What the new EN 50600 standard means for your datacentre


Accrediting your datacentre just got faster, cheaper and more relevant to your business needs.

Despite the broad range of certified datacentre standards already available from the Uptime Institute, BISCI, TIA and others, many organisations have remained frustrated by the absence of a holistic set of standardisation guidelines that address all aspects of datacentre infrastructure and facilities.

Well, not any more.

Developed by CENELEC – an independent, non-profit European standards organisation – the new EN 50600 standard is set to have a big impact on the design of new and retrofitted datacentres, assuring their resilience, capacity and efficiency.  And it promises to be far less expensive to meet too.

What is it and what does it cover?

EN 50600 is not so much designed for the purpose of certification, as a set of guidelines that cover the following:

EN 50600-2-1 Building Construction

EN 50600-2-2 Power Distribution

EN 50600-2-3 Environmental Control

EN 50600-2-4 Telecommunications Cabling Infrastructure

EN 50600-2-5 Security Systems

EN 50600-2-6 Management and Operational Information

This newly developed family of standards – released in Q2 this year – will be kept in a state of constant development.  Many aspects of it reflect the approaches of the notoriously expensive to certify ISO, TIA, BISCI and Uptime Institute, but instead of ‘Tiers’ it uses ‘Levels’ (1,2, 3 and 4) which carry on where standards such as Uptime stop, to offer something more comprehensive.

So if you’re planning a new datacentre build or refit, bear in mind the following facts about EN 50600 and its derivatives:

  • It augments existing standards, and extends beyond them into areas such as security and power, to environmental controls
  • It is truly holistic, encompassing the full scope of datacentre infrastructure considerations
  • The various elements of the overall standard interlink with one another in a coordinated fashion, providing a comprehensive approach
  • It is flexible enough to accommodate future improvements as technologies develop and the standards themselves evolve over time
  • It provides design principles for datacentre designers and owners, including specific guidance about the selection process for the required overall datacentre design parameters
  • It defines a straightforward classification system for availability and physical security
  • It offers, as a single datacentre design standard, an energy efficiency enablement approach that provides a basis for all energy efficiency KPI concepts

How is it better than previous approaches?

For many years up to this point, our clients have been asking us to accredit their datacentres or give them some form of official certification to show what Tiering standard they meet or to prove its resilience, capacity and efficiency.

Meeting this challenge has always been expensive, owing to the charges levied by the standards bodies involved, and rather arcane constraints on precisely who can be brought in to deliver the certification.

Not only that, but some of the standards listed above lean more towards an American standard than a European standard, and that’s especially limiting in areas such as power distribution and UPS.

How does EN 50600 support from Comtec benefit me?

Thanks to this new standard, we’re finally able to provide what customers have been crying out for; delivering a datacentre accreditation against a particular level that will incorporate not just availability and security but go beyond to look at process, procedures, efficiency etc.

Using our UK leading, multidisciplinary skills to deliver this in-house means that we can offer this service on a standalone basis at an affordable price, or rolled up as part of a larger build or retrofit project.

In the first month or so that the standard has been released, EN 50600 has caught the interest of our largest corporate clients the most as it allows them to demonstrate their corporate responsibility, carbon footprint and datacentre efficiency to internal/external stakeholders as part of one streamlined exercise.  As well as benchmarking, we’re also working with clients who want their space audited as part of a refresh project, and others who are looking at capacity change in their datacentre.

For more information about EN 50600 please contact the Comtec professional services team.