Cold Aisle Containment
Teledata is a leading data centre provider, dealing with household names such as Cisco, IBM, Oracle, Siemens, Kelloggs and Adidas. The datacentre provides co-location services for critical server and telecoms equipment, and is committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible. This involves regular measuring and analysing energy consumption, and pro-actively identifying and implementing best practice to ensure efficiencies.
Analysis had revealed a variation in efficiency across the facility. Teledata managers first met the Cross-Guard team at the Datacentre World exhibition in London where they were impressed with ideas for addressing the PUE (power usage efficiency) across the datacentre and sample prices. Cross-Guard was commissioned to undertake a pilot installation and following this for a cold aisle containment solution across the entire Manchester Teledata facility.
A standard solution could not be applied because data centre aisles were different widths and shapes, and cabinets from different manufacturers varied in height. Even more challenging were the overhead services that would obstruct any attempt to separate hot and cold air.
The Cross-Guard Sales and Engineering teams thrive on such problems and designed a new cold aisle roof infill panel and end-of-aisle door that accommodated for these issues and could be fitted anywhere in the facility. Cross-Guard’s professional installation team worked hard to fit the new panels and doors with minimal disruption to the operation of the datacentre.
Immediately, PUE values were seen to increase across the datacentre along with energy efficiency, so critical investment in the cold aisle containment solution soon generated savings.
Digital Realty tasked Cross-Guard to design and install a cold aisle containment system using an active roof within their data hall. The installation of 3 enclosures was to be completed during live operation and several issues were to be overcome, including overhead fibre cables and services that would conflict with a cold aisle containment roof.
After visiting the client site, the Cross-Guard project team put forward a bespoke design for the cold aisle containment. Infill panels were used to raise the height of the cold aisle containment roof to accommodate the services, and a new installation method was used to facilitate installation on open racks during business operation. The cold aisle containment was assembled without any drilling or cutting within the data hall.
As a result of implementing this cold aisle containment system, Digital Realty have benefited from a significant improvement in power usage effectiveness (PUE) from 1.85 to 1.55. Our expanded case study on Digital Realty includes an overview of the benefits of containment with a technical report provided. Further benefits of the cold aisle containment implementation included significant savings (predicted to save more than £118,500 per year), and return on investment to be achieved in approximately 5 months.
Telecity Group are one of Cross-Guard’s largest Data Centre Operator clients and, in some of their data centres that are heavily populated colocation areas, they needed segregation for their various clients. They also wanted to fit out the areas with cold aisle containment to help bring the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of their buildings down. They asked us if there was a way to incorporate our security cage system and combine it with the Cross-Guard Coolgenic cold aisle containment.
With datahall space limited around the aisles, and space tight above them, the solution needed to fit into the space that was available while also allowing installation work to take place within the space constraints. The space issue meant that there was not enough room to build a standalone cold aisle containment and then a security cage to go around it all, and that the two products needed to be combined to meet the client’s needs.
As with every complicated project we encounter, we sent one of Cross-Guard’s specialist trained engineers to the site where the client wanted to implement the solution initially. We decided that, to save as much space as possible, the containments walls would need to be made from our Connexions cage product. Cages by their nature are perforated to allow airflow through a datahall and allow light into the aisles that are enclosed by the cage. In instances where airflow was not such a problem, we changed the panels to a solid steel rather than punched. In areas where the additional light was required, we built the walls out of perforated cage panels and then backed them with a bespoke framed polycarbonate to allow the light in. The cage walls were built as close as possible to the racks meaning that (as well as securing the aisle) the cage was the cold aisle containment walls as well. Above the ceiling, we incorporated a combination of our removable non-active cold aisle roof and our cold aisle active panels, which are held in place with a powered EML that releases on the fire alarm, triggering to allow fire suppression into the aisle. The sliding cage doors on the ends of the aisle were also backed with polycarbonate, meaning that you could visually see into the aisles still from the outside.
Not only had we secured the area for our client’s colocation customers, but we had also provided the client with a secure cold aisle containment solution as well. The solution gave our client satisfied customers and also helped work towards lowering PUE for the client in an area where they thought a containment solution would not be possible.
Hot Aisle Containment
In 2016, Telehouse North Two, a pioneering provider of secure carrier-neutral data centres, invited Cross-Guard to tender for a hot aisle containment and modular data centre partitions for their new flagship data centre, North Two, located within their Docklands campus.
The requirement was to deploy modular data centre partitions to form secure areas for customer racks. The partitions achieve 65% free area, allowing free cool air movement. They are robust to provide a high level of mechanical security protection whilst they also provide effective visual screening and privacy of the racks within the enclosures. One of the largest challenges facing the team was that the partitions had to be constructed around existing overhead services and light fittings. Each enclosure was also required to provide a high level of security, including self-closing sliding doors with access controlled electronic locks.
