IV Tier National Data Center: Heart of Digital Bangladesh 2021

2017-09-18     Reporter: Liu Yang

The Government of Bangladesh is installing an IV Tier National Data Center, one of the largest data centers in Asia, as the country is moving towards digitalization. The new data center is being built by ZTE based in Shenzhen, China. Recently, ZTE Technologies interviewed Abu Sayeed Chowdhury, Project Director of the IV Tier National Data Center, Bangladesh Computer Council, ICT Division. Abu Sayeed Chowdhury is responsible for coordinating and implementing the project on time while ensuring its quality. He shared with us details on the new National Data Center, including its reliability and energy efficiency.


What is the background of the IV Tier National Data Center in Bangladesh?

Bangladesh is a country with huge potential in ICT development. The government has the vision of building Digital Bangladesh by 2021. It is being monitored by our honorable ICT advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy, who is an expert in IT and also a scientist. He is a young and dynamic leader and the architect for building Digital Bangladesh. So people in Bangladesh are very lucky.

Digital Bangladesh is the main target for us here at the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), ICT Division. We have set up many high-tech parks and software parks. To improve governance, we have completed Infra-Sakar Phase 1 and Phase 2, which is to set up the optical network throughout the country for government connectivity. Nowadays, most of our government employees use e-services such as e-filing and e-mail. We have in total 52 ministries and four independent governing bodies. We have set up the network for them, but we don't have a very strong and secure data center for them. We need a high-end, world-class data center in Bangladesh for better service. Besides, the private sector has high demands for data. Banks and many international companies need a high reliability data center for lease.

The new National Data Center is very important for preserving, securing and sharing data. It will be at the heart of building Digital Bangladesh. That's why we are going to develop the data center, which is being built by ZTE. 


What are the advantages of the National Data Center?

We have many big databases, for example, the election commission database and the passport database. We have many big applications, like e-filing. We need to preserve them and make them secure as well as user friendly. By establishing and furnishing the data center, data security will be ensured. The second advantage is data sharing. There are now many databases in the country but they are used by different stake holders. The data center will help us share data among the important stake holders.


How will the National Data Center accelerate the digital transformation of Bangladesh?

The National Data Center will provide many services in the future, such as cloud computing, cloud desk and cloud storage. Those services will help people and  the government easily take advantage of e-services when they demand them. I have seen in China that people are using mobile terminals for office work, shopping and chatting. I think we are going to witness the same digital transformation.


What's your approach to the data center reliability?

The data center uses the 2N structure, and is designed according to IV Tier standards, providing 99.995% reliability. The entire system is fault tolerant, which means that the data center can sustain failures and planned or even unplanned events without impacting the core business.

We are also going to establish two connections to the data center. One would be the main line; the other would be the redundant line. So from Dhaka to Kaliakoir there will be two hyper connections. Each connection also has its own redundancy. When one is disconnected for some reason, the other will be in service. That's the way we design.


How do you ensure that the data center is compliant with IV Tier standards?

All the design has been carried out by ZTE and China HP. As I know, ZTE has a good position in the data center market worldwide. China HP cooperated in the design of the IV Tier data center. During the design phase, we also set up a technique committee made up of professional and experienced members. We had many sessions with the Uptime Institute, ZTE and China HP. Most of problems were solved in time. Under the guidance of China HP and Uptime Institute, I believe we will get all the Uptime certifications.


How do you feel about working on the data center project? 

I'm happy to work here. Every day I start from 6 a.m. and finish work at 9 p.m. I have to start early in the morning because the construction site is far away and the road is clear at that time. Our office is in Dhaka whereas the data center is being built at the Kaliakoir High-Tech Park, 70 km away from Dhaka. I need to go there to oversee the construction and implementation. I really enjoy it because it is promoting Digital Bangladesh and is also a milestone for the country.

Every mega project also has some challenges. We are addressing the problems and solving the challenges. It's interesting to work on some challenges. When I face some challenges, for example, if I overcome them, I feel very happy myself.


Data centers are energy intensive. What's your approach on energy consumption and environmental protection?

To address these two issues, Bangladesh's government was happy to select ZTE because they've secured these two components, service prediction and energy consumption. Apart from that, when we finalized the specifications of the equipment, we selected the equipment which has less electricity consumption and is also environment-friendly. We worked with ZTE and BCC to choose the right equipment.

The data center also has an improved design. We use a high-density modularized data center solution with highly efficient modular UPS, chilled water in-row air conditioners and enclosed cold aisles. Based on these advanced technologies, the data center will operate at a power usage effectiveness (PUE) value of less than 1.8. Considering the hot weather in Bangladesh, the data center is energy-saving and environment-friendly.

On site, there is an area of greenery. The High-Tech Park is located on a spacious piece of land (nearly 350 acres). Within that area, we have seven acres of land for the data center. The data center has some space available and we made it green with foliage.


How will the National Data Center meet the trend of big data and IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) will create a large amount of data every second. With the rapid development of the IoT, we have entered the era of big data. To meet the demands of the big data era, we have designed a capacity of more than 600 racks for the data center. Besides this, there are a lot of expandable areas. When we expand in the future, we have facilities for this. 


What do you think of ZTE's project team?

They are working very well. I would like to refer to the friendly relationship between Bangladesh and China. China is one of the biggest development partners for Bangladesh. I would like to thank the Government of Bangladesh that they have chosen the right development partner—China and more particularly ZTE. We are progressing well. Also, we are lucky that we've got such good leadership, for example our ICT advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy as I told you. I am optimistic that we will be achieving Digital Bangladesh before 2021.


What's the plan for operations & maintenance?

In a data center, there are three parts, the civic part (construction), the power and electric part and the IT part. In the project, we have 30 engineers from different sectors, including IT, electricity, power and civil engineers. They are actually responsible for operating the data center. We are now enhancing their technical capabilities so that they can operate the center easily. We have three types of training for them. The first is local training in Bangladesh. The second is overseas training at ZTE University in China. The third is on-site training. When equipment is installed, they will go on-site and get hand-to-hand training.


What are your thoughts on the future data center industry?

I think data centers are very important in digitization. For education, a library is very important. You put all the books in the library. You take a book, read it and share it with others. Similarly, we could preserve data in one place like a library. People can then use and share the data. This is the ultimate objective for keeping the data.

Information needs to be preserved in data centers in a secure way. For example, when you want to apply for a passport, you need to get the form. If you get a fake one, it would be of no use. Now cyber attacks are crucial issue around the world. There could be different data centers. The private sector could have one; and the government sector could have one. If data centers are deployed in different places, it would be difficult to hack these data centers. If everything is in one place, it is easy to hack. We need more data centers to minimize cyber risks. We also need the data center recovery system.

With the development of cloud computing, high-density data centers have become a trend. Emerging technologies are breaking the limits of density and power source. For example, data centers that traditionally support less than 5 kW per rack can now get up to 8 to 9 kW per rack. We believe data centers will be able to reduce physical space by 30% in the next five years.

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