Keeping Your Services Up
Hardly a day goes by without the media mentioning the words “energy shortage.” The corresponding Swiss term, “Strommangellage,” was even voted Word of the Year for 2022 in Switzerland. A stable power supply is obviously essential to us as a cloud computing provider. In this article, you'll learn what measures our data center providers have already taken to keep our cloud platform and the customer systems and services running on it stable if there is an energy shortage.
Our customers have nothing to fear from a possible energy shortage. Regardless of the current or any potential future power shortages, our two data centers (ZRH1 and ALP1) are designed to handle power outages at any time and to operate self-sufficiently, i.e. without external power supply, for several days on end. This is and has always been a key component of their service and is an industry standard in the premium data center business. We will address individual points below:
Both data centers have redundant connections to the energy grid. The NTT Global Data Centers Switzerland AG data center (ZRH1) obtains its energy from the electric utility company of the Canton of Zurich (EKZ) and is connected via two sub-stations on dedicated lines. The CKW Fiber Services AG data center (ALP1) obtains its energy from its parent company, CKW AG, and is also connected by two lines. A particularly important fact to mention here is that the electricity at ALP1 is produced 100 percent by hydropower.
Emergency power supply
Both data centers can be operated self-sufficiently for at least 72 hours (at full capacity, without refueling) using their diesel generators and on-site diesel supplies. This easily bridges rolling grid outages. In addition, both data centers possess reserved external diesel supplies. The centers can be operated as long as necessary by refilling the tanks.
As of today, there are no concrete policy details yet about how consumption restrictions or energy rationing will be handled in an emergency when it comes to operating data centers. However, the federal government has made it clear that critical consumers like hospitals, emergency services, the water supply and communications will be exempt where possible. Because the ZRH1 data center houses the IT infrastructure of the University Hospital Zurich and ALP1 houses that of the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, we assume that both data centers will soon be officially classed as critical. In addition, ZRH1 has been included on the list of strategically important infrastructure for Switzerland by the Organisation für Stromversorgung in Ausserordentlichen Lagen (OSTRAL, the Organization Responsible for Emergency Energy Supplies) and in the Swiss Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) strategy.
The information and measures described here demonstrate that our two data center providers are well-prepared for both a potential energy shortage and a complete blackout. It is partly because of advantages like these that we rely exclusively on premium DC providers, so that our customers never have to worry about the availability or reachability of their IT infrastructure.