TZ Limited: SMArt Data Center Protection


Virtualized environments and hosted cloud computing services present new business risks for IT teams and new challenges for data center service providers and operators.The migration to co-located cloud services has driven a need for greater levels of data protection, making it mandatory for IT and security managers to look for new levels of security. Today, the physical protection of IT assets is just as critical as cybersecurity in achieving a data center’s security goals. Unauthorized access to IT infrastructure means breached security protocols and the potential for theft of data assets which ultimately can affect the confidentiality, availability and integrity of information systems and cause massive financial loss, devaluation of a company’s brand and a severely damaged reputation.


Most data centers control physical access through the first five physical security layers–but more often than not, there is limited security where monitoring physical access is most critical–at Layer 6–the data cabinet. Here’s where TZ takes over with its proprietary Internet of Things (IoT) enabling technology. Right where it matters most.

“Today, IoT enables virtually all objects around us to exchange information and work in synergy to significantly improve the efficiency of our businesses, the security of our assets and the quality of our lives,” says TZ Group CEO, John Wilson. “TZ Limited has been at the forefront of the IoT locking technology movement since 2004 with its development of the company’s proprietary SMArt locking and fastening technology.

“Our shape memory alloy (SMA) smart material actuation technology and embedded device processing capability gives our locking devices the ability to sense, process, act and audit activity based on programmable instructions delivered on-line. This means that TZ data center protection systems can track and respond to the behavior of people, things and data through space in real-time right where it matters most – at the cabinet level.”

This deeper level of Layer 6 protection helps data owners and data center managers ensure complete compliance with the growing regulatory framework and physical security mandates like PCI, HIPAA, IRS1075, and Sarbanes-Oxley.


TZ’s two IT Infrastructure Protection Systems – the TZ Centurion and the TZ Praetorian Systems–provide scalable, seamless, and integrated physical data cabinet security into the traditional, broader security networks–with less power consumption, less cost, and complete compliance with data center cabling standards (TIA/EIA) and work practices. Both Systems feature the TZ SlideHandle or TZ SwingHandle intelligent locking devices that can be installed into the vast array of cabinet types, frames and racks found in today’s data centers.

The TZ SMArt locking devices represent a whole new way of actuation using smart materials that do not emit any electro-magnetic fields and consume only a tiny amount of energy to release the locks compared to traditional solenoid electro-magnetic locks.

TZ’s Layer 6 protection helps data owners and data center managers ensure complete compliance with the growing regulatory framework

Because the TZ locks are intelligent, they have their own logic controllers and communications protocol built into them, so they can be networked to create distributed computing right down at the point of device deployment.

We are a leader in integrating our systems with third party systems and this interface can be done very cost effectively through our extensive API library”, says Chris Kelliher, Vice President TZ Infrastructure Protection Systems. “Our TZ SMArt locking devices are compatible with almost every type of cabinet and frame that has a door in the data center environment. We design our products to fit into the explicit requirements of the data center’s structured and unstructured environments where it is typical to secure hundreds and sometimes thousands of cabinet doors. We have developed our two different systems to address different data center needs.”

The TZ Centurion is an IP based access control system that merges software and hardware to truly define “micro-protection.” Built on an open and scalable architecture, the patented decentralized and embedded intelligence within the system locking devices provides an unprecedented level of capability that cannot be readily delivered by conventional systems in terms of the integrity, control, auditability and traceability of discrete assets.

TZ Centurion Server is a device management software platform capable of integrating with other enterprise data-based applications which can, in turn, communicate, manage, and report on all networked bridges, locking devices, sensors, and other third-party components such as readers that reside on the TZ Centurion network. The software delivers centralized and aggregated remote management of multisite TZ Centurion installations.

The TZ Praetorian System has been designed for the needs of data centers and IT professionals to bridge the gap between the perimeter security provided by building access control systems and the requirements for more granular levels of physical protection at cabinet level. The TZ Praetorian System has been designed to work with existing third-party building access control systems so any data center can have all the advantages of TZ SMArt locking devices and get the system up and running very quickly.

“A single swipe of the same ID card used for building access provides timed authorization to selected cabinet doors, together with discrete event monitoring and system access reporting,” states Mr. Kelliher. “The TZ Praetorian System can be retrofitted and scaled to manage any number of enclosures through structured cabling between system components and the access control system. Further, access control across multiple cabinets can be readily managed through the multi-cabinet trigger box that displays real-time door status.”


NEXTDC, Australian’s leading independent data center operator, has a nationwide network of Tier III and Tier IV facilities that provide enterprise-class colocation services to local and international organizations. TZ has been NEXTDC’s physical security partner from the NEXTDC’s onset in 2011, by satisfying NEXTDC’s need to implement a modular system that could grow and evolve as the popularity of cloud computing continued to increase in the Australia and New Zealand markets. Further, NEXTDC required a cabinet-level security solution that was built on an open network, could operate through a web-based interface and could scale and be deployed based on an established infrastructure module.

TZ’s Centurion System was adopted as the implementation platform and deployed at the Brisbane facility, the first of NEXTDC’s six locations to be built and commissioned. TZ also provided the security platform to feed into NEXTDC’s mobile data center management application ONEDC, which was created along with a web-based customer portal to enable full control of the racks throughout the facilities.

"There is a TZ SMArt locking device designed to protect every type of cabinet in the data center environment"

“The technical development capability and responsiveness of the TZ team to meet our needs really differentiated them from the competition,” said then NEXTDC Deputy Chairman Bevan Slattery. “One of the critical drivers in considering the development of our data center facilities is to deliver high quality data center infrastructure solutions and services to our customers, while meeting the efficient management of capital expenditure through the employment of a modular technical fit out design. To us, the TZ solution is the only system that ticks all the boxes.”

The TZ Centurion System has now been successfully deployed across all of NEXTDC’s datacenters with thousands of racks now live,” says Mr. Wilson. “NEXTDC has rapidly cemented its place as the key player in the Australian and New Zealand data center space through its establishment of unique, independent facilities that offer high availability, connectivity, flexibility and most of all– TZ Centurion security.”


TZ is dedicated to providing expert technical support to ensure that its solutions integrate seamlessly with the clients’ enterprise system, fit perfectly with their business objectives, and deliver on their specific environment needs.

“When our clients choose TZ, they’re choosing an end-to-end protection solution. Our global team of experienced engineers can help prepare and design all elements of the TZ infrastructure protection systems, lock mounting, cabling schematics, and system integration,” mentions Mr. Wilson. “Being one of the key players in offering the most cost-effective, cabinet-level locking solution, TZ has carved a unique niche for itself in the data center marketplace and is quickly applying its technology to other markets such as workplaces, retail and healthcare.

“We’ve spent decades in developing underlying technologies, and today we have proven, robust offerings that can work as a single-pane-of-glass for every industry out there. We believe that to maintain a technology leadership position, a company needs to continue investing in building its platform of hardware and software capability, and conquer new business streams that can deliver exponential growth, and at TZ, we are doing just that.”

TZ Limited

Redwood City, CA

John Wilson, Group CEO and Chris Kelliher, VP Infrastructure Protection Systems

TZ’s SMArt™ data center protection systems provide physical security at the Layer 6 cabinet level

TZ Limited