Scotland's Digital Future: Data Centre Colocation In The Scottish Public Sector

Guidance and principles on data centre colocation. Sets out how to select a colocation site (service standards, energy efficiency, security etc.) a model Memorandum of Understanding and colocation case studies in the Scottish Public Sector. Developed wi

Standards for a public sector colocation facility

Service levels

Taking time to work through expectations and putting in place an agreement upfront that both organisations are comfortable with is paramount to a successful relationship.

Organisations should be aware of each of their responsibilities and this should be captured in a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU) or similar, an example MOU can be found at Annex 1. Areas that should be agreed upon and understood include costs such as upfront setup charges e.g. installation of the electrical supply and power distribution units ( PDUs), caging, network connectivity and the regular monthly or quarterly service charge.

The service agreement at a minimum should include statements on availability, scheduled downtime, physical security, maintenance windows, the change request process for both parties and the reporting and alerting process.

Energy efficient

The climate change act places a high priority on climate change targets and environmental sustainability. Data centre efficiency can contribute massively in reducing an organisations carbon footprint, however, if not run efficiently it can also have a negative impact. Public sector data centres that continue to be run should commit to being energy efficient and aim to be run with a maximum PUE rating of 1.8 with steps being taken to ensure any facility supports environmental sustainability in the most cost-effective way.

Examples of energy saving methods include:

  • air-side economisers that bring outside air into the data centre when conditions are favourable
  • in cabinet intelligent power distribution units that allow for monitoring, measuring and trending of power
  • energy-efficient lighting with resource-friendly timers that dim or shut off lights when people aren't present
  • virtualisation - reducing the amount of hardware required in the data centre, through consolidation


  • Access Control

Access to the site should be regulated, with careful screening of visitors. Customers, suppliers and employees should present a valid and relevant access request at the entrance to the site. As a potential customer you will most likely - in fact should - experience this first hand during a site tour.

Typically data centres employ a layered approach for granting access to data centre halls and gaining access to the actual building should once again involve validation of an access request.

  • The Perimeter

Industry best practice suggests that:

  • a perimeter fence of robust steel should form the primary line of defence
  • CCTV cameras should be used on both the perimeter and throughout the grounds that surround the building, and
  • the premises should not advertise that there is a data centre on site.
  • Fire Detection and Prevention

Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus ( VESDA) should be installed so there is an immediate response to the earliest signs of a fire. A fire suppression system that reduces the oxygen to a level at which fire is not possible is recommended.

  • Monitoring and Alerting

A dedicated Building and Energy Management System ( BEMS) that is continuously monitored should be installed. The system should provide alarms and be able to determine which combination of alarms are critical and require an immediate response. All alarms should be reported and critical alarms monitored on a 7 X 24 hour basis.


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