.
The solution that we use is based on the data centre internal air cooling by the outside air via a heat exchanger.
After long negotiations and the searches of competitive systems, we decided to purchase a modular, industrial, commercial product of Schneider Electric Company. EcoBreeze system is based on natural cooling principle. Free cooling is carried out without admixing of the outside air. The data centres with such systems show the best industrial values of PUE parameter. Given that electricity prices are constantly increasing, the EcoBreeze system has significant competitive advantages.
26 modules will be installed with cooling capacity of 400 kW each. Uninterrupted power supply should be provided by 20 dynamic UPS Hitec. The capacity of each unit will be 1336 kW. An estimated annual average PUE energy efficiency ratio should not exceed 1.3.
NBJ: It is assumed that the object will be one of the largest commercial data centres in Russia and Eastern Europe. What kind of technical parameters may be mentioned in this regard?
A. SOLDATOV: Actually the design capacity of the data centre will be the largest in Eastern Europe. Moscow DataPro data centre can accommodate about three thousands of racks with the following design capacity of electric energy consumption: from 7 kW per rack.
The total area of the data centre building will make 16 000 m2. 7 500 m2 of this area will be occupied by machine rooms.
We are planning a large-scale reconstruction of the object as the acquired space allows this. We need to address the issues related to capital projects to obtain all necessary permits. We intend to do this by the summer of 2014 and we plan to begin the second phase of data centre construction in autumn.
NBJ: Was it difficult to find a suitable building for the data centre?
A. SOLDATOV: Yes, it is difficult to find a suitable object in our capital within Moscow Ring Highway (MRHW), especially by taking into account the fact that all industrial production is gradually transferred from the capital now due to some objective reasons. Despite this, Moscow still has many industrial zones. Many of them are in good transport accessibility. The question arises: what is better to build there – a residential house or a data centre, which, in essence, is an industrial enterprise? Many owners simply do not want to sell objects for industrial purposes. When you look for a suitable premise you are confronted with the fact that the object is either not within MRHW or is too large and requires excessively large investments or is not suitable absolutely for a data centre construction, and it is easier to put it down than re-equip it.
We found a suitable building and I think this was a great success. Of course the options with the data centre construction in the Moscow suburbs are considered now, within a few kilometres from MRHW which also has good transport accessibility. We plan the construction of a third site (the first one in Tver, the second one in Moscow) in the near Moscow region. This autumn we plan the beginning of an object design. Probably we will do it according to engineering solutions that are used in the Moscow data centre construction. I believe that we found an optimal solution for a commercial data centre and we don’t have to change anything here.
NBJ: Does the company plan to build a third data centre in the Moscow region?
A. SOLDATOV: Yes it does. The strategic course to which DataPro company adhere is focused on the rapid expansion of the Russian market data centres. To this end, we plan to commission at least a thousand of racks annually. At that all DataPro data centres plan to certify by Uptime Institute Tier 3 category (project, built facility, operational sustainability).
NBJ: Data centre customers are concerned with its reliability and safety. How do you solve these problems?
A. SOLDATOV: Data centre in its broadest sense sells safety and reliability. In this regard, two main tasks shall be performed. First of all we need to ensure the reliability of engineering infrastructure. Here we talk about certification as some kind of quality mark. Secondly, you need to provide a comprehensive physical security and the access to the equipment for all people with the corresponding rights.
For example, our new data centre in Moscow will be built according to international standards with the level of reliability according to Tier 3 Uptime Institute classification.
NBJ: I know that you are developing Russian standards for data centres.
A. SOLDATOV: These issues really need to be addressed, because the existing regulatory standards do not fully describe the processes of data centre creation and operation.
Due to the efforts of the initiative group the Association of data centre industry members was established last year. The main goal of this association is the development of standards for the data centres within Russian market.
In my opinion, it is necessary to state three main industry standards. The first one relates directly to the process of data centre construction. The second one should contain certain rules of data centre operation. Finally, the most sensitive issue is the development of infrastructure standards. Some objectively grounded industry fears exist here concerning the recommendations of any specific engineering solutions from certain providers. However, this can be avoided if the requirements for engineering infrastructure will be registered at the conceptual level: data centre shall contain a power supply system, a cooling system, an automatic sprinkler system, i.e. the list of systems should be prescribed.
Of course, the standards are not a binding requirement. If they are not indicated in a contract or a federal law, of course. However, the adherence to standards helps to maintain a certain level of our work quality and to enhance the data centre industry competitiveness.