In part one, we gained insight into the workings of a data centre and get access to the depths of the Exitra Data Centre located right in the midst of the urban sprawl in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After navigating the lobby, we finally undergo a gauntlet of security checks to enter the inner sanctum of Exitra’s data centre.

Guarding the Gates

After an extensive sign in procedure with security, I was ushered over to the lift before the technician told me to go to level 3A. I pored through the list of floors and thumbed the button. The lift didn’t even so much as budge. He grinned. “The floor is completely sealed off from the rest of the building,” he said. Needless to say, the pizza guy isn’t going to be able to get in here anytime soon for any deliveries. While there is a direct lift heading there, you’ll still need special authorisation to even get the lift to start and it’s remotely controlled elsewhere in the building, not by front desk security. The only time the lift is used is when heavy equipment is being moved in and out and even that is under guard.

He takes me up to the fifth floor instead, one floor above the data centre, through the doors of Exitra, the LGB Group’s data centre arm that manages online web hosting services for both the organisation and other customers as well who are seeking to rent space on Exitra’s data centre or acquire web hosting services.

From there, we go through another authentication process; just in case i’m an evil twin or a murderous robot out to cause the apocalypse presumably before we are finally ushered through the doors of the Exitra data centre. He gestures towards a locked door that lead to a flight of stairs down to where the data centre itself is located.

The short flight of stairs lead us to a silent hall with a thick, reinforced door at the end located up a short ramp. There is no door handle nor any other discernable means of opening it save for a thumbprint and numeric keypad at the end. The door hisses open slowly. Visions of killer zombies or murderous robots lying beyond filled our minds.

Beyond the Door

Fortunately, it wasn’t anything as dramatic or terrifying. Past those doors, i’m greeted by the sight of the data centre manager who, despite the impressive security was remarkably down to earth. Mr. Heng Min Jum, a stout man with a grip like a grizzly shook my hand and eyed me to ensure I wasn’t some interloper and that I matched my ID. Fortunately I was.

The room past the security doors was carpeted in rubber; the same kind – a matte black sheath studded with slightly raised rubber knobs –  you’d usually see at airports on the departure and arrival exists on ramps. Barring that, the room was remarkably spartan, save for a framed signboard showing the Exitra corporate logo on the wall. A silent current of air ran through the room like a fan running at high speed and oddly enough, the air had a tinge of ozone about it.

The question brooked itself but he preempted me. “The multiple layers of security you encountered are a necessary part of operations as the data centre you see before you is built and maintained to Tier 3 and ISO 27001 standards.” He added further that these standards were stringently enforced and that the Exitra data centre’s standards, in particular its adherence to ISO 27001 means that it is of international standards. To wit, it’s the equivalent of a Michelin star for a restaurant. Getting it means you’re in the top tier of data centres on the planet. He gestures at me to remove my shoes: another security measure and also to prevent me zapping the sensitive hardware with an electrostatic shock by accident. He also emphatically repeated to me.”No pictures.” I turn the camera off and stow it in my gear as he lead me further on into the mysteries of what lay within.

Check out part 3 where we finally uncover just what is within the Exitra Data Centre. Missed part 1 where we find out just what the whole affair about data centres is about? Click here.

 

The former editor of T3 Malaysia, Kevin Tan now writes about the latest consumer tech on www.hitechcentury.com