Client Story: SONDA
Director of Data Center Services,
Cloud & Data Center, SONDA
PQC and SONDA navigate remote demonstrations for Tier IV Certification of Kudos data center in Chile
SONDA is a leading company in technological and digital transformation, with a presence in 11 countries including the United States. Headquartered in Santiago, Chile and with operations in more than 5,000 cities worldwide, the company is focused on delivering value to its customers through IT solutions and services that offer the operational agility and efficiency necessary to overcome current and future business challenges. Its client base spans most industries and sectors, including banking and finance, education, government, manufacturing, mining and natural resources, agriculture, retail, healthcare, transportation, smart cities and many others.
With a wide range of customers, from companies operating in various industries and markets to hyperscale cloud service providers, SONDA is dedicated to enabling customers with secure, reliable, redundant and flexible computing environments and solutions that meet the highest standards in the world.
The company’s enterprise data center services enable organizations to manage IT risks and maximize IT performance. These services help customers host, monitor, manage, operate, and maintain key IT components, including servers, communication equipment, data storage, software, and essential applications. This ensures IT operational continuity and information security, offering a scalable infrastructure that customers can use to deploy their applications quickly, efficiently and reliably, according to their needs.
Over the past decade, communities have witnessed an explosion of data due to increasing levels of technological implementation around the world. This has driven the need to process and store large amounts of data and requires the construction of all types of data centers, both large and small. SONDA identified this trend early on, leading to the strategic plan for the new Kudos data center in Santiago, designed and built to the highest global standards for availability and security.
The Opportunity / Challenge
To SONDA customers, Tier Certification is a guarantee of compliance with industry-leading design and construction standards for data center availability and redundancy. In the world of data centers, maximum levels of availability that do not hold up in reality have been presented, and continue to be presented. SONDA and its customers see independent third-party certification as the direct way to overcome these misunderstandings and verify the true capabilities of a data center.
SONDA contracted engineering and architecture provider PQC for the first time in 2014 for the construction of the second phase (Rooms 3 and 4) of the Quilicura data center in Santiago, and again for its third phase (Rooms 5 and 6). When the time came in 2018 to start work on the Kudos data center, SONDA once again relied on PQC's ability to deliver the project on budget, on time and at the expected level of quality. This time, SONDA hired PQC to drive the comprehensive design of the new facility, oversee the construction and manage the Uptime Institute Tier Certification process.
One of the first facilities to achieve a Tier IV Certification of Design Documents in Chile, the Kudos data center project faced several challenges during the construction phase. The first obstacle of this kind was a significant social uprising in October 2019, which greatly affected the transport systems and schedules of all personnel involved in the work, as well as the team’s ability to meet project deadlines. Second, the restrictions and protocols caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affected the project in its final stages of execution.
Team members, both directly and indirectly affected by the virus, were subject to mobility restrictions and quarantine periods. This caused many challenges for the project and forced strict protective measures on the construction site, such as differentiated access control, disinfection areas, shift coordination, capacity controls in areas with tight spaces and more.
Despite the many limitations, and thanks to the commitment of team members from SONDA, PQC and Uptime Institute, the Kudos data center was completed within the planned time frame. As of July 2020, Phase 1 of the constructed facility was ready to begin the Tier IV Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF) process. Unfortunately, pandemic travel restrictions at the time prevented Uptime Institute technical staff from traveling to the facility for on-site assessments.
To overcome COVID-19 travel restrictions, all parties worked together to move forward with an adjusted, two-part certification method. The first part of the process involved conducting remote functionality demonstrations to allow the Certification to progress while adhering to pandemic health and safety protocols. This required the teams to establish an upfront analysis around which the entire Certification process would revolve.
The objective of the analysis was to minimize the risk of contact between people who used remote means and allow the dynamic development of the tests, all in order to guarantee the health of the participants and, with it, the Certification process itself. As a result of this analysis, five distinct staff groups and a communication framework were established.
The first group was made up of Uptime Institute staff, who worked from different locations (USA, Costa Rica, Brazil and Chile), supervising the development of electromechanical tests via streaming and monitoring by direct connection with the building management system (BMS). Uptime Institute staff had direct access to BMS servers located in carrier rooms, which they tested through a live test in the week before the remote functionality demonstrations.
The second group was dedicated exclusively to the control and supervision of the BMS. This group consisted of personnel specialized in BMS development, SONDA operations personnel and PQC engineers with remote connection to the personnel assigned by Uptime Institute. The third group consisted of different teams managing test equipment located in each critical system, with no contact between them. This group was composed of PQC engineers and technicians from the companies supplying the UPS systems, electrical distribution systems, cold production systems, cold distribution systems, BMS, etc.
A fourth group included audiovisual specialists dedicated exclusively to filming. Five filmmakers participated in this team, relaying the footage from the tests via streaming to Uptime Institute staff members. For this filming process, preliminary and real tests were carried out until the development was optimal in terms of quality, fluidity, angles and vision planes.
And finally, the fifth group focused on the management of test execution. It managed daily scheduling and individualized scheduling of each test before it began, on-site execution with local groups through sequence and order protocols already programmed and previously tested in Level 5 integration tests, coordination with the film crews, coordination with Uptime Institute, and coordination with the BMS team.
The team established three independent channels within the General communication framework: one image channel with audio and two audio-only channels. The team then viewed the execution of the tests and the behavior of the critical equipment involved through the image channel with audio. The first audio-only channel was dedicated exclusively to internal communication between the members of the different groups and the second to open communication.
These groups carried out every test before starting the official remote functionality demonstrations, adjusting the organizational or technical aspects as needed to ensure success. The development and execution of the entire two-part certification process for the Kudos data center involved 35 people, including PQC engineers, SONDA staff, Uptime Institute consultants, filmmakers, and equipment technicians. It is a testament to the flexibility, collaboration and commitment of each organization and individual involved.
The remote functionality demonstrations were a success. In July 2020, Uptime Institute issued a Provisional Tier IV Certification of Constructed Facility for Phase 1 of the Kudos data center to recognize the significance of completing the required remote functionality demonstrations. After an on-site verification assessment by Uptime Institute consultants, SONDA received documentation of its complete Tier IV TCCF.
The Kudos data center is one of the first owned by an IT services company in Chile and Latin America that is designed and built to meet the most demanding international standards. It will provide organizations across the region with access to a fail-safe IT infrastructure to address their digital transformation initiatives. It also features industry-leading sustainability measures, including a 100% renewable energy supply, free cooling as air conditioning technology, water recovery, and more.
SONDA’s continued growth and expansion has been guided by its strategic vision and strict operation planning, which seek to lead the technological transformation of Latin American organizations and societies, with the primary objective of contributing innovation, transformation, and efficiency to its customers. As part of this strategic plan, Uptime Institute Tier Certifications offer further validation for SONDA’s ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality, highly reliable facilities to its customers.
Tier Certifications by Facility
DC SONDA Kudos, Phase 1 – Santiago, Chile
- Tier IV Certification of Design Documents
- Tier IV Certification of Constructed Facility
DC SONDA Quilicura – Santiago de Chile Metropolitan Region, Metropolitan Region, Chile
- Tier III Certification of Design Documents
- Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility
- Tier III Gold Certification of Operational Sustainability