brightsolid wholly own and manage two data centres, one in Aberdeen and one in Dundee. When customers come to visit us, they often have many questions about our facilities.
We’ve decided to collate some of the common, and some of the not-so-common questions we get asked into this blog post. Read on to find out more.
If you’d like to see our facility, book a data centre tour through our Contact Us page.
Accreditations and Certifications
What are your ISO standards and what do they mean?
ISO accreditations are established by the International Organisation for Standardisation. The body sets standard requirements and best practices across a range of industries. There are numerous ISO accreditations relating to data centres, data management and information security.
We have various ISO accreditations:
- ISO 27001: This requires accreditation holders to establish and maintain a thorough information security management system.
- ISO 22301: This requires accreditation holders to demonstrate that they adhere to business continuity management best practice
- ISO 9001: This requires accreditation holders to demonstrate they properly run quality management systems for their products
- ISO 14001: This requires accreditation holders to demonstrate they properly maintain environmental management standards
What is a data centre tier and what does it mean?
Data centre tiers are a way of measuring how robust a data centre is. The higher the tier, the more failure-resistant a data centre is.
Both our facilities are designed to Tier III standards. Organisations which meet Tier III accreditations guarantee high standards and 99.98% uptime.
What cyber security accreditations do you hold?
As well as the aforementioned ISO accreditations, we hold a Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation. Cyber Security is something we take very seriously. We have a Head of Information Security and Business Continuity, and our Emerging Technologies team are on the cutting edge of security innovations such as Shielded VMs.
Experience of Working with Security Intensive Industries
Which sectors do you work in?
We have cross-vertical experience of looking after mission critical systems. This spans over a range of industries including:
Oil and Gas
We have always had a strong presence in Aberdeen, which has been solidified by the opening of our Aberdeen data centre. Firms such as KCA Deutag, TAQA and Sparrows Group trust our highly experienced team with their infrastructure.
What do Oil and Gas companies look for in a data centre partner?
Scalability is essential due to businesses constantly changing size and good connectivity is a must so energy companies can connect to their IT estate seamlessly, even when offshore.
With organisations holding private information about individuals and IT that supports essential public services, we’re an obvious choice for public sector bodies. Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council both benefit with huge cost savings from our managed service provision, while NHS Tayside house their crucial applications and data in our facilities.
What do public sector organisations look for in a data centre partner?
Security is a huge priority. In times of public sector cuts, cost-savings is of great value. This may be achieved by sharing infrastructure services with other bodies.
brightsolid is a natural choice for financial institutions with an emphasis on availability and cyber security. Customers include Martin Currie and Standard Life.
What do financial institutions look for in a data centre partner?
With cyber-attacks coming more common, financial institutions benefit from partners which offer them DDoS protection. As downtime can be extremely costly to their business, they also look for partners that can offer as much uptime as possible.
Secure Data Centre Access Requirements
How quickly and how often can you have access to the data centre?
For work that is not urgent, we ask for 24 hours notice before granting access to the facility.
Emergency access is immediate but access requests are still required.
Access is available 24 hours a day, which is quite common for customers looking to carry out changes without having a business impact.
Do you get access to the whole data centre?
While we can’t grant access to the whole data centre for security purposes, customers are given access to a kitchen with complimentary teas and coffees. Meeting rooms can be booked on request and our Dundee data centre has shower and changing facilities.
I’m not a customer, can I get a tour?
Of course. Tours are easily arranged for both facilities and can be organised via our Contact Us page.
Data Centre Connectivity
How well connected is your data centre?
We have a wide range of telecommunications providers within our data centres. They include Vodafone, BT, SSE, CityFibre, Tampnet, Speedcast, Rignet, Commsworld, Converged and Highnet.
As a carrier-neutral data centre, connectivity is included in our contracts. This means that we deal with connectivity and support under one SLA.
How does the Meet-Me-Room work?
A “Meet me Room” (MMR) is a physically isolated space within a data centre where telecommunications companies can physically connect with each other, exchanging data without additional loop fees.
