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How to ensure the security of cloud services?

Originally published in in 2021.

The use of cloud services has increased rapidly and it might be good for many organizations to stop and consider how they have implemented data security in their systems. When many new services are deployed consecutively in short period of time, the security can easily become an afterthought. Processes have to change as cloud services require different solutions compared to more traditional application security. It also requires more up-to-date specialist know-how.

It is easy to think that all responsibility of data security would be left on the shoulders of the service providers – unfortunately this is not the case as most of the responsibility is still on the user of the service. When the services are procured, the user has to consider what kind of data is moved into the cloud and how critical the data is. The same risks that affect other services also have to be considered with the cloud services. Additionally, there are differences in data security between different cloud models.

Criteria for Assessing the Information Security of Cloud Services

Criteria for Assessing the Information Security of Cloud Services (PiTuKri) is a guidance document published by Traficom’s Cyber Security Centre for assessing the security of cloud services. It defines the different types of data and provides recommendations on the solutions required for data with different security classifications. Different types of information present different risks and require different levels of protection.

From a security perspective, the level of assurance that can be obtained about the ability and reliability of the service provider is crucial. In situations where the service is provided by more than one organization, the risks should be assessed for all organizations involved in the provision of the service.

However, the purpose of the criteria is not to rank the different cloud services but to advise organizations on which service is sufficiently secure for each purpose. When dealing with confidential data, particular attention must be paid to the security of the cloud service.

Different Cloud Service Models

Cloud computing can be implemented in several different ways. A private cloud typically allows for a higher level of security than other cloud service delivery models. It allows reliable separation from other computing environments, user organizations and external actors.  In comparing private cloud to public cloud services, the criteria states: “In the public cloud, data is subject to a wider attack surface than in the private cloud, including through other users of the service or external actors.” A hybrid cloud, which combines a private and a public cloud, can also be used as an implementation model. In this case, the private cloud running in the private cloud is complemented by services purchased from the public cloud.

Using PiTuKri provides companies with an important tool for evaluating their own cloud services and choosing which implementation model best suits their needs. Other frameworks and existing certificates can be used to assess compliance.

Certificates and services

Ficolo offers customers both fully dedicated and shared capacity, produced in Finland, and we offer public capacity from the public cloud. By taking control of these with the Cloud Management Platform product, the customer can manage all the services in the different zones through a single console. Our services are available from all our data centers – The Air in Helsinki, The Rock in Pori and The Deck in Tampere.

Our cloud security service portfolio is designed to support cloud services and ensure service availability. The portfolio consists of comprehensive monitoring and maintenance services, network security services, backup and Anti-DDoS services and other methods to ensure the continuity and security of your cloud services. Our services help you to have a comprehensive, flexible, and manageable cloud solution that adapts to your security requirements and the capacity you use.

All our sites are audited by Kiwa Inspecta and we have been awarded both ISO 27001 (Information Security Management System) and ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management System) certifications covering our entire business – our The Rock data center is also audited to meet Katakri IV level. Operational development is a key part of Ficolo’s approach, and we are actively working to improve our services and obtain new certifications.

We are happy to help if your company is considering cloud computing or if you need assistance in assessing the security of your cloud  services. Contact us if you’d like to discuss about your cloud security needs.

Answering 5 Questions On Cloud Connectivity Together With Creanord

Originally published in in 2021.

The growth of cloud computing for the last 5- 10 years has been exponential and enterprises are rushing to host their data on cloud instead of private servers. 2020 marked the jump in demand for moving into virtualization. Now, when people are working remotely more and more, IT is looking for migrating into cloud faster. Here is where connectivity becomes highly important.

It is understandable that cloud computing is flexible and scalable. It gives enterprises freedom in adjusting requirements of cloud space based on the level of usage. Same adjustments are really difficult perform with physical servers. Apart from scalability, there are cost benefits of subscription-based pricing, so cloud computing heavily reduced IT costs by eliminating need to buy hardware infrastructure. All mentioned makes cloud services an excellent solution for start-ups. With better performance and scalability the speed of application service development improved rapidly.

