Interview: ‘Our new PAY.ON data centre in London is technology leader in the payment industry’

By Christopher Taine on 4. July 2012 in Inside PAY.ON

With our new central data centre in London, we are establishing one of the most powerful processing hotspots in the payment sector. Decisive in the selection of London as the location is its direct connection to the world’s high-speed data highways. With TelecityGroup, we have one of the most renowned IT infrastructure partners in Europe. Our CIO Christian Bamberger and head of operations Alexander Winkler explain the new set-up.

What does the new central data centre offer in terms of redundancy and high availability?

Christian: The DC London is a high-performance data centre in line with the highest processing requirements. It incorporates all aspects of modern operations and is technological leader in the payment sector. The new global processing hotspot consists of two physically separate ‘Tier 3+’ carrier-neutral data centres with their own redundant supply, including Internet connection to more than five Internet service providers. It is a hot/hot operation, which means that both units process in parallel. All transaction routes to the payment supplier, such as the acquirer, also have a redundant set-up and, like the entire system, are comprehensively controlled via an extensive monitoring process.

The basis of the high availability is the active/active synchronisation between both ‘Tier 3+’ data centres, which are cross-connected via redundant fibre-optic cables. The link with hot/hot and auto-real-time failover ensures service continuity that is secured many times over. The present data centre in Germany serves as final backup. With our concept of interconnected redundant hot spares, we are setting new high availability standards in the payment sector.

What are the advantages of a hot/hot set-up?

Christian: Hot/hot means that traffic is transferred to both units for processing. At the same time, the active/active synchronisation permanently collates the data sets between both units. The advantage is that when it comes to maintenance, one unit takes on all the traffic, just as it would in the event of a failure via auto-real-time failover. Once both units are active again, the active/active synchronisation produces the same data set. This results in failure-free operation 365 days a year.

How is the high availability monitored and safeguarded?

Alexander: Here, too, it is based on active/active synchronisation. To secure high availability, the operation of all system units at the London set-up is controlled by more than 16,000 internal and external monitoring processes. Besides the protection provided by auto-real-time failover between the two units, they also permanently synchronise with our data centre in Germany. In the unlikely event that the worst should happen, we are able to recover the data in real time via Germany and immediately carry on processing. Our data centre network is thus very well set up in matters of high availability.

Scalability is a further important criterion, especially for major clients.

Christian: The entire server architecture in London is completely virtualised. Storage, memory and CPU scaling is possible at all times and can be done without impairing operation from a calculated system capacity of 60 per cent in single-unit operation (maintenance mode). All system units are hot-swap-capable, allowing them to take on the designated functionality automatically when elements have to be replaced or upgraded. Due to the overall flexibility, the entire set-up can therefore be duplicated quickly for major clients for their own use upon request.

What security concept has been developed for the central data centre?

Alexander: The set-up of the new central data centre in London and the entire IT infrastructure environment of the TelecityGroup both meet all international security requirements. The PAY.ON IT infrastructure is certified according to PCI-DSS v2. This includes redundantly installed firewalls in all system connections and extensive anti-virus measures in every interface. Comprehensive intrusion detection and a DDOS mitigation solution is also integrated in order to immediately avert attacks. In addition to PCI-DSS v2, the TelecityGroup data centre is also certified in accordance with ISO 27001 and ISO 9001.

Christopher Taine

About the Author

Christopher TaineView all posts by Christopher Taine
Social Media & PR Manager Spreading the word about PAY.ON's products and services.


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