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A data centre that goes Kaboom!

By johnboy - 17 May 2011 11

A mob called Rittal have posted the above video for the launch of their Canberra office which is, it seems, selling bomb resistant data centres.

It would seem they’re really very proud of it.

kaboom

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
A data centre that goes Kaboom!
DataCentre2020 5:16 pm 15 Jun 11

Jivrashia said :

Br1anL said :

Data centres are now being built to be inconspicuous as to not draw attention to them because of the risks to the data.

The existing ones around Canberra are like elephants hiding among the vegetable patch.

Seriously though, a lot of these DC contain data that are of non-National Security nature and would be unlikely to be a target for terrorist. Even if they were to be taken out it would be simply an inconvenience where they will have to switch from electronic to manual means (pen, paper, telephone), which is part of the business continuity plan that most organisations, including government agencies, would have prepared.

I’d be more concerned about protecting infrastructures that are crucial to our every day lives such as water, electricity, and communication.

communication = based on IT = Data Centre 🙂
water and electricity management = based on IT = Data Centre 🙂

DCs that run critical infrastructure such as water, electricity or communication supply definately require a proper physical security concept! The actual location of the DC will determine the security methods required…

I know of one europe internet provider that is running their DC in a Modular IT High Security Room because their DC is next to a large timber furniture warehouse!
… a fire “could” be a potential hazard 😀

DataCentre2020 5:01 pm 15 Jun 11

georgesgenitals said :

The questions that we need to ask are:
1) What is the likelihood of someone attempting to bomb a data centre?
2) What will be the consequence if it occurs?
3) What is the cost of protecting a data centre against being bombed?
4) What other risk mitigation can be implemented for the same or less dollars?

For example, if I have a dual data centre strategy with both sites live, is it worthwhile having one or both data centres “bomb proofed’? If I can fail over to an alternate processing location, or my other hot site can absorb the load, is it worth it?

It’s all part of security risk management.

My background is facility risk management and my company consulted quite a few global organisations regarding their data centre security concept. So here are some thoughts on so called “physical disaster (bomb) proof Data Centres”…

“risk management” is indeed vital, when it comes to a complete physical security concept for data centres and server rooms. Far too many Data Centre designs ignore quite obvious physical dangers. Water sprinklers, flood rivers, empty cardboard boxes, nearby production plants or simply “windows”…to name just a few very common hazards to today’s server rooms.

The risk of an explosion next to a DCs is very small or simply not existent in most DC’s applications. There is probably not one physical security concept that applies to all DC sites. Some DCs are built in old warehouses, some in high-rise buildings, some next to a flood river, some next to an industrial plant, some in a pre-built hosting environment (e.g. the new Bladeroom concept) or some next to an airport etc.! Every location has different physical hazards. In some cases a “hot 1+1 DC mirroring” is the only way to go, especially for 24/7 online based business environments. But this isn’t feasible for all DCs applications.

The explosion video shows a Modular IT High Security Room. This room-in-room concept is used in Europe since the late 70’s. There are just two or three vendors for those rooms, all Europe based. Mostly common within industries like banking/finance/insurance, collo/hosting, government and SME’s with high IT/DC dependency. IBM runs a few hundred DCs around the world in such Modular IT High Security Rooms. However I guess most DC managers and CIO’s will try to keep these rooms a secret.

In most cases those indoor security rooms are installed to provide “IT suitable” protection against fire (and smoke, unauthorised access, dust, debris, flood, sprinkler water etc.)! There are only a few of those rooms that come with an explosion rating, but everyone will agree that explosions are very unlikely to happen…

As indicated – more important is the actual physical fire protection for DCs. Even if there are standard fire rated walls (concrete, multi-layer gypsum, F90, F120 etc.) in place, those walls have usually a maximum internal temperature rating of 200 C (!!!) in case of an fire. This is because fire protection standards such as BS EN 1363, AS 1530.4-1997 or ISO 834-1:1999 were created to protect human life and NOT sensible IT equipment like servers and switches. Try to roast a blade server in a 200C hot oven and see if you can use it afterwards :-)!

This is the very reason for the European Standard EN1047-2 “fire protection for DCs and server rooms”! The maximum internal temperature is limited to 70C in case of a 60 minute external fire of 1000C!

Most IT High Security Rooms are constructed to meet this EN10472 standard. Let’s face it – if there is a “real fire” and a DC is in a “standard building”, all hardware and data will be gone. This would be the end of most businesses and organisations in today’s time. IT equipment like the IBM z10 Enterprise Class mainframe or modern Blade-setups are worth millions once installed, those values need proper protection…

But as stated in the beginning, it is all about risk management… Lookin’ forward to your comments!