Creanord webinar

We are always on top of trends and could not miss the chance to discuss cloud connectivity trends with the true expert in the field – Creanord. You can watch full recording of the related webinar here:

Nowadays, cloud connectivity is going hybrid and as a result becomes more complex. But why do you need it to be hybrid? You might need extra high-security for an app you are running (even by the law). You also might run video streaming with continuous and busy outgoing data flow. Imagine if you are using public cloud – it will surely consume a lot of money, since getting data out of the cloud is more expensive than placing it initially.

Achieving great connectivity and having optimal cloud for each case is ideal goal but there is a problem on how to manage everything at the same time. How do you find the issue if the user experiences problems? How do you manage connectivity? The answer to these questions: cloud management platform and monitoring solution with build-in reporting.

How will 5G deployments will impact the importance of connectivity for cloud services?

Obviously, 5G will be used for cloud services. Mobile broadband services are already used for certain cloud services. Today many of these cloud services provided from the centralized location like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Central Location through the core network. However, especially cloud computing of edge computing will become really popular mainly because 5G will introduce ultra-reliable, low-latency services. This means cloud computing instance needs to be really close to the customers, and these applications will be business-critical. Low-latency, high-reliability and the highest possible quality will increase the importance of connectivity going forward.

What are the top 3 DC selection considerations when developing technical services provided as cloud services from a data center?

In Cloud Management Platform, what are meaningful KPIs to commit to Client?

The KPI which is used would be highly dependent on which application(s) the connection is used for. However, generally speaking, latency and packet loss likely would be the most important KPIs. This would apply for normal business applications, whereas if you are providing for instance a voice service, jitter would also be very much in focus. For TCP based application: latency and packet loss, for voice: latency and packet loss and for video – jitter and packet loss are the most important KPI’s. As an example, 2% packet loss for TCP based application will double the latency.

What is the Megaport and how does it work?

Megaport is a solution which provides on-demand connectivity to other data centers. Megaport is hosted in several hundreds of data centers, 600+ around the world. Ficolo-IX connectivity hub in Helsinki allows access Megaport’s global network of cloud platforms. Once you have the Megaport, you can connect to any of 600 data centers no matter of the location just by “point and click” interface. Not only that, you can connect to different clouds. Megaport supports AWS, Azure, SAP Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, OVH cloud and a broad range of others. Once the solution is up and running and you want to set up an instance in a cloud you can immediately have the connection to it. So, networking as a service basically can and should be through the cloud.

Read more about Megaport

What kind of measurement probes are typically used in the data centers / customer virtualization platforms?

Typically, data center /cloud providers have to use virtual probes. For example, as a part of Microsoft Azure, there has to be a virtual probe. Creanord has a full portfolio of different virtual probes, and as of today, they have 3 different virtual probes available. All of the probes can support same capabilities and features but what makes them differ is scalability. The scalability varies from PULSensor 200 to PULSensor 3000 by how much disk space and memory they require and how well do they scale in number of circuits that can be monitored. All of the probes can be used in different cloud platforms such as IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure.  All hypervisors and commonly used cloud providers are supported.

About Creanord:

Specialists in active network service measurements / active network service assurance. Based in Helsinki, Finland with 20 + years of experience in developing solutions for network service providers and cloud providers. Creanord active network assurance solutions are enabling accurately and actively track network performance and quality, and support customers in building outperforming networks. Creanord’s technology was implemented in over 30 countries and more than 50 networks globally. Key customers: Tier-1, Tier -2 and Tier-3 service providers, wholesalers, cloud and critical communication providers.

Creanord can offer:

Learn more about Creanord on their website: Creanord

Data Center Sale and Leaseback Is A Win-Win

Does your business operate your own data center? Have you considered a sale and leaseback transaction to improve both operational and financial side of your business?

racks in whitespace in data center
racks in whitespace in data center

Originally published in ficolo.con in 2020.

Does your business operate your own data center? Have you considered a sale and leaseback transaction to improve both operational and financial side of your business?

A data center sale-leaseback means that a company that owns and operates its own data center sells the facility and buys back the data center space as a service, i.e. as colocation, optionally including the hardware or virtualization layers as a service.

