Atman recently became the first company in Europe to obtain the prestigious Data Centre Operations Standard (DCOS) certification. Under the Atman brand Polish ICT ATM, provides colocation, hosting and cloud computing services in its data centres with 16,470m2 of the total space. Using its own international links and fibre-optic networks in the largest Polish cities, Atman offers broadband IP services, including Internet access and data transmission.
DCOS is the world’s only standard covering all areas of the maintenance and operation of data centres. It defines the governance, processes and procedures that should be implemented for data centre sites to make operational processes as efficient and secure as possible, and to prepare them for every eventuality.
DCOS has three key goals. One, create an environment ensuring the proactive improvement of operations. Two, anticipate potential non-standard events and the procedures to resolve and prevent them. Three, a management system aimed at constant learning and drawing of conclusions from current experiences resulting in continuous improvement.
A variety of standards
Many data centres in Poland are focused on achieving ANSI/TIA-942 and Uptime Institute certifications, as well as European ISO/IEC TS 22237 (formerly known as EN 50600), instead of the DCOS standard. These assess compliance with technological standards in the field of design, construction and facility infrastructure. However, data centres cannot be viewed solely through the prism of their equipment and location because people play a significant role in their operation and management. Data centre employees are largely responsible for the security and availability of services. The need for effective management of all types of operations in the data centre is met by the EPI-DCOS certification.
“The EPI-DCOS certificate defines many processes in the data centre in detail,” Daniel Szcześniewski, CEO ATM says. “In addition to issues related to servicing or troubleshooting, it defines practices and procedures for managing data centre service teams, suppliers and service levels, physical security and maintenance of cabling facilities, cyclical system reviews, and even maintaining order and cleanliness in the building. Consequently, this leads to higher levels of security, availability and quality of services provided to customers.”
A data centre boom in Poland
Poland has seen a booming demand for data centre capacity. Over the past ten years, the area of commercial data centres in Poland has quadrupled. At the end of 2019 – according to local researches – it was approximately 144,000m2. In 2020, its value is to reach almost $0.5bn and due to the COVID-19 outbreak that number could rise even further. “At the moment, our analysis predicts that the demand for collocation, security services and the cloud is growing on the Polish data centre market,” Szcześniewski continues. “Coronavirus has accelerated the processes of digital transformation – even in those polish sectors which were reluctant to this idea. Education, healthcare and public administration are now looking for digital solutions.
“In the face of the need to organise work for people who are dispersed, the demand for collaborative solutions rapidly grew, to support this they need a proper infrastructure service. Many companies have realised that good online operation in sales, service, and maintaining customer relationships is not only a temporary need, but an option that should be implemented, with long-term goals in mind. But that requires an infrastructure which will be effective, scalable and secure which many Polish companies do not have the in-house resources to achieve.”
Growth of managed services
One of the biggest growth areas is managed IT services “Companies are convinced that in these unpredictable times, this IT model simply works and is clearly better than IT supported by employees inside the company,” Szcześniewski explains. This also addresses the ongoing challenge of the ICT specialist shortage in Poland where there are approximately 50,000 job vacancies.
As Szcześniewski explains, finding the right candidate is not the end of the problem. The costs of maintaining an in-house IT team is constantly increasing. Polish companies are coming around to the belief that colocation is a more optimum solution than an in-house server room. “We live in a time when supply chains are paralysed,” he continues. “The dedicated server service is available, however, within a few hours of ordering, if you use the cloud, the resources you need can be assigned in a few minutes, and that is another big shift that we are witnessing.
“For the past few years, the cloud was something special for Polish companies, a sort of a tech curiosity. Now it is becoming a necessity. Overall, all the changes in demand are pushing Atman to make new investments in its own infrastructure. By the end of 2021 Atman will build a 1,500M2 colocation data centre near Warsaw.”
A sustainable approach
When it comes to designing, building and operating Polish data centres, efficiency and clean energy are key concerns. To further this ambition, Polish operators are participating in many sustainability initiatives. One such initiative is the European Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in Data Centres established to promote best practices conducive to climate protection. This EU programme is managed by the Joint Research Centre operating within the structures of the European Commission. Since its launch in 2008, more than 100 participants have joined the initiative, including Atman as the only Polish representative of the data centre market. To meet customer demands for sustainability, Atman and Vertiv created the first IT infrastructure testing laboratory in Poland, which enables customers to test power and cooling systems under variable loads. The new testing centre will also offer resources for R&D projects aimed at improving the efficiency of data centre equipment and discovering new ways of reducing energy consumption.
A move to the cloud
Szcześniewski is convinced that the next few years in Poland will belong to the cloud. “This technology has been present in Poland for years and experts have been trying to convince us of its benefits,” he says. “Many Polish companies were reluctant to adopt this technology because of concerns about data security, legal and regulatory issues, but now that is changing. The recent forced attention to remote working has shown how important the cloud is.
“Of course, concerns will not disappear, but a remedy for this may be a hybrid approach to the issue. Combining clouds from many suppliers, as well as combining private virtual environments or collocation infrastructure with third-party clouds – that is the future way. This approach allows us take advantage of the benefits of different clouds, conduct IT activities, data processing and storage, based on virtual distributed resources of various providers: global, local and at the same time use your own resources. Strategies involving the use of multiple clouds may become a standard in the Polish IT environment in the next years, driven by costs, performance, reliability, flexibility, scalability and risk reduction.”