CAC’s Implementation at RTA Data Center

Completed in 2014 IT Infrastrcuture About Roads and Transportation Authority, Dubai The Roads and Transport Authority, commonly known as RTA, is the major independent government transportation authority in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Roads and Transportation Authority, otherwise known as RTA, is one of the key government entities in Dubai because it carries the sole responsibility of planning and providing the transportation infrastructure in the Emirate of Dubai. Its responsibilities include buses, taxis, licensing and registration, highways, rail projects, marine transportation and much more. In order to support its growing operations, in 2012, RTA decided to develop a state-of-the-art data center in Dubai to locate its IT infrastructure. The new data center was to be built in the nearby locality of Umm Ramool and the project would be known as “The Umm Ramool Enterprise Data Center (UEDC)”.

Civil work began on the data center in early 2013. While the civil work was in progress, TEXPO, RTA and other partners involved in this project worked hard behind the scene to design and customize each component of the data center cabinets in order to accommodate maximum amount of equipment as well as to provide proper routing of various cable types within and outside of the cabinets. A complete overhead cable management system (OHCMS) was also designed to connect all the cabinets throughout the data center. During the design phase, significant consideration was given towards security as well as energy and air flow management in order to create a lights-out, modular and energy efficient data center.

In Phase 1 of the project, data center cabinets were needed in the formation of a cold aisle containment (CAC). For this implementation, each CAC was made up of 20 cabinets (10 cabinets facing each other) that were custom designed by TEXPO and built by Cannon Technologies in the UK. Proper climate within the CAC was established by having cold air pushed into the CAC through perforated floor tiles (creating a cold aisle). This cold air was then sucked into the equipment inside the cabinets through perforated front cabinet doors and hot exhaust was diverted outside the CAC through perforated rear cabinet doors. For further isolation of hot and cold air, extensive use of customized brush and blanking panels was made throughout the cabinet.

Since every modern data center is equipped with a fire management system and RTA’s UEDC was no exception, each CAC was designed with an active roof. Integrated with the data center’s fire management system, the roof “actively” opened the glass roof panels if the fire alarm sounded, thereby allowing fire suppressant to enter the CAC. In its normal state, each glass roof panel was held closed by powerful magnets. However, upon receiving a special signal from the fire management system, all roof panels would open 45 degrees. This clever design by Cannon Technologies also eliminated the extra pipes and nozzles that otherwise would have needed to be installed within the CAC.

Large data centers require flexibility and adaptability to accommodate various needs that may arise over time. If the cabinets enclosed within the CAC were fixed as-is, it would significantly impact the flexibility to adapt to any physical change. To overcome this constraint, cabinets within the CAC were modular and cleverly designed so that, if they were removed, the overhead cable management system above the cabinets remained completely undisturbed. This flexibility allowed RTA to physically roll one or more cabinets from one CAC to another, or simply remove a cabinet altogether and replace it with a full size blanking panel to maintain proper air management for the CAC.

All cabinets featured custom heavy duty castors, cut-outs for cable routing, adjustable mounting posts, copper ground terminals, a vertical finger cable management system with rubber ends and multiple environmental sensors. In front of each cabinet a color Highline Display was mounted that displayed vital information taken directly from the environmental sensors and the dual iPDUs mounted inside the cabinets. For a customized finish, each Highline Display was specially branded with RTA’s logo on the color screen. Every CAC and every cabinet and its accessory were also supplied with a white polyester epoxy powder coat finish. As well as increasing visibility, they reflect up to 80% of the light and, as a result, it is not unrealistic to expect a saving of around 30% on the total lighting when compared to a typical data center.

In order to develop a “lights-out” Data Center, RTA’s Data Center was designed in such a way that minimized physical human presence for conducting daily operations and increased security. Features such as electronic locks on the CAC’s sliding doors and on each cabinet door were implemented. Multiple high definition color video cameras were strategically placed within each CAC that allowed remote monitoring of every cabinet. Active LED lights were installed within each CAC that remained off unless motion was detected. Finally, a Data Center Infrastructure Manager (DCIM) software was installed in the NOC that allowed administrators to monitor and provide secure access to individual cabinets on demand. The administrators not only had the ability to unlock the cabinet doors, but also had the ability to lock them in the event it was left unlocked. The simple GUI provided full features of a DCIM, which gave RTA the ability to remotely monitor the health of each cabinet and provide physical access to technical staff as and when needed, while monitoring everything remotely from a NOC on a multi-screen setup.

In order to develop a “lights-out” data center, RTA’s data center was designed so as to minimize the need for physical human presence for conducting daily operations and also to maximize security. Features such as electronic locks on the CAC’s sliding doors and on each cabinet door were implemented. Multiple high definition color video cameras were strategically placed within each CAC that allowed remote monitoring of every cabinet. Active LED lights were installed within each CAC that remained off unless motion was detected. Finally, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software was installed that allowed administrators to monitor and provide secure access to individual cabinets on demand. The administrators not only had the ability to unlock the cabinet doors, but also could lock them in the event any was left unlocked. The simple GUI provided full features of a DCIM, which gave RTA the ability to remotely monitor the health of each cabinet and provide physical access to technical staff as needed, while monitoring everything remotely on a multi-screen setup.

The data center was formally inaugurated on January 29, 2014 by H.E. Mr. Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA, and is now under a long-term maintenance agreement. Commenting on the facility, Mr. Tayer stated,

“The RTA’s Corporate data center is equipped with the highest technical and security specifications compatible with the world’s 3rd Level of Operational services and technological competencies to ensure continuity and efficiency of high-level services. The corporate data center acts as sophisticated and smart data storage facility tailored to match world-class standards and fitted with the latest security systems customized to serve the RTA and all of Dubai. The center will also serve as a core of the Smart City and Government scheme since it fulfills the needs of RTA’s unified control center in a technically advanced and integrated platform. The data center is one the integrated key infrastructural projects that boast of edge-cutting technologies, systems and solutions. The facility is upgradable and expandable to meet future needs, and has also got in place alternative means for all components in a way that ensures the delivery of uninterrupted and quality-assured services.”

TEXPO’s successful delivery of RTA’s data center is a testament to the great teamwork between RTA, TEXPO, Cannon Technologies, WIPRO and all the other parties involved. We are truly proud that such a prestigious organization trusted in TEXPO and CANNON’s T4 Data Centre Solutions range for its enterprise data center in Dubai.