The driver for these transactions is a consolidation in the data center space; for a number of reasons it may become increasingly unattractive to continue running an own data center. These reasons can include:

Pace of data center development drives sale-leaseback

In Ficolo’s case, one main driver stands out for these transactions. Often companies that have previously built a data center business realize that their business priorities have shifted to other areas. It is not viable to operate their own data center as the pace of development is only accelerating and requires huge amounts of focus, resources and investments. Instead of running their own data center at less than full capacity, with sale-leaseback the companies can pay just for the capacity they actually use.

Gartner already predicted a few years back that by 2025 80% of companies would have shut down their traditional data centers. Why? The focus on IT departments is constantly shifting with the range of systems, applications and software solutions increasing. At the same time, the expectation of management as well as interfacing departments are evolving. It is not enough to just be able to run a data center; you need to constantly keep improving in all areas. As a company specialized in data center operations, when Ficolo takes over a data center, it has the capability and means to streamline and fine-tune processes, cooling, humidity and control the environment. Combined with advanced solutions for ensuring power supply and unique fire protection, the risks of downtime can be managed much better than with traditional data centers. With this, we can help companies comply with regulations, ensure high reliability, scalability and flexibility in data center operations.

Benefits for both parties

The prerequisite of sale-leaseback is to have a win-win situation for both parties. The transaction has to fit both companies’ strategies. For instance, if the seller may have come to the conclusion that maintaining a data center themselves does not bring additional value to their customers. Ficolo can be the right fit as the data center partner with its Finnish owners, Finnish reliable data centers and expertise and environmentally conscious service. For us, the transactions are an opportunity to grow and to provide services exactly according to customer needs.

For good cooperation it is essential that the responsibilities are clearly defined and agreed. In all cases Ficolo operates as the data center partner and can also take the responsibility for services up to the virtualization layer.

Internationally acclaimed process

Ficolo has completed several of these kinds of sale and leaseback deals and we are actively looking for new possibilities. Previous M&A transactions have received Ficolo international recognition. The sale-leaseback of Fujitsu data center was shortlisted for Global M&A of the year by Data Economy Finvest in February 2020. Ficolo transformed the data center into modern Data center in which Fujitsu and other customers can enjoy top-notch security, latest fire protection systems, and environmentally sustainable solutions.

In 2018, in the first sale-leaseback deal, Ficolo bought Cybercom’s data center in Tampere. Cybercom operations in the data center remained the same, except they do not need to take care of the data center infrastructure. They can access and work in the data center same as before the acquisition. Tampere data center was named The Deck.

In August 2019, Ficolo announced the agreement between Ficolo and Pinja (at the time, Protacon). Pinja’s data center services were moved to Ficolo’s data center The Rock. With the transaction Pinja received the opportunity to decentralize their data center services into Ficolo’s other data centers as well as ISO certified data center, bringing additional value to Pinja’s customers.

In 2020, Ficolo bought Tietokeskus data center in Raisio. Tietokeskus made a decision to focus on their own customers and delivering more value to them. With the sale-leaseback of the data center, Tietokeskus trusted their data center operations in the hands of a partner who has the latest knowledge and the resources required for optimize the lifespan of data center infrastructure.

If you want to know more, contact us!

High Performance Computing In Finland

Originally published in in 2020.

High Performance Computing (HPC) has emerged as the platform of choice for diverse use cases that require large amounts of processing power. Ranging from financial modeling and research analytics to simulation of car models, the technology holds great potential speed up development in many industries. Artificial intelligence and machine learning require massive amounts of data exceptionally fast and HPC is able to deliver this.

High Performance Computing is about rack density – packing the latest processors, cooling and power technologies into a small area to produce a vast amount of computing power. Density is measured with the amount of electricity used by the computing equipment –average rack density has steadily increased throughout the years. HPC involves thousands of processors working in parallel to analyze vast amounts of data in real time. In HPC architecture, servers are networked together into a cluster, in which multiple programs and algorithms can be run simultaneously. As the final part of the cluster, data storage captures the output of the networked servers. With all three components working seamlessly together, HPC is able to complete diverse sets of tasks. The storage has to be able to feed and digest data to and from the servers as quickly as it is processed, and if the networking component doesn’t deliver it hinders the performance of the other two components.

