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The peculiarities of high-availability Data Center design on a cruise ship

Dateline: 6 Jul 2017

While watching the sun disappear below the horizon or stargazing at night from the deck are the staples of a cruise experience, vacationers also want to watch movies on-demand or browse the internet while in their cabins.


Much like a big hotel, a cruise ship usually has a data center onboard to provide digital services. While a data center on a ship is similar to one in a hotel – both have servers, storage, and networking gear to run software – there are some differences.


Cruise ships are mobile, speeding toward their next port of call in the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean coast or the Canary Islands, and ensuring service availability means both primary and backup data center is usually on the same vessel, not miles apart.


That’s the design the German IT services provider BSH IT Solutions implemented aboard six vessels operated by TUI Cruises, a Hamburg-based joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.


Niels Heider, project manager at BSH, and his team installed primary and backup data centers in separate fire zones and on different decks. One data center is located in the bow of the ship, while the other is on the stern, he told Data Center Knowledge in an interview.


“It’s the same. Ships are the same as a hotel,” he said. “It’s nothing special.”


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