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  • 45128 Essen
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  • Lothar Lambertz
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RWE IT opens Twin Data Centre

(PresseBox) (Essen, ) .
- Data centre in Niederaussem complements Neurath location
- New site is part of RWE-wide consolidation and optimisation of IT infrastructure
- Energy efficiency: 3.500 tons of CO2 saved per year by closing older RWE data centres and use of new technologies

One data centre - two locations: This is the new design for RWE's data centres. After 15 months of rebuilding, the former RWE Power pumping station in Niederaussem has been transformed into an ultra-modern data centre with a server area of 600 square metres. It complements the existing site in Neurath as an active "twin".

The "Twin Data Centre" design will ensure that even during a complete outage of one of the two data centres, uninterrupted operation of the IT systems will continue. Experts call this "Business Continuity Management" (BCM). RWE is investing around €20 million in the rebuilding.

The construction of the new site is part of an RWE-wide project to consolidate and optimise the IT infrastructure. As part of the project, RWE's European data centres are being centralised across country borders. This will enable savings for the Group of around €35 million per year.

Consistent energy efficiency The Twin Data Centre is highly energy efficient. When RWE built the data centre in Neurath in the mid-90s, energy efficiency was one of the key design principles - long before "Green IT" became a hot topic. And the energy efficiency index for the Twin Data Centre is even better. The power required for the processors and the air conditioning has been considerably reduced through several intelligent solutions:

- The use of blade servers and virtualisation technologies means that the power consumption is reduced by up to 95% compared to conventional servers.
- The cooling required has been reduced significantly through the application of cold aisle containment.
- Cold outside air is also used to cool the systems. The heat generated in the IT systems is used to heat the offices.

Because older data centres are being closed at the same time, RWE will save a total of 3,500 tons of CO2 per year. This is equal to the annual consumption of around 80 four-person households or more than 5,000 permanently operated PCs.

All systems of the new data centre have been subjected to stringent testing by the TÜV technical inspection organisation. In 2010, Neurath was once again certified by the TÜV at the highest security level.


RWE IT GmbH is the internal IT service provider of the RWE Group. The company is focused on meeting the challenges of an international energy company. RWE IT GmbH has around 2,500 employees at various locations in Germany, the UK, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Its services range from individual solution modules to the provision of complete solution strategies.

What is the TWIN Data Centre?

The TWIN DC is a state-of-the-art computing centre at two physically separate locations. One part is the data centre in Neurath. The other is a former pumping station converted into a computing centre in 2011 located at the Niederaussem site near Cologne, eight kilometres from Neurath. The new data centre is an

'active twin'. This means that our customers' applications run synchronously at both locations, or distributed between them. The TWIN DC allows us to provide IT services at the highest level.

Why does RWE need a TWIN Data Centre?

There are strategic, technical and legal reasons for this decision. Critical customer applications are operated in the TWIN DC, amongst them systems for planning power station deployment and for energy trading. RWE must ensure that we can operate our business at all times and without any interruption. This is referred to as 'Business Continuity Management'. IT is a fundamental part of this. Even in the case of major and far-reaching technical disruptions or in the event of a catastrophe,the interruption-free operation of IT systems must be ensured at all times. In order to meet this requirement, the TWIN DC concept is used.

Functions of the TWIN Data Centre High availability

IT is there to ensure that technical problems, updates or small maintenance tasks do not affect daily business and that our customers receive the best possible support. When system failures occur or there is unplanned downtime, our customers notice nothing at all. The applications continue to run as normal and the data is available at all times. To make this possible, all IT systems are duplicated. This is known as a computer cluster. There is a duplicate of every server and memory. If a server fails, its twin automatically takes up operation.

This happens in fractions of a second, controlled by fully automated processes.

No data is lost. This service can be provided by each of the two data centre locations.

Disaster recovery

It is important to be well prepared for even the worstcase scenario. Disaster recovery concepts deal with exceptional emergencies that can lead to the break down of an entire data centre or a complete location. Examples of this kind of disaster are fires, flooding, plane crashes or hostile attacks. There are emergency plans and precautions in place for such events. By classifying applications into recovery time categories, we define with our customers the exact period after which a system must be available again after a catastrophe.

That might mean within four hours, one day, one week or more. Depending on the requirements, applications and systems are installed in parallel at both physical data centre locations. If one location breaks down completely, the emergency plans go into action and the data and applications are taken over by the second location and made available to the customer in accordance with the agreement made. This enables RWE to meet the high technical, organisational and legal demands of Disaster Recovery, ensuring business continuity even in case of disaster.

Technical Aspects Virtualisation and Cloud Computing

In the TWIN DC, RWE relies on state-of the-art technologies to support our customer solutions. Through virtualisation of the Unix, Linux and Windows servers the number of physical computers can be reduced considerably and the existing computers can be operated more efficiently. Virtualisation bundles together on a single computer many applications that would normally require their own server. The function of the server is separated from the physical infrastructure and operated as several virtual machines running in parallel on a single physical device.

The modern technology in the Twin DC is the foundation for RWE IT to best support Cloud Services.

RWEs usee of Cloud technologies is very advanced, compared to industry standards. Allready, over half of the Windows systems have been virtualised.

Approximately 1.300 Windows systems are run in an internal "Private Cloud".

Green IT

Optimising energy use, CO2 reduction and climate protection: in a modern data centre these goals are summarised under the term 'Green IT'. The RWE TWIN Data Centre makes a major contribution to RWEs environmental compatibility. By launching the new data centre and implementing the associated consolidation within our international data centre landscape, RWE IT is able to reduce CO2 emissions by around 3,500 tonnes per year starting in 2011. That is equivalent to the annual consumption of about 80 four-person households, or more than 50,000 desktop PCs in constant operation. Modern IT servers with virtualisation functions reduce electricity needs for computing by up to 95 %!

Air conditioning and cooling

In the new TWIN Data Centre innovative new cold aisle containment ensures that the air-conditioned air stays right where it is needed, around the server systems.

Cooling performance is optimised and less energy is therefore needed to achieve the required temperature. On cold days the TWIN Data Centre uses the cold outdoor air for energy saving cooling of the systems, while the warmth they produce is in turn used to heat offices, reducing energy consumption even further