European Energy Disruptions – Preparing for the Worst

Raising interest rates, increased energy prices, risks to the energy supply and dropping temperatures is never a good way to end a year or start a blog. But these factors are a reality today, and after record-breaking temperatures across Europe this summer, continuity planning remains in sharp focus for us and our partners.

Unlike many other Managed Service Providers (MSPs,) we own, manage and maintain our own data centre (DC) in West London. A number of key services are managed or controlled via infrastructure in this location, with backups and alternatives hosted in our partner data centres globally (now in over 52 locations).

Not only does this give us complete control, but we know what it takes to run a successful data centre and global network through good and bad times. With this in mind, we recently pulled together a short questionnaire on the topic of “European Energy Disruption Preparedness” and shared it (via Microsoft Forms) with some of our key suppliers in the Data Centre and Telco space. We’ll provide a brief summary of the results below.

In terms of our own preparedness, we already have a number of strategic projects in place, as well as recent tactical activities that we have completed.

Strategic 

  • DC Location. Our DC is fed from a priority services 11KV ring, as it is located next to a hospital.
  • Energy Efficiency – Lighting. All lighting in the DC has now been fully upgraded to LED.
  • Energy Efficiency – Chillers. New free cooling chillers were procured and installed at the start of 2022, providing a 10% improvement on our old units.
  • Energy Efficiency – Hot-Cold Review. A full review of our aisle containment layout was completed to ensure full adherence to hot-cold rules.
  • Energy Efficiency – Results. All of the above has helped ensure we maintain a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) annual average of below 1.4 (the Uptime Institute recently found that the average PUE for data centres in their survey was 1.59).

Tactical

  • Fuel – Capacity. We have increased our fuel storage capacity and reserves by 50% to ensure we can support up to 6 day of s continuous generator usage.
  • Fuel – Polishing. Ensuring the generator fuel is regularly cleaned improves the generator efficiency.
  • Generator – Testing. We have increased the frequency of both on-load and off-load testing of the generators.

Winter has certainly arrived this week, and while it is hard to predict the macro-level factors that will impact the European energy supply, we and our partners feel we are prepared for the challenges ahead. 

We hope this blog provides some insight and transparency to that level of preparedness.

Stevie Morrow, Chief Operating Officer

European Energy Disruption Preparedness Questionnaire

The questions:

  • Has your organization planned for potential European energy disruptions? ¬†(Yes or no). If yes, can you provide a summary of the plans made and/or actions taken to protect against service disruption? If no, can you outline your rationale?
  • Have you reviewed your sub-contractor’s energy disruption preparedness?
  • Do you anticipate any service disruptions by either yourself or your subcontractors due to potential European energy disruptions?
  • Have you implemented any energy consumption reduction efforts in your European operations?

European Energy Disruption Preparedness Results