The rack density of high performance computing deployments can require up to 30kW or more electricity, with future cases in planning going beyond 80kW. With these deployments the cooling method has to be carefully planned to keep the costs down. For high density racks, liquid cooling offers the most effective heat conduction, but with the right design air cooling can support quite high density as well.

Finland as HPC Location

HPC components generate a considerable amount of heat and place requirements on power supply reliability and availability of affordable green energy. Finland’s cool climate, abundance of sustainable energy and great connectivity make it a very attractive location.

The Nordic Council of Ministers published a report that quantifies the competitiveness of Nordics for different data center customers. For colocation and high performance computing customers the report found that the most important deciding factors when choosing the location were:

It is safe to say that Finland has all these covered. Additionally there are a number of considerations, such as frequency of natural disasters or extreme storms, ease of doing business, additional services, stable Euro as currency, local presence of hardware and network vendor support, direct flights in case your engineers will be spending time on the site… and more. Many of these make it attractive to choose a data center in a capital region.

Data Center Service Taxes

Tax laws can be hurdles to navigate with data center services as different service components may have different bases for taxation. There are also big differences between countries regarding reclaiming VAT. The transparency of Finnish tax laws offers the predictability that is so important for larger operations. Here you know exactly how the value added tax works and what you can reclaim. We have many years of experience with Finnish tax laws and has worked with multiple international customers to find the right solutions. We know how the VAT works with electricity, goods imports or storage and whether there are any exceptions that can be applied to your company.

Finland’s competitiveness as a location for HPC projects will only increase in the future. The electricity price is already one of the lowest in Europe and the country’s government is actively removing restrictions on digital economy and has included an energy tax rate cut in its program as a part of broader tax reform package. The reduction is on track and planned to come into force in 2021 and offers significant savings on electricity costs.

HPC requires specialist know-how on energy distribution and cooling. Data center experts understand the demands the super dense racks place on power capacity and cooling and have the expertise to ensure consistent, resilient and redundant power to individual racks of HPC servers. If you are looking for a location for your HPC operation, we would be happy to assist you. The Air data center has a unique cell-based power and cooling design that provides flexibility to serve both classic colocation and HPC from multi-purpose whitespace. Our experience guarantees that your operation’s design, build and going live will be as quick and frictionless as possible

In Case of Fire – Protect The Service

The Air Data Center

Originally posted in in 2020.

A fire in a data center can cause irreparable devastation and consequently fire protection systems are a basic requirement. Only one type of system protects the service with immediate action when an anomaly is detected, though. Most systems initially raise an alarm at the early warning and do not initiate further action, because extinguishing may cause a lot of damage.

Traditional water-based systems focus on protecting facility and personnel, which in itself is good, but they have a high risk of affecting the service. Gaseous inert fire suppression systems can cause shockwaves. The consequences of choosing the wrong solution can be disastrous and very costly. An optimal solution would cause no damage when triggered by accident. Moreover, in addition to protecting people and protecting assets, it would be beneficial to protect the service and ensure operation. Preventative fire protection based on reducing oxygen helps prevent fire and avoids causing collateral damage. 

Active Fire Protection – Immediate Action

For The Air Ficolo has chosen an active fire protection system. The system is completely water-free and based on early detection. Importantly, it can react before a fire breaks out. How is that possible?

The most important principle of the system is to act before there is fire and develop such conditions in which fire is even impossible to ignite. The system samples tiny particles from the air to detect possible fires. The system works by lowering oxygen levels with the help of nitrogen immediately when abnormal conditions are detected. As the system works at an early stage, lowering of the oxygen level is controlled ensuring there is no harm to people. Oxygen level is lowered below fire ignition point, making it impossible for the fire to start (see picture).