The hot aisle PODs had to be supported from the structural ceiling, to form the hot aisle containment from the top of data cabinets reaching to the suspended ceiling. To complete the DFM and HAC, self-closing sliding doors were required at the end of each aisle. The DFM and HAC enclosures, to be robust and maintain containment integrity, had to prevent leakage performance of no more than 3%. The structures also had to be capable of accepting equipment of various width and heights without the use of tools, and allow the removal of all cabinets whilst the containment enclosure remains deployed.
The Cross-Guard Project team, working closely with the Telehouse North Two Engineering and Architectural teams, designed the bespoke model which entirely complied with air movement requirements and which passed all CFD airflow tests. The DFM and HAC designed partition systems were installed by Cross-Guard’s Installation team.
The Cross-Guard installations complement the high technical features and novel designs of Telehouse North Two which incorporate the world’s first multi-story adiabatic cooling system and which allow the delivery of highest efficiencies and of an industry leading PUE.
Trinity College: Dublin
Following Data Centres Ireland exhibition, Cross-Guard received an enquiry from Trinity College Dublin to provide a hot aisle containment solution. Specifically, they needed a HAC to be retrofitted onto existing cabinets and maintain the current layout.
Immediately, several problems presented themselves. The cabinets were different heights and rows of different lengths, in addition to overhead services and light fittings that would clash with the enclosure. Also, the end-of-the-aisle air-conditioning intake units had to be contained in a way that would allow unobstructed access into the aisle.
The Cross-Guard Sales and Engineering teams thrive on such problems and designed bespoke infills panels and frames to solve the issues. The experienced installation team was brought in, specifically because of their 10+ years of installation experience to ensure that installation process was concluded quickly and efficiently, completely minimising any disruptions to the data centre, end-user operations and site security.
In a quick and effective fashion, Cross-Guard’s team implemented the new hot aisle containment and immediately PUE values were seen to increase and, with energy efficiency being such a critical factor in modern data centre operation, investment in the hot aisle containment solution will soon generate the required return on investment.
The HAC solution was completed on Friday, following some serious dedication from your team, they were all very professional and the quality of work was incredible. The solution was a challenge, as you know from doing the survey, but I am really happy with the finished product. It was clear that installers were very knowledgeable and I appreciated their proactive approach to keeping me updated on works and recommendations.
The team as a whole worked cleanly and without disruption to the rest of the building, this was acknowledged by the security and maintenance staff, who look after the building.
The room was left in a cleaner state than they found it, which was a pleasant surprise considering most of the debris left was from previous contractors.
I would really appreciate it if you could extend my thanks to everyone who worked on the room.
Data Centre Manager
ICT Facilties Group
IS Services Seirbhísí Córas Faisnéise
Trinity College Dublin Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath
Modular Caging & Enclosures
Cross-Guard were approached by a well-known global data centre operator to provide an upgrade for the existing security cage in their live data hall in Munich. Specifically, they required us to dismantle the existing 3.3m high wire mesh cage, as this wasn’t sufficiently secure for online card transaction services. We then needed to construct a cage wall that was solid up to 2.4m high, and perforated above, with 13mm holes with a roof and underfloor barrier.
Immediately, several problems presented themselves.
The solid wall, with relatively small perforations at the high level, roof and underfloor barrier, raised concern for the airflow obstruction within the data hall. Several overhead and underfloor services had to pass through the cage wall and underfloor barrier, and the gaps around the services couldn’t be greater than 5mm.
Supporting the 8.4m wide cage roof without using internal vertical supports, was also a challenge.
Cross-Guard designed a bespoke solution to mitigate these issues. Panels with hexagonal holes were designed to maximise airflow through the cage wall, whilst maintaining the highest possible security level at the same time.
A specialist roof support system was designed to maintain structural integrity of the 8.4m wide roof, without needing to use internal supports.
The installation difficulties were resolved by Cross-Guard’s installation engineers, specifically assigned to this project due to their 10+ years of installation experience. Through close communication between the Cross-Guard Design team, Data Centre Management, and the client, the process was concluded quickly and efficiently; completely minimising any disruptions to the data centre, end-user operations, and site security.
In a quick and effective fashion, Cross-Guard’s team implemented the new cage design for the client, achieving the highest possible level of physical security, without compromising the airflow in the data hall. Recommended as ‘excellent’ by the customer, Cross-Guard continue to prove themselves as the industry’s leading security providers, with our pioneering products and methods.
