Tour of Europe's largest data center

    In the small Portuguese town of Covilha, one of the most powerful data centers in Europe is located. The new data center was built and commissioned by the largest Portuguese provider Portugal Telecom at the end of 2013, and the next year won the Global Data Center & Cloud Awards in the nomination "Best Data Center of the Year". The main criteria for the victory of the data center were technology innovation, energy efficiency, low environmental impact, as well as the method of deployment of computing power.

    An important role in the design and construction of the facility was played by the Quark TS engineering company. After 15 months of construction, the first building was launched as part of this project. Currently, the data center is a cube with sides of 55 meters, which houses 6 machine rooms, each with an area of ​​500 square meters. In the future, it is planned to build three more of these cubes, where, together with the current one, 50 thousand servers will be located.

    During the construction, due attention was paid to reducing environmental damage and introducing new technologies. 1,500 powerful solar panels fully provide electricity not only to the data center itself, but also to the auxiliary building with company offices. Among other things, employees planted about a thousand trees and set up a parking lot, where the main space is reserved for electric cars and bicycles.

    Around the data center is a real water moat that looks beautiful against the sky. Because of this, it seems as if a cubic building is floating in the clouds (direct sending) to the company's cloud services. However, the main task of the ditch is to maintain an ideal microclimate in the data center and collect rainwater, which, if necessary, can be used by chillers.

    As for the cooling system, here the new data center can break all records in terms of efficiency. It is no coincidence that Portugal Telecom planned to build it in Covilhã on the highest mountain of Portugal. It is in this area that the lowest average annual temperature in the country and weak seismic activity are observed.

    The data center operates a freecooling system (free cooling) for 360 days a year. Operators use chillers for about five days a year, which significantly reduces the energy efficiency ratio (PUE). Last year, a value of 1.2 units has already been achieved.

    In accordance with Uptime Institute standards, the data center was assigned the category Tier III, although some mashrooms received the category Tier IV. The server farm is designed according to the N + 1 scheme. In the high-voltage substation of the data center there are twelve diesel electric generators with a total capacity of 22.5 thousand kW * A.

    The substation is powered by two separate power lines, and in the event of a power outage, it can provide the necessary capacity to a city like Covilha. The facility also has two tanks for 80 thousand liters. diesel fuel. These reserves are enough to supply energy to the data center for 36 hours. Each machine room contains about 280 racks and has a density of network equipment of 2.2 kW per 1 sq. m

    Particular attention was paid to the security system. Several advanced security systems have been introduced, such as palm vein authentication. The construction itself is enclosed in a kind of metal safe, which significantly increases the level of security in general.

    The data center provides round-the-clock security and more than 250 security cameras. New technical and information security systems have also been installed.

    The city administration concluded that the new Portugal Telecom data center significantly increased the growth rate of the economy and the population of the city, which decreased significantly in the mid-1990s due to the decline in the country's textile industry. More than a thousand new jobs were created in the region, and the city’s economy grew significantly.

    According to the owners of Portugal Telecom, the main goal of creating such a powerful data center is to begin the active development of the company's cloud infrastructure and further cooperation with Cisco. The data center in Covilhã will be connected to other company facilities located in Brazil, Lisbon and Africa.

    Also popular now: