How a former command post becomes a data center

Published on January 23, 2017

How a former command post becomes a data center

    The use of former bomb shelters, bunkers and command posts for data centers is becoming popular in the world. Thus, these objects gain a second life. Recently, we talked about the peaceful profession of bomb shelter , in this article we will talk about the former Swiss Air Force Command Center (NATO), which is now used as an international data center, including by Russian providers.


    Located deep in the mountains of Switzerland, the Deltalis data center is equipped with a multi-level security system while providing customers with a wide range of flexible and scalable services - from simple equipment placement to full managed services. This data center in Attinghausen, Switzerland, occupies hundreds of square meters and meets the most stringent standards, it uses the solutions of leading vendors, it is possible to place powerful high-density equipment.

    Deltalis is one of the most reliable data centers in the world. For large customers and customers with special safety requirements, separate rooms and zones are allocated - in fact, the data center inside the data center. The private zone can be separated by solid walls. In addition, customers can deploy a data center on their dedicated engineering communications site to meet their specific requirements. Customized security solutions may be implemented for them, including badge readers, biometric and security systems, and intrusion detection systems.



    The peculiarity of this data center is that it is located in a former military facility, which means it is very well protected. The use of former bomb shelters, bunkers and command posts for data centers seems to be becoming popular in Europe , andin Russia and in Ukraine . This unique data center has been accepted into the international data center alliance (International Data Center Group) and received the highest five-star status after passing the certification procedure of EuroCloud Europe.

    Hidden deep in the Swiss Alps, the bunker was designed to protect against nuclear explosions and foreign invasion, but was not useful for this purpose. Today it is used to protect digital data. What does the Deltalis data center look like, how is it arranged? We offer you a short excursion to this “Swiss Fort Knox”.



    Carved into the rock, the bunker can “live” for hundreds of years and is literally physically impregnable, and reliable in protecting information like Swiss banks. Like banks, the data center is protected by Swiss jurisdiction, which is characterized by very strict legal rules related to the protection of information and personal data. So it is not surprising that among his clients today are more than half of foreign companies.

    The theater begins with a hanger, and the data center with a well-guarded entrance. The perimeter of the entrance group is under full video control and remote police protection. Upon entering the data center, a special certificate must be presented. Access to servers can only be obtained by one whose fingerprints are in the data center database: it stores a map of the pattern of capillaries on each finger and a retinal scan. Access to the zone of servers is carried out strictly one by one, and access of random people is absolutely excluded.



    This is where access control is carried out. Passage through the cabin - strictly one at a time.



    A man comes in, scans a fingerprint and retina. If authentication is successful, then it is passed on. At the same time, the weight of the person is controlled - multi-factor authentication. And the room itself is under video surveillance.



    An additional zone of control and the admission of employees on magnetic identification.



    In any serious commercial data center, there is a need for an on-duty shift of engineers who would be in the operator’s room around the clock and monitor the monitoring data of all systems, and in addition, several well-trained specialists will be needed - they will be the ones who will solve the problems.



    The area for loading and unloading and temporary storage of equipment in the data center is separated by a grid.



    This is the former Swiss Air Force Command Center (NATO). The security here is the highest. The data center itself is practically not visible from the side. Data centers protect doors weighing 3.5 tons. Moreover, the protection is comprehensive: from radiation, electromagnetic radiation, earthquakes (there is a layer between the rooms of the data center that absorbs possible shocks). Natural cooling - water from a mountain lake, very effective. The bunker was built to use mountain source water and electricity from nearby hydropower plants.



    This bunker belonged to one of the largest command posts in Switzerland, but was decommissioned in 1950. Deltalis acquired it from the Swiss government in 2007 and opened a data center there in 2010. Massive doors protect against explosion, flooding, radiation. Such an object, perhaps, can withstand even a nuclear strike or the use of modern electromagnetic weapons.



    The labyrinths of the hopper are at a depth of hundreds of meters from the surface. This pipe is an air duct. The data center air conditioning system is tied to an underground lake, pumps pump cold air and remove hot air.



    Pipes with air that are cooled by lake water. No chillers outside.



    The bunker still has signs of days past when it belonged to the former strategic center - cells with radio signal blocking, once used for top-secret phone calls, and faded maps of Europe and Switzerland with numerous moving flags. This control panel is a historical legacy of the NATO command post. A responsible general worked here and controlled the deployment and movement of troops.



    The cooling system in the data center is a two-circuit, with a raised floor. Cooled air is supplied from under the raised floor to the closed cold corridor and through the perforated floor tiles and the perforated door of the racks goes to the equipment, from there - into the open hot corridor and is removed from the hall.



    In the containment zone there are rows of such closed racks. To get into the closed corridor, you need to bring a card to the scanner. On it you can go into one closed corridor, where there is a specific rack with the desired server. Everything else is closed to outsiders.

    Now there is also a Russian site: RUVDS hosting provider , with the support of Huawei, has commissioned a pressure zone of the TIER IV reliability class in the Deltalis data center. It is designed to provide customers with virtual VPS server rental services .



    Lidia Schroeder - regional sales specialist Deltalis, Artem Fedoseyev, Nikita Tsaplin - RUVDS managing partner, Andrey Otkalyuk - sales specialist, Internet provider RETN. Artem and Nikita went through all the steps of implementing this interesting project - from the idea itself to the personal installation of servers, made great efforts to ensure that the idea of ​​deploying virtual client servers in Europe was realized as quickly as possible.

    The implementation of the project in Switzerland allows us to provide a high level of data security - technological and legal - as well as optimizing access speeds for European customers due to the convenient geographical location of the containment zone.

    The project turned out to be really unique. In addition to the pressure zone, RUVDS also offers its customers certified electromagnetic and seismic protection. For many domestic companies, an additional platform abroad is also a business protection. The seizure of data center equipment, illegal locks, long shutdowns - in Russia all this has to be taken into account as risk factors when placing or renting physical or virtual servers.

    At the initial stage, the area allocated to the RUVDS cloud infrastructure in the airspace was 250 sq.m. Its management is carried out remotely, from Moscow, in combination with operational management on the spot. The power supply to the site is reserved according to the N + 1 scheme. There are two independent substations, diesel generators, everything is controlled by automation. Servers are connected to the UPS. In the future, it is planned to offer customers a server mirroring service with a Moscow data center , which, incidentally, is also built on the basis of a former military facility. A site in Switzerland will provide a wider selection of services to customers from a wide variety of industries.

    And the prices for VDS / VPS services of the company in Switzerland will not differ from the current prices in the RUCLOUD data center in Moscow, which will allow customers to choose the most convenient virtual server location for them.


    Thank you all for your attention!