Take a tour of Equinix's PA3 data centre with BSO Network Solutions

Welcome to the Equinix PA3 data centre in Saint Denis, Paris, which offers almost 5,000kW of operating power

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Equinix's PA3 data centre in Paris is a new technical module, offering almost 5,000 kW of operating power. Techworld was given a tour of the facility by BSO Network Solutions, Equinix's largest customer in France, which offers hosted and private cloud services to finance and professional organisations.

Since launching in 2004, the company has been converging network and system integration, managed hosting and hosted network solutions – which together amount to cloud computing. Chief executive Michael Ourabah said the surge of marketing from the big technology vendors around cloud computing has given BSO a huge boost, as it no longer has to explain the benefits of this approach to its customers.

This slideshow shows how BSO's tailor-made solutions provide high availability, high security and low latency services to all its customers.

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Take a tour of Equinix's PA3 data centre with BSO Network Solutions

Equinix's PA3 data centre in Saint Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, offers almost 5,000kW of operating power and has capacity for up to 10,000 cabinets. It has a PUE rating of less than 1.5, due to the use of free cooling and cold-corridor systems, and is rated Tier 3+ (between Tier 3 and Tier 4).

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High levels of security

PA3 provides high levels of security. Visitors are required to hand over their passports upon entry and workers have identification badges loaded with biometric information. These hand scanners read finger prints and test for blood pressure, so you can't cut off someone else's hand and use it to get in.

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Access control, intruder detection and guard dogs

Inside is a warren of white corridors, with massive server rooms leading off them. Security precautions include video surveillance, access control and intruder detection. Guards also regularly patrol the corridors with dogs.

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Cooling units with N+1 redundancy

This room is currently empty, as Equinix is filling out the data centre in stages. However, the cooling cabinets have already been installed around the edges of the room.

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A history of BSO Network Solutions

BSO Network Solutions was founded by Charles-Antoine Beyney and Michael Ourabah in 2004. The company began by offering hosted IT services for small companies', but has now started to address bigger contracts. Its customers include Interxion and Speechly Bircham.

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Equinix's largest customer in France

BSO Network Solutions is Equinix's biggest customer in France. The floorspace and power for just one of these cabinets costs more than a two bedroom flat in Paris. Each server room is 1000m2. BSO has a 300m2 area containing 100 racks of 400 kVA capacity.

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Power cables and copper wires

Copper and fibre cables transporting data run above the cabinets in large ducts, while power cables run under the floor. The two have to be kept separate because the magnetic field generated by the power cables can disrupt the electronic signals running over the copper wires.

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Fibre optic cables

BSO promises high availability and service continuity thanks to data transfer over entirely redundant Gigabit Ethernet fibre links. These fibre optic cables provide a 10GbE connection for all of BSO's customers over the company's own backbone. Most of the operators in the Paris region are connected to the site with a double feed.

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Cables and more cables

The yellow cables are fibre and the red are copper. More than 90 percent of companies hosted in Equinix's PA3 data centre are connected to a fibre network.

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66TB of data storage

Some of BSO's customers buy complete infrastructure as a service while others simply outsource their storage requirements. This cabinet contains 132 500GB hard drives, equating to 66TB of data storage.

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Extra wide cabinets

BSO has invested in extra wide cabinets. This means that servers and storage slot in horizontally, and network switches sit vertically on either side, making the systems easier to wire up.

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Cold aisle containment

BSO uses cold aisle containment to improve efficiency. IT are rooms treated with six cooling units with N+1 redundancy that keep the equipment between 19 and 22 degrees centigrade. Each cold aisle has a plexiglass roof to prevent the cold air from escaping.

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How cabinets are alloted

The cabinets all have their own individual security combination, and a key lock for backup. For hosted managing, companies buy server space in a dedicated cabinet, whereas companies buying private cloud services or infrastructure-as-a-service have servers in shared cabinets.

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Raised floors

The floor of the data centre is raised by 80cm to give plenty of space for wiring, water pipes and ventilation to run underneath.

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No service interruptions

The technical architecture in place allows the facilities to be serviced, the equipment to be replaced and the site to be upgraded without affecting the power supply of the computer equipment and without any service interruptions. Double power supply to the site from two separate MV grids/Power supply with double connection for IT equipment.

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Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus (VESDA)

The data centre is equipped with Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus (VESDA). This measures the density of the air to work out whether a fire has started. Pre-action fire extinguishing systems then disperse a very thin mist of water, so as not to damage the electrical equipment.

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