New server environment improves reliability and conserves energy

Work toward relocating FSD’s servers started late last year and finished in early February.

As part of the merger between the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology into the new Tampere University, FSD’s servers were transferred to a data centre hosted by the University. The transfer is also linked to a work package of the project “Active FSD for CESSDA” (TA2022) improving the resilience and durability of FSD’s technical infrastructure.

All FSD services are run in the new server infrastructure; these include, for instance, the FSD website, Penna data collection tool, and Aila Data Service. For the time being, however, Penna and Aila are still located in the old domain. Users of FSD services will not see changes in functionality, but IT Services Manager Matti Heinonen says that the new server environment will bring significant improvements to the reliability of services in the case that problems arise with power supply, network connection or physical devices, for example.

“Size matters in this respect. The University’s IT administration organises these services for other actors within the University anyway. Temperature control, electric supply and preparations in case of malfunction are already in place, and they are more robust than would be possible with FSD’s own resources. We now have a sturdier platform to build our services on.”

The transfer also decreases the expenses of server maintenance as the cost is distributed. Previously FSD used its own server room, and maintenance required FSD to have not only its own physical hardware but also personnel maintaining it. The new server environment is maintained by Tampere University IT administration, so FSD can better concentrate its resources on central functions.

“Maintaining and developing our services is more important to us than maintaining the server platform,” Heinonen says.

In addition, the centralised server solution will conserve a significant amount of energy and thus decrease FSD’s carbon footprint. Systems Specialist Timo Henriksson estimates that the annual energy consumption of FSD servers will decrease by approximately 30,000 kilowatt-hours, in other words 80 percent from the current level.

“The energy saved is about the same as the total annual energy consumption of one and a half electrically heated Finnish detached houses,” Henriksson illustrates.