By 8 March 2024 | Categories: Misc



Business News sponsored by Vodacom Transformation of Work:

CSSi’s CipherVault, a Category 5, Generation 2 Data Centre located in Midrand, has seen its environmental achievements recognized by the Data Centre World Awards. CipherVault, an advanced and highly secure facility constructed inside a biometrically accessible vault, was shortlisted for and won the Awards’ Green Data Centre of the Year category. The accolade was handed over at the Award Ceremony on 6 March 2024.

Data centres are notoriously expensive to operate, putting additional strain on power grids wherever they are located. There is a drive afoot to convert these facilities to more sustainable practices, but it is a drive that CSSi has already completed. The CipherVault is the best facility of its kind in Africa and stands as a beacon to what can be accomplished when consideration is paid to the impact of high-power consumption on a suburb, town, or country’s economy.

Striding ahead

Several aspects of CipherVault’s function and design brought it to the attention of the Data Centre World Awards committee. Chief among these is energy efficiency. CSSi’s secure facility features upgraded equipment designed to reduce power draw without reducing the effectiveness of the data centre itself. The power system’s efficiency is second to none, while the centre’s air conditioners make liberal use of liquid nitrogen and R32-A, a derivative of difluoromethylene, for more effective cooling of CipherVault’s 2,000 servers and attendant hardware.

The optimised servers are managed, as is the rest of the facility, by three different management systems that distribute and maintain power as required at any point in time.

Sun power

CSSi’s management systems are merely the tip of the spear. CipherVault’s crowning of Green Data Centre of the Year was assisted in no small part by its robust alternative energy solutions. The entire system operates via 1.3MW of solar-generated power bolstered by 3.9MW of lithium iron phosphate battery storage. Two 1,200KVA diesel generators are in place as failover solutions, though these have yet to see service to run the centre. If both diesel backups are out of commission, a pair of 800KW UPS systems take over. Should all this fail, CipherVault can connect to South Africa’s Eskom-managed energy grid as a last resort. This also has yet to be pressed into service.

This focus on solar energy and battery storage has liberated CSSi’s facility from the yoke of Eskom’s load shedding, reduced the company’s carbon footprint, and contributes to the famed near-perfect service uptime CipherVault can provide. It’s also responsible for the international recognition of its efforts to build a better, more sustainable data centre. The steps taken thus far will soon be replicated by other companies following the trail blazed by CipherVault.

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