Why did Ficolo choose this system? It is the only fire protection method that enables full data center operation at all times, even in case of fire. It protects the service and ensures business continuity thanks to its preventive actions. Nitrogen is a normal gas in our atmosphere, it is non-toxic, therefore the system has no side effects for people working in the data center. And, in the event of false alarm, it is a completely safe system. Conventional fire protection systems react differently, starting with a local alarm, then a fire department alarm and finally triggering the extinguishing system. The active fire protection works one step ahead.

Active fire protection

Fire Protection Systems

Putting Business Continuity First  

The data center infrastructure selections can tell you a lot about the ability of the provider to ensure customer’s business continuity. You can evaluate whether the choices are done only based on minimum standards or whether they also protect the service in addition to people and assets. A knowledgeable data center provider knows how to take all scenarios into consideration. And although fire suppression is just one system, it is the whole palette that makes the combination and how they all fit together. 

Ficolo wants to make sure that all components support customers and their business continuity. Please contact us at [email protected] to discuss further.

One Cloud Is Not Enough – The Answer is Hybrid Multicloud

Originally published in in 2020.

The cloud and data center market is quite dynamic. New trends and fads come and go, just as new providers with great declarations of disruption only to soon quietly fade away with nothing to show for the promises. Every year bringing a new set of terms and dogmas.

An often stated belief is that the public cloud offers the absolute cloud computing bliss. The industry analysts can give a more nuanced picture – one which also guides our daily operations. A recent cloud industry report states that corporates are especially interested in solutions that are based on multicloud and hybrid cloud platforms.

The public cloud is still popular, but according to the report, their popularity as the one and only solution is decreasing. Their assessment is that this is because the costs tend to increase too much as business grows. Private cloud can offer a more cost-efficienct solution providing it is efficiently managed and utilization is high.

From the point of view of the business, it is important to undestand that there is no single objectively best cloud solution – no “one-cloud-fits-all” type of solution. The variety of use cases is so broad that considering only one option does not lead to effective outcomes.

Demand for multicloud, flexibility and local know-how.

The successful CIOs have changed their approach toward solutions that are tailored for their specific needs. They are designed with the customer’s business in mind and can be scaled as the business grows. In this context, speed, scalability and local know-how are vital. In many cases, hybrid multicloud solutions have central role in this.

With hybrid multicloud, different options can be kept open and nothing needs to be procured just in case. When a company needs new features to their cloud, they can be deployed with flexibility and speed. All the features of public cloud from any provider are also easily available if needed. In hybrid multicloud solutions the optimal cloud environment can be assured without the customer having to pay for anything that they do not actually need yet.

The next generation Data Centers are the winners of the future. They can mix the private and public cloud and build hybrid solutions that utilize different components at the same time. They have know-how on how to provide modern connectivity solutions and provide both digital and physical (“phygital”) security. Above all, they know how to combine customer’s different needs from lots of computing capacity to low latency.

Planning these kinds of solutions requires its own expertise. The importance of partnerships has increased – that is why cloud service providers and colocation data center providers are continuously expanding their co-operation.

The data center of the future is agile and green

The analysts who follow the industry believe in a multi-tenant hybrid multicloud future. Gartner estimates that by 2025 over 80% of companies have closed their own traditional data centers. Data centers that only offer floor space move out of the way of colocation providers who offer value adding services.

Cloud and data center services are an increasingly important part of companies’ business strategies. One of the central elements of their business strategies is a cloud solution that is built specifically to their needs and that supports their business objectives.

Along with the agile operational model, environmental changes are affecting markets. Environmental values have increasing importance when companies select cloud and data center partners. That is why Ficolo’s newest data center operates with 100% renewable energy and heat reuse. The data center was funded with a green bond, that received the highest rating of Norwegian climate research institute subsidiary Cicero as the first Finnish data center. The rating is only given to projects that help prevent climate change.

The data centers of the future work with their customers at the different stages of building their cloud services. We have helped our customers by changing their business models to cloud business models, bringing the opportunities of the cloud as a part of traditional ICT solutions and helping companies already in the cloud to achieve better results. Each customer deserves a solution that is built for their needs and such services are almost never built around just one building block.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Multi-Cloud Environment

Combining Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds

Originally published in in 2020.

