CSSi’s CipherVault, a category 5, generation 2 data centre located in Midrand, has seen its environmental achievements recognised by the Data Centre World Awards.

CipherVault, an advanced and highly secure facility constructed inside a biometrically accessible vault, was shortlisted for and won the Awards’ Green Data Centre of the Year category. The accolade was handed over at the award ceremony on 6 March 2024.

Several aspects of CipherVault’s function and design brought it to the attention of the Data Centre World Awards committee. Chief among these is energy efficiency. CSSi’s secure facility features upgraded equipment designed to reduce power draw without reducing the effectiveness of the data centre itself.

The power system is efficient, while the centre’s air conditioners make liberal use of liquid nitrogen and R32-A, a derivative of difluoromethylene, for more effective cooling of CipherVault’s 2 000 servers and attendant hardware.

The optimised servers are managed, as is the rest of the facility, by three different management systems that distribute and maintain power as required at any point in time.

The entire system operates via 1,3MW of solar-generated power bolstered by 3,9MW of lithium iron phosphate battery storage.

Two 1 200KVA diesel generators are in place as failover solutions, though these have yet to see service to run the centre. If both diesel backups are out of commission, a pair of 800kW UPS systems take over. Should all this fail, CipherVault can connect to South Africa’s Eskom-managed energy grid as a last resort. This also has yet to be pressed into service.

The focus on solar energy and battery storage has liberated CSSi’s facility from the yoke of Eskom’s load shedding, reduced the company’s carbon footprint, and contributes to its near-perfect service uptime.