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Driving higher data centre performance standards

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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Professional associations and industry bodies continue to play an important role in educating the market, promoting self-regulation and ensuring co-ordinated response to lawmakers. In this chapter, we look at organisations that support data centres and the professionals that work in them.

At last month’s

Data Centre Certifications launch

, Data Centre Alliance (DCA) brought together Virtus, Telecity, the Energy managers Association and the Cloud Industry Forum among others to explore how the

DCA Certification Scheme

can drive business growth and opportunities. We caught up with Simon Campbell-Whyte to understand more about the DCA and its ambitions.

Data centre collaboration across the EU

DCA is an international industry organisation based in Europe, and set up with the laudable aim of encouraging collaboration across the EU. Like many industry organisations DCA, is a not-for-profit organisation with several purposes:

  • To act as a voice for the data centre industry to business, governments, media and the general public right across Europe;
  • To promote the adoption of best practice in design and operations, and also to act as an accreditation body for best practice standards in the industry;
  • To provide members with exclusive access to advice, guidance and peer-reviewed research and also to act as a conduit to feed members’ and industry-wide experience and expertise into academia.

The DCA has multiple membership levels designed to ensure that no potential member feels excluded or priced out of the organisation. Four are subscription services, aimed at individual professionals, companies with private data centres, commercial data centre companies and multinationals. There are also several free levels of membership, including ‘user’, for individual consultants or would-be consultants, and public sector and academic membership. The DCA views strong links with academia as being essential to the ongoing health and sustainability of the industry.

The work of the DCA

As well as ongoing general ‘voice of the industry’ work, the DCA runs three specific initiatives. These are the Pan-European Data Centre Academy, the DCA Data Centre Accreditation Scheme, and Special Interest Steering Groups.

  • The Pan-European Data Centre Academy, or PEDCA, was set up in response to European Commission concerns about problems in the data centre sector. These included lack of R&D, shortage of skills, lack of standards, little or no investment in networks, the importance of reducing cybercrime, and lack of interoperability.
  • The DCA Data Centre Accreditation Scheme is a set of standards applied to data centres. It covers resilience class, the physical security of the site, energy efficiency and operational professionalism. Taken together, the idea is that the standards, when met, show that data centres are fit for purpose and professional in their approach.
  • The DCA has also established a number of special interest steering groups, to look into critical issues of concern to members or the wider industry. At the moment, there are ten groups, including ones studying cabling, telecoms and networking; anti-contamination; certification; energy efficiency; and environmental management. An inclusive voice for the data centre industry

The Data Centre Alliance currently looks to be making a reasonable job of its many functions and purposes. It’s an inclusive organisation, encouraging its members to get involved in its work, and ensure that it really does represent the voice of the data centre industry.
Learn more at the DCA virtual track and hear more from Simon Campbell Whyte at the closing panel discussion on software energy & skills at Data Centre EXPO.