Richard Boogaard inside a powerhouse

99.9999% Uptime

It might seem an innocuous detail: three or four nines after the decimal point. But in the data center world, that extra nine is critical.
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The Uptime Institute’s TIER Classification is an important international standard. TIER IV is the highest TIER level, requiring an uptime of 99.995%.

Since its creation, Smartdc Rotterdam has had an uptime of 99.9999%, and our data center in Heerlen even has 100% uptime. The difference between the minimum uptime required for TIER IV and the uptime of Smartdc Rotterdam is greater than it might appear: with an uptime of 99.995%, a data center has a downtime of 26 minutes a year.

The highest achievable uptime

Our customers expect the highest possible uptime. It’s not surprising when you consider that our data center controls traffic lights, regulates payment transactions, and hosts tens of thousands of workstations and webshops. If all these applications were offline for half an hour every year, the cost would be enormous, not to mention the safety risks.

The problem with downtime is that applications are not available and that data could be lost. If power unexpectedly goes off, servers shut down improperly, and files may become corrupt. Rebooting all the systems often takes much longer than the actual downtime because all files must first be checked for errors before the processes can restart.

Fully redundant

The only way to achieve excellent uptime is to implement all systems redundantly. We recently built a second powerhouse in our Rotterdam data center, so now every rack has an entirely separate A and B feed. The primary power supply is routed via the A feed, as shown in the diagram below.

The A feed was designed never to fail. A battery-powered UPS cluster ensures that the racks are powered without interruption if a power grid failure occurs. The generators start immediately, and the power supply takes over within seconds with no significant surges or drops.

The same extensive setup has been installed in duplicate with identical transformers, UPS clusters, and generators if something goes wrong. The B feed is a backup power supply with the same quality and performance as the A feed, and this setup is built with the Uptime Institute’s TIER IV standards as reference.

Data center power scheme

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