This means that any customer in our Aberdeen data centre can quickly and securely transfer data to any other customer in the facility using one of our network carriers, including RigNet and SSE.
The brightsolid team are the only personnel with security clearance to access the brightsolid MMR, minimising any risk between our customers and telecommunication providers.
Cooling the Data Centre
How do you cool your Dundee data centre?
Our Dundee Data Centre uses hot and cold aisles. This is a very standard industry practice and involves cool areas being contained, with cool air being forced through underfloor grills and into the racks.
How do you cool the brightsolid Aberdeen data centre?
Our Aberdeen facility is different to Dundee as we use whole room cooling. While there isn’t hot and cold aisles, all racks are cooled to the level they need to be.
We also deploy an innovative cooling solution called EcoFris. This takes free air from the external environment, which in our case is the generally Aberdeen climate, and filters it into the data centre. As well as being unique to any data centre in Scotland, EcoFris is also extremely environmentally friendly.
Data Centre Racks
Can you accommodate high density racks?
Yes, we can accommodate high density racks in both facilities.
In our Dundee facility, we have a forced air cooling system and designated hot and cold aisles.
Our Aberdeen facility is a little different in that it uses a whole room cooling system, which is better suited for high density racks.
Are racks always locked?
Yes. The racks come with a 3 pin tumbler lock as well as a key. However, it should be clear that brightsolid have a master key to all the racks in case we need to fix problems. It also means that we can grant third party engineers access to your racks without giving them access to your codes.
Powering the Data Centre
Which power grid are you connected to?
In both Dundee and Aberdeen, we’re on the same power grid as the local hospitals. This means that if there is a failure, our power would be a top priority to be restored.
What happens if you lose power to your data centre?
A number of things happen when there is a power failure within the data centre, all of which are put in place to keep your systems on, no matter what.
If we were to lose mains power, we have an Uninterrupted Power System (UPS). The UPS has the capability to run for 24 to 55 minutes. However, this would not be necessary, as the generators take a mere 60 seconds to power up.
The generators are diesel powered and can run for 72 hours at maximum load. It’s worth bearing in mind that unless a data centre is completely full, the generators would not have to run at such a capacity and could go for longer.
We are so confident about out power systems that we offer a 100% Service Level Agreement on power.
Smart hands, support and additional services
Do you offer “Smart Hands” services?
Yes, we have a remote hands service in both our Dundee and Aberdeen Data Centres.
Whether it’s changing tapes or rebooting VMs, our engineers can save you time and hassle with an out of hours support service.
Apart from putting kit in your data centre, what other services to brightsolid offer?
brightsolid’s services do not stop at colocation. We’re well adept in virtualisation, able to sell VMware and Hyper-V Virtual Machines. We regularly offer customers cost-saving solutions in backup, storage, patching and firewall management. For customers that want the freedom of creating solutions for their users without having to focus on their infrastructure, we offer fully and partially managed services.
Finally, for those looking to experience true cloud capabilities from regional data centres, our team are working to bring Azure Stack to the market. To understand more about Azure Stack and how it could fit into your business, request a workshop here.
How long have brightsolid been in the data centre business?
As a company, brightsolid have been in business for 22 years and running essential infrastructure for 20 years.
How many people do you have on site at your data centres?
We have nearly 60 people working across our Dundee and Aberdeen facilities as well as a sales office in Edinburgh.
Both data centres are staffed by security personnel 24 hours a day.
What are the skill sets your team has?
brightsolid pride themselves on their skilled engineers. From networking, systems engineering, virtualisation, backup and storage, our engineers are constantly acquiring new skills that help us surpass our customers’ expectations.
We also have a well-respected Project Management team, a customer-focused service desk and a commercial team playing a range of supporting functions.
Disasters and Serious Incidents
What would happen if there was a fire in the data centre?
First off, the fire would be picked up by the VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus). Once the VESDA notices any unduly hot areas, the fire suppression system kicks in. Our fire suppression systems use highly specialised gases, so fires can be extinguished without causing any damage to the IT equipment.