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RAM Infotechnology

RAM Infotechnology

State-of-the-art data centre in in the heart of Holland

RAM Infotechnology is experiencing robust growth in the professional ICT outsourcing market, and partly due to this found itself faced with the capacity limitations of the current data centre. This was ample reason to combine the move to a new, modern office block with the construction of a new, high-security data centre. The task of designing and constructing the data centre was outsourced to ICTroom by means of a Design & Construct agreement.

RAM Infotechnology specializes in hosting and managing ICT for organizations for whom ICT is not a core task, but is still essential to ensure the services they provide function properly. Our customers are primarily active in health care, the financial sector, commercial services and government (or government-owned corporations).

Supplying bespoke ICT with standard components

RAM's move to new office premises in Utrecht enabled the outsourcing Business Unit of RAM (RAM Infotechnology) to commission an entirely new data centre. The existing data centre did not offer sufficient space to accommodate the expected future growth. The choice of new premises went to a new-build site on Papendorp industrial estate in Utrecht. A spacious, open and light building was chosen, with such elements as moss-covered walls, glass panels and nice tables and chairs adding colourful touches. A building with both office space and its own data centre was deliberately chosen. Commercial Director Niels van Peer and Technical Director Wouter Levenbach explain from the perspective of business requirements how the ultramodern data centre took shape.

Need for a regional data centre

RAM Infotechnology's focus is on taking over customers' ICT services, says Niels van Peer. ‘Outsourcing the entire IT package, entailing us taking on responsibility for the end-to-end chain, or outsourcing a number of systems featuring critical applications. This makes the data centre a cornerstone of our business. From a commercial perspective, having our own data centre allows us to distinguish ourselves by offering our customers a better price-to-quality ratio. The office space and the data centre are in close proximity. This was a deliberate choice. After all, despite the fact that these days a lot of work can be done very well remotely, the short distance enables us to think on our feet and respond extremely quickly. This is essential for high-quality service provision. Another factor that came into the equation when electing to build a data centre ourselves was the considerable need for regional data centres. RAM Infotechnology is now offering a state-of-the-art data centre in the heart of the Netherlands, where businesses can house their systems and applications in a very sound, reliable way. This regional role is exceptionally important to us.’

Own infrastructure

The decision to build an in-house data centre did not imply that it absolutely had to be housed in the office building, adds Wouter Levenbach. ‘Indeed, we preferred the idea of having a data centre alongside the building. And so that's what we built. In structural terms, the data centre is an adjacent building, even if from the architectural perspective it forms a coherent whole with the office section. The two functions are intrinsically linked, and measures have been taken to eliminate risks from the office section. Thus unforeseen faults in the office environment will have no effect whatsoever on the data centre. It is a discrete structure with a separate infrastructure. The fact that it's new-build allowed the design to be fully fine-tuned to these two roles. We decided to go for the best solution without making any compromises. The data centre's location in the heart of the Netherlands is something our housing customers in particular perceive to be a highly positive aspect. What we're hearing is that it's not just the high uptime that's important, but also the fact that it's now much easier to come to the data centre for work. This also saves time when it comes to customers fulfilling the terms of SLAs they have with their customers. Above all, customers purchasing our managed hosting services get a good feeling from the fact that their data and systems are being managed close to our office.

High requirements in terms of availability and security

RAM Infotechnology's data centre is subject to Dutch legislation, meaning that, in contrast to many of the large data centres, the American government does not have any access to the data. Niels van Peer: ‘Our customers are predominantly the Dutch government, and health care and financial service providers. Particularly stringent requirements are set in terms of availability and security. The data centre is certified and satisfies all requisite standards, such as NEN7510 (standard for information security in health care) and the ZSP standard for health care service providers, PCI compliance for the financial sector and the international standard for information security ISO/IEC 27001. Moreover, customers set additional requirements in their SLAs. Usually the availability of a tier-3 data centre is requested. Furthermore, corporate social responsibility (such as efficient use of green energy) is considered important if you are participating in tendering processes for the government.’

"Quality guaranteed from our own data centre"

I'm eager to compete with the major ICT service providers

In line with tier-3

'The design of the data centre is in line with the tier-3 topology from The Uptime Institute’, explains Wouter Levenbach. ‘We have more than enough redundancy. Thus in terms of air conditioning and power supply everything has been done n+1. The data centre has been designed in such a way that concurrent maintenance is possible. Components can be switched off for maintenance purposes, without this impacting on the availability of the overall system. The PUE is lower than 1.3, in line with the government's requirement. Cooling and power supply can be extended and dimensioned in a phased approach so as to accommodate subsequent generations of servers as well. We are using Cooling Alleys® to keep cold and hot air flows in the data centre separate from one another. This saves a tremendous amount of energy. It also makes the engineers' work more pleasant. After all, most work is done outside of the Cooling Alleys®, in a normal climate.

Stringent requirements in terms of quality

Quality is extremely important for RAM Infotechnology's customers, says Niels van Peer. ‘Except quality doesn't usually come cheap. The fact that we have our own data centre enables us to supply the high standard of quality required at a competitive price.’ When it came to the set-up, a lot of decisions were made with quality in mind, adds Wouter Levenbach. ‘Thus there were no cost-cutting measures when it came to our 19-inch racks. We do a lot of work in the field of networking and benefit hugely from our racks, which are just that little bit wider than standard racks. This provides sufficient room for all network cabling. In addition, a 10 GB backbone is running through there, enabling us to virtualize any system. Our SSD storage is not just energy-efficient, but also exceptionally fast. A strategic partnership with Pure Storage sees us dedicating ourselves fully to SSD storage. Enterprise storage, with its extremely smart design, is inexpensive and consumes a mere 10% of the energy.’ Thanks to the combination of modern data storage based on flash and a fast backbone, physical servers are no longer necessary. That's even the case where they are markedly i/o-driven, as with database servers. As far as communication is concerned, fibreglass from all operators is present and we have a redundant connection to Eurofiber and KPN.’

‘We don't compete on price. Rather, we are dedicated to the provision of bespoke solutions based on standard, proven components, with price and quality in perfect harmony’, concludes Niels van Peer. ‘I'm eager to compete with the major ICT service providers. I'm certain that in terms of flexibility we offer better possibilities and that in terms of quality we are more than capable of rivalling our competitors! I believe this is one of the reasons why our customer portfolio includes major corporations. They set high requirements in terms of availability, security, organization, processes and infrastructure. We amply fulfil these requirements, with sufficient room for customized options.’

About RAM Infotechnology

RAM Infotechnology specializes in hosting and managing ICT for organizations for whom ICT is not a core task, but is still essential to ensure the services they provide function properly. Our customers are primarily active in health care, the financial sector, commercial services and government (or government-owned corporations). We offer them options to put together a suitable and flexible tailor-made package that dovetails with their current and future ICT needs. Key elements in our portfolio include hosting services, workplace services and supporting network services. To these we add things like security and management so as to fulfil the desired security and availability levels for our customers. Dedication and reliability are RAM Infotechnology's most important core values when it comes to our relationship with customers and stakeholders.