With its all-new data center, RATP is looking to the future

RATP’s ultra-modern data center in Bagneux (France) is well in step with the modernization and future development of one of the global leaders in multimodal urban transport. Legrand Data Center Solutions supports the transport operator in its development, both in France and internationally.

The French State has identified RATP as an Operator of Critical Infrastructures (OCI) exercising essential activities for the national population. RATP uses three data centers to host its applications and to safeguard sensitive data. The newest of these (located in Bagneux, Hauts-de-Seine) was commissioned in 2019 – having been constructed to ultimately replace the original data center situated in Neuilly Plaisance (Seine-Saint-Denis). With a 1,000 m2 surface area dedicated to IT hosting, this TIER3 compliant data center (99.982% availability) hosts the applications associated with operating the RER, Metro, tramway and bus transport networks, as Rachid Mounaim (Head of IT urbanization activity and data center operations) explains. “Our needs are increasing, particularly in terms of the network’s performance and reliability for processing and storing video data from some 30,000 video-surveillance cameras installed in the Ile-de-France region. We also host the audio-visual material used to exchange information between passengers, the CCR and the trains. The RATP websites and mobile apps but also our internal mobile digital radio communication system, TETRA. The tools for ERP and metro line automation are also centralized here. We opted to establish our own data centers in order to retain full control over our processes, our information systems and the security of our data. Our target ahead of 2021 is to centralize our information systems across our two latest-generation data centers, one primary and one secondary. This will result in redundancy for our applications and critical systems, which in turn will ensure optimum continuity of service.”


Managing 192 dual cabinets – the equivalent of almost 400 42U cabinets – the Bagneux data center installation also offers redundancy for the electrical and cooling equipment. Inverters, together with three generators, are used to take over from the ENEDIS power network when required – in order to guarantee 24-hour operation. An absolute necessity in this case, given that the RATP Big Data must also be capable of gathering and analyzing billions of data items continually in order to anticipate predictive maintenance tasks and also to offer targeted information to passengers. The IoT, data lake and internal cloud are also among the infrastructures hosted in this new data center. “We opted for custom-made Minkels dual cabinets equipped with Legrand PDUs in order to free up space for distribution and network interconnection (LAN&SAN) for our servers, and also to provide better workplace comfort for our technicians. With the Minkels modular design, we are able to integrate other branded products into its cabinets and aisle containment”, outlines Mounaim. Worth noting that this highly efficient, ultra-modern installation – a real data factory – has a total power of 2.5 MW with a long-term objective to reduce the PUE to 1.3 at 100% load.


Construction of the site was scheduled over 24 months, and was made particularly challenging by having the Minkels cabinets fitted during the works phase in order to remain on schedule. “I did value the ability of Legrand Data Center Solutions to supply us with hundreds of custom-made cabinets as and when the works progressed. They were able to show flexibility in accommodating our needs. Thanks to their responsiveness, we were able to keep to a rather tight schedule. They know how to manage the industrialization and installation of these types of configured products seamlessly”, praises Mounaim. Well ahead of the construction works starting, the Legrand teams supplied RATP with a mock-up cabinet and PDU which were tested in order to validate the solution. A project manager from Legrand Data Center Solutions provided designs for the cabinets and coordinated all the technical and logistical aspects on site.


Minkels also succeeded in winning over the investor with its airflow management know-how. The cooling for the data center is provided by a cooling system linked to an air handling unit (AHU). Ultimately, the hot air produced by the servers will be used to provide some of the heating at the maintenance center of an RATP metro line close to the data center. The urbanization project is comprised of 24 corridors. “The tightly sealed front panel of the Minkels cabinets allows us to optimize airflow and regulate the air conditioning using the differential pressure calculation (delta P), which is a big plus”, explains Christian Dubut, Data Center Manager at RATP.


To guarantee secure access to the cabinets, they feature secure systems incorporating smart locks and badge readers. The teams at Legrand have worked alongside those at RATP to make these access controls compatible with the access control system developed and managed by RATP. “For us, working with Legrand Data Center Solutions was the obvious choice because we’d already been using their products and systems since 2011 in our second data center in Paris. Our decision to choose Legrand Data Center Solutions on this occasion was based largely on their highly developed technical experience, together with the support they provide for the deployment phase. Having a dedicated contact person also made communication and trust easier”, concludes Mounaim.

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