The Connexions modular caging system is a steel server cage and partitioning system used to create secure areas, as well as demarcation for the storage of servers and computer equipment.
The unique cage design, made only by Cross-Guard, is exceptionally strong, easy to install, and adaptable to changing requirements.
Although designed for computer data centres, the Connexions system is also suitable for the protection of documents, controlled medicines, confidential information, gas, and other valuables.
Headquartered in California, Equinix are the leading global colocation datacentre providers, operating 175+ datacentres in 22 countries, on five continents. Established in 1998, out of the belief that existing datacentres could not sufficiently support the rapid growth of the internet, the founders of Equinix saw an opportunity to deploy datacentres on a much larger scale.
Expanding into Europe in 2007, Equinix now cater to 9,500 companies, 1,500 network providers and 2,500 I.T. cloud providers worldwide. With 62 datacentres throughout 11 European countries, Equinix is no stranger to the need for security. In 2015, the company pledged to power their entire datacentre platform with clean renewable energy. This in turn requires them to be as energy efficient as possible, so as not to incur huge energy costs.
Equinix specifically required an alternative cage solution to the wire mesh cages that were currently in situ, as they were insufficiently secure for online card transaction services. Equinix required numerous types of cage walls, including several that were required to be solid up to 2.5m high, and some that had to be perforated with 12.7mm holes, found in the roof and underfloor barrier.
As a resolution to this issue, Cross-Guard designed and supplied a bespoke solution for Equinix’s Milan based datacentre. Cross-Guard installed the Connexions modular caging system, a steel server cage and partitioning system used to create secure areas, as well as demarcation for the storage of servers and computer equipment. The unique cage design is exceptionally strong, easy to install, and adaptable to changing requirements.
Immediately, several problems presented themselves; both the solid walls and the perforated panels raised concern for the airflow obstruction within the data hall. Additionally, several overhead and underfloor services had to pass through the cage wall and underfloor barrier, and the gaps around these services could not exceed 5mm. Furthermore, the internal clearance within the cage had to be no less than 2.5m, but the overhead services made fulfilment of this very challenging.
Cross-Guard designed a bespoke solution to mitigate these issues. Panels with hexagonal holes were designed to maximise airflow through the cage wall, whilst maintaining the highest possible security level.
The perforated cage wall panels were made of 3mm thick steel, with perforations smaller than 12.7mm.
A specialist roof support system was designed to maintain 2.5m internal cage height clearance.
The Cross-Guard installation engineers that were assigned to this project resolved any and all onsite difficulties swiftly and effectively. Through close communication between the Cross-Guard Design team, Data Centre Management and the client, the process was concluded rapidly and efficiently; completely minimising any disruptions to the data centre, end-user operations, and site security.
Cross-Guard’s team implemented the new cage design for the client and achieved the highest possible level of physical security, without compromising airflow in the data hall. Recommended as ‘excellent’ by Equinix, Cross-Guard proves itself as the industry’s leading security provider, with pioneering products, services and methods.
Prestigious Investment Bank: City of London
We were approached by a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm looking to bolster site security in light of the recent spate of global terrorist attacks, most notably those in Paris.
To provide an aesthetically pleasing solution which will secure stairwells and service areas whilst maintaining the buildings decorative style and ambience.
The Cross-Guard Sales and Engineering teams thrive on such challenges and came up with a highly presentable Connexions Caging solution which suited the surroundings, was user-friendly and most importantly provided the desired level of security. The standard of installation had to be very high with each panel being to cut to size at precise angles to provide the best possible finish.
The client was extremely happy with the end result. Our solution combined with other measures provides the client with the physical security required to enable them to develop a robust emergency response plan should the building come under attack, which will ensure the safety of its staff and clients alike.
DC Operator: Silicon Valley, California
The Cross-Guard team were approached by one of our UK clients who are owned by a larger US based company that operate data centres across the US. The client asked us if we could apply our specialist knowledge to a task in one of their California-based data centres to build both a secure environment and a security cage that could withstand the seismic activity that California experiences.
The security cage required by our client was quite large some 7m across by 20m long. Due of the nature of the information on the servers that needed securing, the cage required a roof as well, meaning a roof to be built of some 140sqm, a challenge to support it in itself. The whole cage had to be braced to the building’s wall and then seismically braced to the concrete slab below the raised floor, so as to ensure if the building suffered an earthquake then the cage would not collapse.
