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Safety, security and energy-efficiency in Zurich data center

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When City of Zurich’s Center of Competence (CoC) for IT moved into its new locations in Zurich Albisrieden and Hagenholz, both the centers became Europe most advanced, secure and energy-efficient data center.

Data centers are critical facilities in most industries and therefore face special challenges – from managing complex infrastructures to optimizing energy efficiency and meeting security and operating requirements. Integrated, custom-tailored solutions and services play an important role in identifying and handling a wide range of incidents that could influence the availability, process continuity and profitability of a data center.

The OIZ, as the City of Zurich’s CoC for IT is known, provides essential IT services for Zurich’s municipal administration and supports cross-department IT projects. To improve the efficiency of operations and reduce costs, more than one hundred server rooms around the city, as well as the old data center, were closed and consolidated in two new data centers in Albisrieden and Hagenholz.

Security Solution

Operational reliability is a major requirement for the OIZ. The data center is monitored 24/7 and are equipped with numerous safety and security measures against unauthorized access, fire, lightning as well as the effects of earthquakes and flooding. The building access is provided on a role-based model and the server rooms utilize single-entry access control systems and biometric authentication.

For the Albisrieden site, Siemens Building Technologies Division designed and delivered fully integrated fire safety, security and building automation systems. The single-source approach not only allowed for consistent design, planning and implementation of the data center, taking into account the increased security-related requirements, it also allowed the OIZ as an operator, benefit of from having one contact for all issues in the event of malfunctions.

At the heart of the building’s security concept is the security and building management system Siseco CC (Siemens Security and Comfort Control Center). This top-level system allows for optimal monitoring and ensures reliable operation of all disciplines. Whether intrusion and fire detection, video monitoring or access control, thanks to its open system architecture, the management station combines the control of a range of technical systems from different manufacturers, regardless of whether they use standard or proprietary interfaces. The station’s uniform, intelligent and intuitively designed user interface for all subsystems facilitates incident handling, increases security and is indispensable in standardizing and optimizing processes.

The critical disciplines are connected to two different power grids in order to ensure that if one grid fails operations can continue without interruption. The failure of the cooling system would also have a major impact on the facility. Increased temperatures can damage the components installed in a room. For this reason, the infrastructure for cooling production, distribution and output also has a redundant design.

The integrated Sinteso system provides quick detection, alarming and control in the event of a fire. The fire detection unit processes all messages from the system, triggering alarms and complex control procedures. The networking via the system bus ensures that every fire detector and manual switch in the building can be monitored individually and alarms are displayed in an easy-to-read format on the user-friendly graphical user interface. With intuitive operation, plaintext messages and clear instructions, the station minimizes the risk of operator error in the event of an emergency.

In the event of an incident, the extinguishing control panels from the Siemens Sinorix line provide fast and reliable control over oxygen reduction in the area affected and extinguishes fires without causing damage to the equipment or the environment.

The Guarto 3000 intrusion detection unit integrated in the higher-level Siseco control system is a highly flexible and virtually unlimited system topology as well as an open software structure. It allows the individual security concept to be mapped on a 1-to-1 basis. In the OIZ data center, this technology is used to monitor doors as well as the entire exterior.

Energy Efficiency

The Albisrieden data center housed in an existing structure was designed to be especially energy efficient. Part of the heat generated from continuously cooling the servers is used by the OIZ offices and supplied to an adjacent housing complex with some 400 apartments on an 80% CO-free basis.This saves about 4,000 MWh annually in fossil energy.

In addition, the building technology from the Siemens Desigo line plays an important role in the sustainability of the data center by ensuring energy-efficient operation. The flexible, scalable building automation system Desigo PX integrates more than 3,000 physical data points, controls and manages processes, and allows for demand-based, reliable automation in the entire area of building engineering systems. The efficient interaction between all the installed components, combined with ongoing monitoring and control, results in considerable energy savings while optimizing room climate and operation. The clear, intuitive user interface and a user-friendly, graphical display also provide users with a high level of comfort in their daily work.


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