Federal IT is currently operated in numerous data centres in various locations that are quite small. Unlike a large data centre, several smaller centres generally consume more energy for the same computing power and storage capacity.
Based on the Federal ICT Strategy 2012-2015, civilian and military federal service providers have together drawn up an interdepartmental concept for a data centre network. With this, the currently diverse data centre landscape of the entire Federal Administration and the Armed Forces will be adjusted in such a way that the future requirements in terms of capacity, security and availability can be met as economically as possible, where necessary in emergencies or crises too. In order to respond to the rising computing power needs, the data centres will be planned and created in a modular manner.
Four data centres in the network
The network has a total of four data centres: aside from the renovation and maintenance of a civilian data centre in the Bern region and the two protected military centres, a new data centre that can be used for both civilian and military purposes will be built according to civilian requirements in Frauenfeld. The Federal Council has tasked armasuisse in the DDPS with project management for planning and constructing this joint data centre, which should be operational in 2020.
Energy efficiency is an important factor
Data centres are major consumers of energy that use capacities in the megawatt range. The planned data centres will consume several megawatts. The topic of energy has grown dramatically in importance in recent years, with power becoming increasingly expensive and environmental awareness in general rising. That is why the data centres are planned according to stringent requirements, with a special focus on energy efficiency, e.g. taking modern cooling technologies into consideration. In addition, a heat recovery concept requires the waste heat produced by data centres to be reused. The Federal Administration took this aspect into account when choosing the locations. In the case of each new data centre, it will be reviewed with the corresponding authorities whether it makes sense for the waste heat to be recycled and used to heat buildings, for example.