One of the Cross-Guard specialist engineers flew over to USA and met with our client. We discussed with them the method of supporting the roof and how the security cage should be seismically braced. With the help of the specialist seismologist, we looked at how existing components within a data centre are braced like the cabinets, AC, trunking, pipework and other components, and applied the specialist’s geological knowledge and our engineering skills to come up with the solution. We were able to run along the length of the security cage perimeter dual heavy-gauge steel angles at the base of the cage posts. These were bolted through each individual cage upright, and then a 12mm steel threaded rod was passed through these every 1200mm, though the floor tile and into a steel section bolted to the concrete slab. Once tightened up, the rod passed the cage’s bracing point to the slab as well as the raised floor, meaning that it wasn’t relying on the posts fixings alone.
From the design meeting to manufacture and shipping of the material, the Cross-Guard team worked to fulfil our client’s needs every step of the way. The solution was turned around and installed within 12 weeks along with two other security cages they requested in addition to the original. The client and the seismic engineer, who had to check the installation work as it was built, were impressed with the efficiency of the build and the design of the solution. Since the build, the area around the data centre has suffered from an earthquake of 4.2 on the Richter scale and the security cage has remained as built.
Cross-Guard have been working with client Keysource for a number of years and the client required assistance with one of their data centre customers who wanted to maximise the available space within the data hall and provide a secure cage solution for the datacentre’s clients.
The requirement for the client was to build a security cage that could sit as close to the rows of cabinets as possible and still provide access to the front and rear of each cabinet. Cabinets have doors themselves to the front and rear so the solution had to be able to accommodate the cabinet’s doors opening whilst creating as minimal a footprint as possible. With every sq.m in a data centre being of high value, in both cost and rental, we needed to provide a security caging solution that would be financially feasible and offer the potential to make more of the data hall free to be rented to other customers.
The Cross-Guard Project team visited the site and devised a bespoke design to build a caged environment up against the client’s cabinets. The security cage was designed to give each cabinet its own individual door to the back of the cabinet. Working with our client we developed this method, spacing their cabinets in the row to give clearance for the door frames in-between them, meaning the security cage could be built immediately against the row on the outside and saving the client floor space.
From the creation of the solution to implementing it for our client on a quick turnaround, Cross-Guard were able to meet the Keysource customer’s requirements and the new design solution has been adopted further through the data hall. Making a saving of 1200mm on either side of the cage, across the width and with doors that are able to open within the footprint of the single floor tile, means the solution is incredibly space efficient and cost saving.
Cross-Guard has maintained a great relationship with Security Care, spanning over 25 years. Supplying a range of security grilles to Security Care to be installed in the businesses and homes of their clients, the team at Cross-Guard work hard to excel expectations and to provide timely, quality solutions.
Specialising in the supply and install of physical security products, Security Care provides solutions for all types of properties, from commercial to domestic, in order to protect against theft and vandalism. With over 20 years of experience, the client is a leading company within the security market.
Cross-Guard understands the need to manufacture and turn around security grilles quickly for its clients. The relationship with Security Care is built on trust and the willingness to go above and beyond to help. With regular communication, the Grilles team at Cross-Guard do their best to help Security Care achieve its business aims and provide products end-users can trust in.
The main challenge encountered with most clients is the end-user’s requirement for very quick turn-around on products. This can be for many reasons. It may be the case the end-user has suffered a break-in and requires an immediate resolution. Fast turn-around will always be a challenge due to increasing demand for security products, but the team at Cross-Guard work hard to try and meet the needs of the client, where possible.
This case study will discuss two specific examples of challenges Cross-Guard has overcome:
- The Cross-Guard team received instruction to create a grille to a specific size to discover that the security grille would need adapting in order to suitably fit the given location. The newly-sized grille would need to be turned around urgently
- The client required a grille urgently, so the Cross-Guard team looked to turn it around in a very tight timescale
In the first instance, the Cross-Guard team collected, re-worked, and re-delivered the security grille back to Security Care within the week, prioritising the job given its urgent nature. This created pressure for the team to deliver the re-worked grille while also maintaining current workload to ensure all client expectations were met and surpassed where possible. Security Care was happy with the result.
The second circumstance arose due to the end-user experiencing a break-in where thieves ram-raided the shop. As the end-user managed a high-value fashion shop with an expensive inventory, security grilles were needed urgently. This order from Security Care was confirmed and processed on the same day with manufacture, dispatch and delivery once again occurring within the week.
Cross-Guard’s lead times were surpassed given the exceptional circumstances, and Security Care was able to deliver great service to the end-user. The normal lead time for Cross-Guard’s CX range of security grilles is 8-10 days, whereas on Extendor products this is 4-6 weeks. Given this fact, the turn-around of these grilles for Security Care was exceptional.
Alison from Security Care said: “Such a professional service from start to finish. Staff are always very helpful with technical questions.
"Quality products with fast and reliable delivery, I wouldn’t go anywhere else!"