Brindisi data centre awarded Tier III certification
The United Nations Global Service Centre Technology Infrastructure Support (TIS) Unit in Brindisi, Italy, was awarded a Tier III certification in February 2022.
This upgrade is significant because unlike Tier I and Tier II facilities, a Tier III data centre does not require shutdowns when equipment needs maintenance or replacement. It has multiple paths for power and cooling, allowing the system to be interrupted without blocking critical paths that would cause interruptions in service.
The TIS team began preparing for this upgrade in 2015 – implementing almost 60 change management actions, including physically separating operational power panels and installing new medium voltage cables. The project passed the final assessment in August 2021, despite challenges brought on by the pandemic.
The services handled in the Brindisi and Valencia data centres are vital to information and communications technology functioning properly throughout the Organization. TIS ensures uninterrupted 24/7 service. TIS is also responsible for cooling, ventilation, fire suppression, telecommunications cabling and rack space hosting service. Providing a continuous, reliable service on a system that requires constant maintenance was challenging.
The TIS team in Brindisi designed an innovative solution--a power supply system based on two currents that constantly compensate for one another and enable the team to carry out maintenance while keeping the existing services up and running. The solution would meet Tier III certification standards.
The implementation phase was scheduled to start in early 2020, just as the pandemic took hold. Although most UN personnel were working remotely and materials and services were in short supply, the TIS Unit was on-site daily to ensure the project deadline was met.
"Implementing Tier III on a live data centre is like replacing an engine on a flying airplane; doing this during COVID was like doing it without a parachute!", said Dalibor Marinic, Officer-in-Charge, TIS Unit.
The Tier III Data Centre in Brindisi is now concurrently maintainable. This certification is a testament to the work and dedication of the staff, whose commitment to the project persisted throughout the pandemic.