The digitalization of society continues to progress. Regardless of whether it is a video call, social media, online banking or a navigation system, digitalization has long penetrated almost every area of life. This applies equally to the private and professional environment. The data centers (RZ) are responsible for these enormous data loads. In Germany alone there are over 50,000 such systems, including 3,000 larger data centers. These critical infrastructure providers in particular must therefore work smoothly and safely around the clock. Even from the perspective of the Energy Efficiency Act (EnEfG), which was initiated by politicians, operators of data centers will have to meet certain requirements in terms of sustainability and climate neutrality in the future. Operators can have trouble-free and sustainable operation certified for different levels of the data center, such as security of the building, redundancy of connections to the network, power supply and ecological criteria. High Knowledge GmbH from Cologne offers a variety of different certification options for this purpose.
In hardly any other economic area is growth developing as rapidly as in digitalization. Because modern and fast data storage and processing now runs through all parts of private and commercial life. The existing structures are now reaching their limits. That's why a data center expansion is essential due to the ever-increasing demand. This increase is expected to continue in the future, despite the fact that the number of workloads that data centers can provide has already increased fivefold since 2010. Of course, this also results in increased energy requirements. However, this must be reduced in Germany in the future due to the EnEfG. However, the safety and resilience of the systems must be guaranteed at all times. The operators also want to operate their data center economically. But this results in an increased energy requirement.
Ambitious tasks in a networked world
Reconciling all factors in the near future is an ambitious task for data center operators. Because without high-performance and sustainably operated data centers it won't work. They are essential for many different areas of a modern and connected world. They form the basis for emergency admission, operation planning or medication distribution in the hospital. Data centers are just as important for energy supply or municipal services. Production parts for the automotive industry as well as flight, traffic or traffic light control in large cities are also not possible without data centers. Digitalization is essential in the private sector, whether for streaming services, social media or chat and email exchange. In almost every area of life, people are dependent on data centers due to today's networking.
Meet international standards
Trouble-free, safe and sustainable operation can be documented through various certification options. The most important criteria for certifications in accordance with international standards include, among other things, the physical security of the data centers under normal and exceptional conditions, the clear authentication of users and employees - for example through biometric access control or the monitoring and efficient control of the indoor climate through a ventilation system. Furthermore, the redundancy of critical infrastructure such as connection to the network and energy supply or the regulated and uniform flow of processes and work steps are important factors. A data center should also be effectively protected against accidents and disruptions caused by fires or natural disasters such as floods or storms. Furthermore, information security and data protection are important factors. Sustainable operation, for example through an ecological power supply or the efficient use of waste heat, are other important standards.
The European billing center standard
Until 2019, these requirements were tested in different standards. The European Union has simplified this with the general standard DIN EN 50600. The certification “Information technology – data center facilities and infrastructures” – also known as the European data center standard – covers several aspects. This standard is the first cross-border European standard that defines a uniform and secure operation of data centers and includes all steps from planning, construction and execution to ongoing operation. This includes, among other things, theoretical planning and basic architecture for new buildings as well as the construction of the system. This also includes an appropriate and fail-safe energy supply as well as efficient and sufficient air conditioning in the server rooms. The standard also documents the redundant connection of the data center to the network, which is designed for peak loads, the professional management and control of work processes as well as the physical security of the data centers to protect the data. Another important factor is sufficient prevention against accidents such as fires and natural disasters.
A variety of certification options
In addition to DIN EN 50600, there are a variety of other certification options that operators can carry out with High Knowledge GmbH from Cologne, for example. “We offer a variety of certification options for data centers and have not only developed new certification standards, but also co-authored norms and standards, both nationally and internationally,” emphasizes Harry Knopf, Managing Director of High Knowledge. “We have all the relevant official accreditations in order to be able to provide safe support throughout the entire certification process.” The Cologne-based company offers various certificates and tests in the areas of “management systems”, “state of the art and availability”, “information security”, “risk management” as well “Sustainability and future security”. “We support all common national and international standards and certify the security, resilience and sustainability of the respective data center,” emphasizes Knopf. The company also now offers SOC 2 certification for secure cloud solutions for highly available, powerful and flexible cloud solutions.
Sustainability in focus
The company also covers the current topic of “sustainable operation of data centers” with two certifications. According to the traffic light government's decision, data centers should be operated in a climate-neutral manner by 2027 and be sustainable and ecological. For over ten years, data centers have also been able to receive the Blue Angel environmental label. To obtain this certificate, operators must meet different minimum requirements. This includes, among other things, that the technical building equipment (TGA) is operated in a particularly energy-efficient, climate- and resource-saving manner and that the operators can develop and successfully implement a long-term strategy to increase the energy and resource efficiency of the data center. In addition, measures to increase energy efficiency must be implemented and, through guaranteed minimum standards and transparent reporting, create the conditions for IT operators to operate information technology in an energy-efficient manner. The experts at High Knowledge are accredited auditors for the eco-label for data centers (DE-UZ 228). High Knowledge also played a key role in the “Sustainable Data Center” sustainability certification from TÜV Rheinland. Here, operators can have documentation that their data center meets the high standards in terms of energy efficiency, resource conservation and CO₂ emissions.
Certifications and suitable solutions
“A certification process in particular always shows potential for improvement, especially in the area of climate-neutral data centers and compliance with the provisions of the upcoming EnEfG,” says Knopf. If weak points are identified, they can be remedied with the sustainable and patented solutions from High Knowledge. This applies to fire protection or electrical cabling as well as to sustainable operation. Blue DC solutions, for example, are a climate-neutral and safe solution for new buildings as well as existing systems.
Certifications for data centers document the safe and sustainable operation of the respective systems. However, these tests should be carried out by a specialist and accredited auditors such as the experts at High Knowledge. This ensures that all standards and requirements of the respective standard are met. For data center operators, certifications to document secure, trouble-free and sustainable operations are essential.
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