There are some video’s on this topic on youtube, my favorite is the flood in one of Vodafones Data Centres, the staff looks pretty confused :-):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_slEWabaQM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lLI79fREJ4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGZXeHG9d4w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktGK8WaGgNg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFp-V_WRHxQ

Jivrashia 11:24 am 18 May 11

Br1anL said :

Data centres are now being built to be inconspicuous as to not draw attention to them because of the risks to the data.

The existing ones around Canberra are like elephants hiding among the vegetable patch.

Seriously though, a lot of these DC contain data that are of non-National Security nature and would be unlikely to be a target for terrorist. Even if they were to be taken out it would be simply an inconvenience where they will have to switch from electronic to manual means (pen, paper, telephone), which is part of the business continuity plan that most organisations, including government agencies, would have prepared.

I’d be more concerned about protecting infrastructures that are crucial to our every day lives such as water, electricity, and communication.

Br1anL 10:39 am 18 May 11

georgesgenitals said :

The questions that we need to ask are:
1) What is the likelihood of someone attempting to bomb a data centre?
2) What will be the consequence if it occurs?
3) What is the cost of protecting a data centre against being bombed?
4) What other risk mitigation can be implemented for the same or less dollars?

Data centres are a target for terrorism (local or international). Imagine, like others have suggested, that a Banks data becomes unavailable? Or if the Australian government Welfare System was taken out? The country could go into shutdown. Data centres are now being built to be inconspicuous as to not draw attention to them because of the risks to the data.

Mr Evil 8:50 pm 17 May 11

In 1982, a bloke by the name of Neil Roberts, blew himself to pieces while attempting to plant a bomb outside the Wanganui Computer Centre, in a misguided protest against the Govt and its computer network – so if that can happen in a sleepy little backwater like NZ nearly 30 years ago, then yes, I guess it could possibly happen here too.

nobody 6:20 pm 17 May 11

Have any data centres in Australia been bombed before? Why would anyone try to bomb a data centre and what could they gain from doing that? A bomb prove data centre sounds like the latest must have for a security mad world. Building fires, software viruses, dodgy software updates, power failures, and many other issues seem more likely to occur to a data centre.

georgesgenitals 3:34 pm 17 May 11

Brindabella said :

georgesgenitals said :

The questions that we need to ask are:
1) What is the likelihood of someone attempting to bomb a data centre?
2) What will be the consequence if it occurs?
3) What is the cost of protecting a data centre against being bombed?
4) What other risk mitigation can be implemented for the same or less dollars?

For example, if I have a dual data centre strategy with both sites live, is it worthwhile having one or both data centres “bomb proofed’? If I can fail over to an alternate processing location, or my other hot site can absorb the load, is it worth it?

It’s all part of security risk management.

Remember last week or so when the data center for the big banks had an air conditioner shut-down? It took down the whole on-line banking for a few hours. If that’s what an air-conditioner can do, imagine what a bomb could do!

There are organisations, including within government, that are set up so an alternate data centre picks up the load should a data centre fail. For a major bank to have that kind of outage is actually pretty piss-poor, in my opinion.

p1 1:51 pm 17 May 11

georgesgenitals said :

The questions that we need to ask are:
1) What is the likelihood of someone attempting to bomb a data centre?
2) What will be the consequence if it occurs?….

Wellll…. I really hate having to fill in the paperwork for tax returns (let alone pay tax), so if the ATO gets bombed….

Brindabella 1:20 pm 17 May 11

georgesgenitals said :

The questions that we need to ask are:
1) What is the likelihood of someone attempting to bomb a data centre?
2) What will be the consequence if it occurs?
3) What is the cost of protecting a data centre against being bombed?
4) What other risk mitigation can be implemented for the same or less dollars?

For example, if I have a dual data centre strategy with both sites live, is it worthwhile having one or both data centres “bomb proofed’? If I can fail over to an alternate processing location, or my other hot site can absorb the load, is it worth it?

It’s all part of security risk management.

Remember last week or so when the data center for the big banks had an air conditioner shut-down? It took down the whole on-line banking for a few hours. If that’s what an air-conditioner can do, imagine what a bomb could do!

p1 12:23 pm 17 May 11

Video has been removed 🙁

This could be a good investment in case the gas fired power station (for which the data centre was an excuse to build) explodes one day.

georgesgenitals 12:17 pm 17 May 11

The questions that we need to ask are:
1) What is the likelihood of someone attempting to bomb a data centre?
2) What will be the consequence if it occurs?
3) What is the cost of protecting a data centre against being bombed?
4) What other risk mitigation can be implemented for the same or less dollars?

For example, if I have a dual data centre strategy with both sites live, is it worthwhile having one or both data centres “bomb proofed’? If I can fail over to an alternate processing location, or my other hot site can absorb the load, is it worth it?

It’s all part of security risk management.

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