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As strong as the weakest link
Published Tuesday 15 September 2015 by silje
Deliveries of IT services consists of a chain of smaller deliveries (links) before it reaches the user. The well-known proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” undoubtedly applies to IT-deliveries and IT-services. IT-deliveries could also be described as brick buildings, starting with a solid foundation, then layer upon layer of bricks are stacked to create the entire buildings – the IT-delivery.
The foundation of the IT-building is the datacentre. The quality and design of the datacentres vary tremendously, which type to choose depends upon the type of delivery. For society and/or business critical deliveries, the datacentre must be rock-solid. It must never fail – ever.
International best practices to build and operate “rock-solid” datacentres is established by the Uptime Institute in their Tier certification system. The system provides detailed descriptions of how critical infrastructure of the datacentres must be built to achieve the “rock-solid” mission and at the same time mitigating technical risk. This Tiering system is highly recognised throughout the datacentre industry, and that is why it is so often misused in marketing. Companies claim to have Tier III or Tier IV infrastructure, but in reality it is often just a sales pitch. Certification of the infrastructure is a truly challenging exercise and it involves exceptionally detailed and rigorous assessments of all infrastructure and infrastructure elements. Furthermore a thorough review of probable and improbable combination of events and failures that could lead to operational failures. “Anyone claiming Tier Level infrastructure that is unable to present the certificate is bluffing.” Thus far, Green Mountain operates the only Uptime Institute Certified colocation datacentre in Scandinavia. This ensures that all parts of the infrastructure is maintainable at all time without any impact on the service, so that the quality of the infrastructure is sustained over time. In addition, it also ensures that the datacentre is fault tolerant and built to withstand a human or technical error anywhere without failing.
“Anyone claiming Tier Level infrastructure that is unable to present the certificate is bluffing.”
Of course, the infrastructure alone is not enough. That’s the reason why we, at Green Mountain have built a highly focused and strong operational organisation in constant strive for operational excellence. Human error is the main risk of failures in a properly built datacentre – therefore we have continuous emphasis on routines and operational procedures to avoid errors. This involves securing correct, strong competence and know-how in all technical operations, skilled and trained engineers in addition to detailed understanding of the criticality of our clients operations. If a failure still should occur systems and procedures are in place to secure efficient response and action towards any failure.
Our modern society relies on critical systems and processes always functioning.
Management, fire and rescue, police, law and order, power supply, telecommunication, oil and gas supplies, transportation, water supply, bank and monetary system, health systems, nutrition availability and so forth. This just have to work for our society to function – life often depend on it. Many companies also have critical systems that the company cannot live without even for a short moment. Critical IT-systems requires “rock-solid” infrastructure and organisations. Systems that never fail!
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”