European Standards for Data Centre Design and Built Infrastructure

by | Nov 13, 2020 | Articles, Consulting

This is the second of 2 articles introducing International Data Centre Standards. Having presented the currently available standardised Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), published by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) this article will present those international standards that reference data centre design and built infrastructures.

Introduction to EN 50600 – The European Data Centre Standard

European data centre Standards are developed and disseminated by CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation. CENELEC is designated as a European Standards Organization by the European Commission and is responsible for European standardization in the field of electro-technical engineering and with the objective of producing a set of standards for all shapes and sizes of data centre.

These may range from one or more cabinets in an existing building to dedicated “stand alone” structures which may comprise multiple buildings. These standards also recognise the very diverse nature of data centre business models and the complexities of configuration and ownership of the information technology and network telecommunications equipment that may be hosted.

CENELEC works alongside CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation within CLC Technical Committee 215 WG3, which is responsible for the development of the EN 50600 series of standards.

This committee comprised of members from nationally appointed Standards bodies (Such as The British Standards Institute (BSI, in the UK), has developed the EN 50600 Standard Series. This series has been published and continues to be updated with many documents currently going through the second revision.

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The fact that this is a European Standard does not limit its use to European data centres as the standard applies principles of design and management of data centres that are common globally. In addition, European standards are less prescriptive than many national standards as they need to work across all the different European nations. The result is that the key elements of this standard can be applied globally and consistently.

The EN 50600 series enables the critical infrastructures within a data centre to be designated as having a defined level of “Availability”. EN 50600-1 references these designations in order to define an overall “availability” level. Other standards in the series simply require conformance to a set of requirements without an “availability” level designation.

The full list of elements in the EN 50600 series of standards are listed below:

European Standard EN 50600 Information technology – Data centre facilities and infrastructures

EN 50600-1:                       General concepts

EN 50600-2-1:                    Building construction

EN 50600-2-2:                    Power distribution

EN 50600-2-3:                    Environmental control

EN 50600-2-4:                    Telecommunications cabling infrastructure

EN 50600-2-5:                    Physical security

EN 50600-3-1:                    Management and operational information

EN 50600-4-1:                    KPIs – Overview and general requirements (ISO/IEC 30134-1)

EN 50600-4-2:                    KPIs – Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE – ISO/IEC 30134-2)

EN 50600-4-3:                    KPIs – Renewable Energy Factor (REF – ISO/IEC 30134-3)

EN 50600-4-4:                    KPIs – IT Equipment Energy Efficiency for Servers (ITEEsv – ISO/IEC 30134-4)

EN 50600-4-5:                    KPIs – IT Equipment Energy Utilisation for Servers (ITEUsv – ISO/IEC 30134-5)

TS 50600-5-1:                     Data Centre Maturity Model (Novated from Green Grid – In Development)

TR 50600-99-1:                 Energy management – Recommended Practices

TR 50600-99-2:                 Environmental sustainability – Recommended Practices

TR 50600-99-3:                 Guidance to the application of EN 50600 series

It should be noted that EN 50600 references the standardised KPIs published by ISO/IEC within section 4 of the series. This ensures that true global standards dovetail without duplication of effort or confusion over which version to apply. 

EN 50600 Series Explanation

The following information provides an outline of the framework offered by the EN 50600 series:

EN 50600-2-2 defines four levels (1 to 4) for the design availability of the power supply and distribution system of the data centre;

EN 50600-2-3 defines four levels (1 to 4) for the design availability of the environmental control system of the data centre;

EN 50600-2-4 defines four levels (1 to 4) for the design availability of the telecommunications cabling systems of the data centre;

EN 50600-1 defines the overall availability level of a data centre based on the lowest level of the three infrastructure elements detailed above.

EN 50600-2-5 defines requirements for the maintenance of physical security of data centre spaces independent of the infrastructure level.

In this way EN 50600-1, -2-2, -2-3, -2-4 and -2-5 provide a comprehensive framework for assessment of the design availability of a data centre. They are supported by EN 50600-2-1 and EN 50600-3-1 for building construction and operation respectively, but these are currently treated as subsidiary to availability objectives.