BAS System Assures Reliability, Low Cost for Data Center Operators
July 9, 2007 - Facilities Management
Digital Realty Trust acquires, manages and builds mission critical communication and data center facilities. The company's portfolio includes more than 60 properties totaling more than 11 million square feet in 25 markets across North America and Europe, making it the largest third-party owner of technology-related real estate.
The company's vision was not just to operate a single data center, but to create networked properties united by its Ethernet over a fiber data network. Making the vision a reality required a set of building technologies supporting the company’s unique value proposition:
—Guaranteed massive electrical power to run multi-tenant server farms in a single building.
—Precision temperature and air flow control systems to maintain cooling conditions required to keep servers running efficiency.
—A building management system that would integrate easily with building system controllers in multiple facilities and provide partitioned access to controls for the company and its individual tenants.
—A building management system that would operate efficiently over an IP network with a central hub controlling nodes distributed across multiple cities.
Finding a BAS partner was challenging given the demands. Tenants would not want to risk their data or lose control of the security and environmental protection of their information systems.
Digital Realty Trust uses the TAC Andover Continuum system to provide precision controls for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
“Some tenants want total ownership and access to operations. For them we provide the bandwidth, the IP address and access to their part of the building management system controls,” says Ted Martin, vice president of operations. “Other tenants are happy to have us manage systems for them. In either case, we are responsible for the buildings, which include the power, environmental and security systems.”
With a business model that allows tenants to lease an entire floor, office or section, Digital Realty Trust’s building management system must be flexible to new scenarios of control. When this is multiplied across 60 properties worldwide, flexibility and scalability are critical.
The Andover Continuum CyberStation Web browser allows each tenant to access the controls and monitoring systems they need across Digital Realty Trust’s virtual private network. Firewall protection and authentication systems guard the virtual boundaries between tenants.
The system also provides alarms to alert users if there are problems with airflow, humidity or utility controls. Constant and accurate monitoring reassures tenants that the environment for their servers is maintained within specified parameters.
The company operations department also likes the open standards approach provided by TAC’s native BACnet implementation. “Any additional overhead costs for BACnet are incremental and well-covered by the ease of integration," Martin says.