A Forrester Consulting survey shows that 86% of companies have a multi-cloud strategy. Multi-cloud environments enable a suitable environment for applications with different needs and allow cost savings by moving workloads to the best platform. By using private and public clouds side by side and new platforms are introduced for different purposes, the challenge is the multiple interfaces and management of different environments. The risk is that management becomes fragmented and the overall picture is lost.

No wonder multi-cloud services may seem like a complicated, time-consuming and demanding solution. Ficolo’s Multi-Cloud Support Specialist, Juuso Viljanen, thinks it is the opposite because the Cloud Management Platform (CPM) makes it possible to steer clear of the common cloud service pitfalls: “CPM combines public, private and hybrid clouds within the same service, under one management platform. It is also possible to use IaaS and PaaS services and DevOps methods directly through one interface”.

“With Cloud Management Platform, real-time monitoring is very easy, tasks and workflows can be effortlessly automated.”

“Cloud Management Platform helps you to use resources efficiently. For example, provisioning is very simple and only takes a few minutes. With CPM, real-time monitoring is very easy, tasks and workflows can be effortlessly automated”, tells Viljanen. Cost-effectiveness is also taken into account in the solution. “With the tool, you can find out if your resources are being used efficiently and it also gives you recommendations for optional measures,” says Viljanen. “For instance, if a virtual server isn’t in use on weekends, it can be set to work only on weekdays.”

Ficolo’s Cloud Management Platform is a cloud-independent service based on Morpheus Data’s award-winning solution – in autumn 2018 it was awarded in the Best of VMworld for Agile Operations and Automation category. The solution has also been named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant – for two years in a row. Support for automation design and implementation, custom tailoring, and deployment support is available as additional services. Expertise and know-how of Team Ficolo is at the customer’s disposal if needed. “We support the customer in the introduction of the product and of course we provide personal support in Finnish as well as in English. We master the entire environment up to the OS level and our goal is to be as agile as possible and to quickly resolve customer support requests”, tells Juuso Viljanen.

Agility is the lifeblood of companies

Multi-cloud services are the present and the future as agility is the lifeblood of companies. Cloud services can be utilized by a wide range of businesses, but it is especially advantageous in environments where the cloud is distributed through software to customers, such as IT service providers, software businesses, energy and IoT companies, With the Cloud Management Platform, you get the most out of your cloud services. Ficolo Cloud Delivery concept, in addition to the cloud management tool, enables you to produce all of your cloud services.

Contact us today to learn more!

Architecting An Agile Enterprise Network

Sometimes overlooked, network architecture is a key component for improved service performance. As the requirements for connectivity solutions change alongside business needs, a more adaptable approach is in order. Learn what Megaport connectivity can offfer.

Originally published in in 2020.

Ficolo offers Megaport’s Network-as-a-Service solution, which provides data center interconnectivity to hundreds of locations around the globe, in addition to leading cloud providers.  It allows you to build a scalable IT backbone.

With the emergence of cloud services, whether public or private, a new way of thinking has spread beyond development teams to operations and business areas. They now expect more speed, agility and even experimentational capability. In many enterprises, connectivity, while understood to be a vital part of delivering services, is an area struggling to evolve along with flexible delivery models. The classic way of ordering services with long commitment times and fixed bandwidth can create obstacles for building business momentum.

Sometimes overlooked, network architecture is a key component for improved service performance. When architecting the enterprise network, the goal should be to work smarter, faster, and easier to help alignment with the changing business needs. At the same time, the network needs to enable both cloud service access and global reach. Basic internet connectivity would go part of the way, but lacks in providing security, reliability and visibility.

Traditional connectivity methods usually require separately ordering connections from one or more network operators. This is a lengthy process typically taking weeks if not months. If you need to use multiple service providers and redundancy, management can become a pain. And what you get is a connection of predefined properties that may not scale and where changes could require a new lengthy order process.

As the requirements for connectivity solutions change alongside business needs, a more adaptable approach is in order.

