Redundancy in Data Centres

Discover the importance of redundancy and why it is a critical consideration for data centres.

In this module, you will gain a deep understanding of the importance of redundancy and why it is a critical consideration for data centres. You’ll also learn the challenges data centres face and how Distributed Pumping serves as a solution to address these issues.

Let’s start by looking at redundancy. Redundancy in data centres involves duplicating critical components within the infrastructure to ensure continuous, reliable operation and minimise downtime and data loss risks due to hardware failures or outages. Redundancy is crucial in data centre design for preventing serious consequences associated with component failures. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) uptime guarantee defines the expected downtime and service reliability for clients.

There are various levels of redundancy:
• N
• N+1
• 2N and
• 2N+1

N represents baseline capacity. A data centre with N capacity has everything it needs to operate as designed, but it has no redundancies. This means there is nothing in place to accommodate equipment failure or maintenance. N+1 is the next level of redundancy.

This means it can run a full IT load with an additional component to account for failure or maintenance. The 2N level offers a complete mirrored infrastructure, or a secondary system, to fall back on. 2N+1 is the highest level of redundancy. It guarantees that every component is backed up should something fail in either system. This redundancy level is largely required by businesses that need 100% uptime as they will suffer significant losses if their systems were to crash.

The levels of redundancy support the Tier system. The higher the Tier, the lower the risk of downtime and the more reliable and available a data centre is expected to be.

The Tiers and their redundancy are typically as follows:
Tier I data centres generally have no redundancy
Tier II data centres have some redundant components
Tier III data centres generally have N+1 redundancy. For example if N requires four units, the facility will have an extra one.
Tier IV data centres typically have 2N+1 redundancy. This would be 100% redundancy, plus extra units.

As we explore the crucial role of redundancies in keeping data centres reliable, it’s important to understand the challenges these facilities face.

These challenges can be grouped into the following areas:
• Managing increased cooling needs
• Navigating environmental, political, and social pressures
• Adapting to space limitations and expansion challenges

Let’s start with the increased cooling needs. As technology advances, data centres need to maintain powerful and tightly packed IT equipment. This creates more heat, making it a challenge to keep everything at the right temperature. The industry needs better and more energy-efficient cooling solutions.
Environmental, political, and social pressures are driving data centres to reduce their carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency. Criticised for contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, these facilities face increasing demands for more effective and sustainable cooling solutions. This challenge is transforming the industry’s approaches to infrastructure and operations.

Another challenge is expansion. Data centres aim for scalability to meet growing storage needs, so they have to find innovative solutions to add more servers without huge installation and commissioning costs.

That’s why Distributed Pumping is significant as an effective solution to cool data centres efficiently in a more sustainable way, without having to build bigger facilities. We’ll explore this further in the next module.

Course overview

Modules: 6
Completion time
Completion time: 35 minutes
Difficulty level
Difficulty level: Intermediate