Master Power Technologies (MPT) provided Vodacom South Africa with two mobile data centres to ensure the operator can keep its communications network running in the event of an unforeseen catastrophic incident. The mobile units were designed to fit on mobile trailers which can be deployed to any Vodacom site in South Africa within 48 hours.
Fred Weber, senior specialist, technology projects at Vodacom says MPT was previously tasked with providing data centres and power generation containers last year. These solutions have been placed at sites around the country to provide indefinite, independent backup power to the communications giant. The mobile recovery solutions are built on the same principle, but with the proviso that they fully comply with the road ordinances and statutes.
Each mobile data centre is fully self-sufficient and contains power backup capabilities with onboard generators as well as the required networking systems, fire suppression, air conditioning and security technology to ensure the units are safe in almost any eventuality. The mobile units are capable of operating independently of any of the existing site’s power infrastructure and utilities.
“The primary benefit of the mobile recovery solutions will be the assurance of continuous network operation, regardless of events and circumstances that may arise,” explains Wouter Vermeulen, MPT Data Centre Specialist.
Due to the space restrictions MPT had to work with, Weber says there were a number of innovations in the design. Some of these include the effective fitment of the HVAC condensers in the rear doors, the installation and safe placement of the standby diesel power generator within in the mobile facility, the use of Novec 1230 ozone friendly gas suppressant, and the effective fitment of power distribution panels and equipment. This was complemented by the installation of numerous secure network cabinets in this confined space.
The project took eight months to complete the design, construction and testing of the mobile centres at MPT’s headquarters in Randburg. Once the systems were fully tested they were handed over to Vodacom and the communications giant conducted a live test at its mobile telephone exchange in Midrand. The test ran smoothly with no reported loss of service.
Weber notes that while they are designed as disaster recovery or prevention facilities, they are treated as fully operational and independent data centres and are monitored by Vodacom’s network management centre. Furthermore, regional operations personnel continuously update the software and hardware in these facilities to keep them on par with existing permanent facilities and to ensure the network equipment is synchronised with the Vodacom network.
Currently, all Vodacom sites have been upgraded to include external and independent connectivity options to ensure the mobile recovery solutions can be deployed and connected immediately to bring the mobile network into full operation in as short a time as possible. What’s more, the facilities can also be used as substitutes to prevent any downtime when a site needs to be upgraded.
The mobile recovery solutions are now ready for any emergency. One is located in Pretoria where it will serve the northern parts of the country. The other is in Bloemfontein to serve the southern regions.