Megaport offers a great alternative to traditional operators

To address this challenge, Ficolo offers Megaport’s Network-as-a-Service solution, which provides data center interconnectivity to hundreds of locations around the globe, in addition to leading cloud providers.  It allows you to build a scalable IT backbone.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Suppose you have offices in four geographies: Finland, Asia, North America and Australia. All you need in each location is connectivity to a Megaport-enabled data center, such as Ficolo in Finland.
  2. At each data center you will need a port.
  3. Between each port you can set up connectivity to any of the other locations. You can do this in seconds.
  4. When you need to increase or decrease bandwidth, all you do is reconfigure.

Megaport speeds up your business by letting you quickly introduce services – and the connectivity they need – and equally right-size when the demand changes.

Megaport’s Software Defined Networking (SDN) solution has the broadest footprint of any on offer, with excellent flexibility and speed. Compared to traditional operators, Megaport connectivity is inherently redundant, easy to use, and fast to provision.

Thanks to flexible terms and a global reach, you can be sure that your network is agile enough to meet your changing business needs. Megaport provides the robust network architecture to help you on your path to growth.

A Look Inside The Air Data Center

Originally posted in in 2019. Updated in 2023.

Data centers are not just servers and racks. Operating a data center requires a lot of knowledge as well as mechanical and technical expertise. In this blog post we’ll explain some of the infrastructure components and choices for The Air Data Center.

Design – Build – Operate

A lot of data center companies focus only on operating the data center. The capability to design and build brings a number of benefits, for instance the capability to optimize for smooth operation.

Design of an enterprise-level data center starts from the goal that there is no single point of failure. All infrastructure components are fully redundant and maintenance can be performed without compromising production. Importantly, in a situation where a component fails, there is always a backup in place.

After design, operating data center infrastructure means tweaking for the optimal conditions. This results in operational cost savings and efficiency. This is also where colocation brings a lot to the table – know-how and experience of how to ensure perfect conditions, understanding of latest technologies in the data center and guaranteed service.

Active Fire Protection

Ficolo is introducing active fire protection in The Air. This completely water-free system is the only fire protection method that enables full data center operation in case smoke is detected. Most fire protection systems focus on protecting people and assets, which is a necessary, but in addition to this, the active fire protection system prevents data loss and protects the SLA. The system works by lowering oxygen levels immediately when abnormal conditions are detected. It samples tiny particles from the air and takes preventive actions by creating a protective atmosphere that prevents open flames from developing.

Traditional fire protection methods using water usually cause damage to the whole rack or server room. Such systems function when it is already too late to protect the service, whereas the active fire protection system enables full production at all times.


Servers produce lots of warm air and thus require constant monitoring of conditions. Cooling is undoubtably one of the massive systems inside data centers.

The Air utilizes combined energy and cooling cells (CECC) and cooling is based on a heat exchange wheel free cooling solution taking advantage of the Finnish cool climate to the maximum. This is energy efficient and a low PUE (power usage effectiveness) solution. A cell-based architecture allows adaptive scalability, so that as the colocation space is filled with racks of varied power consumption, an appropriate amount of CECC’s can be fitted, without the risk of overprovisioning.

As data centers are evaluated against their PUE value, having energy efficient solutions matter. The PUE describes the ratio between energy used by ICT equipment in comparison to other equipment e.g. cooling.

These CECC units are independent and typically N+1 protected, meaning that if one unit is out of operation, this does not affect availability. Each rack is connected to two completely independent CECC-units to guarantee redundancy.

From The Air CDC the excess heat is directed to a local district heating system.

All the technical systems are separated from the IT areas. The white space has no raised floor. Instead, the upper level of the space is a hot area with all the technical equipment.


Sustainability is important in all aspects of The Air design and operation and it utilizes 100 % renewable energy.

Power supply must be guaranteed at all times. Thus, the Air has a UPS system and Generator guaranteeing the uninterrupted power distribution. The UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) system takes actions if it detects a problem with main supply and instantly switches over to battery backup.

Additionally, each rack is connected to A and B power feeds adding extra level of redundancy.


Security is based on several layers. Security methods can include access card, PIN code, a biometric sensor, mantraps for persons and goods, separate walls, security fencing, gates and road blocks as well as CCTV monitoring.

Access is controlled and granted only to authorized persons.

A Modern Data Center

Today’s data center must satisfy an increasingly complex and ever-changing set of requirements to comply with the broad range of demands set on it. These demands are set not only by the applications but also by the organizations delivering and the end-users using the services. This means, they can be technical in nature, but also for instance environmental or legal. These include e.g. using water-free active fire prevention, utilizing 100% renewable energy and heat reuse. In addition to technical requirements, there are edge requirements, such as location close to users, latency, security and customer service.

The last set of requirements is service portfolio and ecosystem requirements: a wide service range with necessary partners to serve all types and shades of clouds.

Take a virtual tour in The Air

Take a look at youself inside The Air

Cloud Connectivity Made Simple – Megaport Connected


Originally published in in 2019.

Reliable connectivity is the backbone on which cloud strategies are built. As most businesses start to employ multi-cloud approaches to their IT, the need for reliable connectivity between different cloud solutions and services is only increasing. However, there is a disconnect – cloud capacity can be set up easily and quickly, but the connectivity element typically takes far too long and requires a fixed, lengthy commitment.

Ficolo provides customers with services that enable the production of world-class cloud services. Connectivity plays a vital part in this. To enhance our Cloud Delivery service portfolio, Ficolo has partnered with Megaport, a leading Network-as-a-Service (Naas) provider.

With this new partnership, Ficolo’s customers can directly connect to more than 300 service providers on the Megaport Network. With access to a global ecosystem of cloud providers including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Salesforce, and Oracle Cloud, organisations can easily get to the cloud services that power their business. Additionally, Megaport’s Network as a Service solution allows for flexible configuration of connections that can be scaled according to your needs – for instance, more bandwidth when running backups.

Connectivity to clouds and data centers

Cloud infrastructure connectivity doesn’t usually get the consideration it needs compared to the IT side of the cloud but it is an incredibly important part of your network infrastructure, and should form the foundation of your strategy. The choice you make about your connectivity to the cloud, or between data center environments, will determine the outcome of your workload performance, your data flow, and your ability to future-proof your network. Traditional means of connectivity (such as moving traffic across the public internet) is typically unsecure, slow, and resource-heavy. It could take months to provision a connection, and there is very little flexibility when it comes to making changes.

Leveraging Megaport NaaS connectivity, Ficolo customers have the opportunity to design a streamlined multi-cloud network architecture from one platform. Building multiple connections to multiple providers and between multiple regions is easy and almost instant. Managing and altering connections and bandwidth speeds is just as simple.

Via Megaport and Ficolo, customers can not only flexibility connect to cloud providers but also hundreds of data centers around the world. For instance, connecting to a data center in Germany, and then between various metros from there, can be set up easily and then bandwidth can be dialled up and down on demand.

Each provider can be accessed with a private, dedicated connection which negates the security concerns you might have with traditional connectivity and ensure the best possible performance for your traffic. The Megaport NaaS solution provides an agile alternative to traditional networking – and along with Ficolo’s services – creates a well-rounded and scalable approach to cloud strategy.

Multiple benefits

Connecting to cloud services through the public internet doesn’t provide a guaranteed performance, reliability or security and does not support integrating clouds with on-premises systems and solutions Direct connectivity simplifies management, reduces costs and improves performance

Levering the Megaport connectivity has multiple benefits:

Scalable Connectivity: Increase and decrease your bandwidth at any time to suit your business demands.

Flexible Terms: Minimise your financial commitment and avoid lock-in contracts with pay-as-you-need billing. The connection can be set up easily in the Megaport portal and stays valid as long as required, The minimum timeframe for a port is a month.

Real-Time Provisioning: Provision connections in 59 seconds once you are connected to the Megaport network.

Secure and Private Connectivity: Keep your traffic secure on our private redundant network. Your traffic will not transit the public internet

The new partnership will provide Ficolo customers the broadest choice of Megaport enabled locations across Europe, covering all key interconnection hubs.  The network meets stringent security, data sovereignty, and redundancy requirements.  This solution is a perfect fit for those who are designing a multi-cloud approach for their business.