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Part 3: Primary Objective Of Data Center Assessment Is To Identify Previously Unknown Risks
By David Boston
May 2014 -
Each data center facility operation is unique, but all have strengths and weaknesses. Remember, the highest assessment objective is to reveal risks that were not previously evident. Sharing assessment results with management will enable the leadership team to effectively address (or accept) each identified risk. Whether your assessment is conducted proactively or reactively, similar benefits will result if the information is effectively employed. For example, equipment upgrades, system configuration changes, added redundancy, capacity expansion, or (in rare cases) a new facility may be justified. And the potential benefits are not limited to the physical facility. The assessment may lead to approval of additional personnel, tools, and processes, sometimes including modifications to reporting structure or task ownership.
Proactive managers periodically assess critical facilities to identify areas where they can improve the potential for continuous operation by reducing or eliminating risks. They demonstrate they are diligently working to prevent interruptions, rather than waiting to prove their team can respond well to a crisis. Assessment-driven improvements (to systems and processes) will directly contribute to your department's ability to achieve multiple years of continuous systems availability. Based on assessments conducted, the industry averages just over one facilities-related downtime event per site per year. The savings to your organization from discovering and correcting a liability before it causes an interruption may easily be measured in millions of dollars.
David Boston serves as director of facility operations solutions for TiePoint Engineering, a firm specializing in the design of mission critical data centers. His previous experience includes the Uptime Institute and its Site Uptime Network, as well as GTE Data Services. He has been responsible for oversight and delivery of more than 150 infrastructure system assessments and dozens of facilities operations assessments. He may be reached at DBoston@TiePoint.com.
The following list covers most of the infrastructure systems common to critical facilities. You should modify it to reflect the specific systems for your site.
[ ] Utilities
[ ] Generator
[ ] Fuel
[ ] Switchgear
[ ] Uninterruptible power supply systems
[ ] Batteries
[ ] Power distribution units (PDUs)
[ ] Remote power panels (RPPs)
[ ] Power distribution
[ ] Motor control centers (MCCs)
[ ] Cooling towers
[ ] Chillers
[ ] Pumps
[ ] Variable frequency drives (VFDs)
[ ] Direct exchange (DX) units
[ ] Glycol
[ ] Heat exchangers
[ ] Computer room air handlers (CRAHs)
[ ] Computer room air conditioners (CRACs)
[ ] Air handling units (AHUs)
[ ] Thermal storage
[ ] Humidifiers
[ ] BAS/BMS
[ ] Emergency power management system (EPMS)
[ ] Fire alarms
[ ] Fire detection
[ ] Fire pumps
[ ] Sprinklers
[ ] Gas suppression
[ ] Leak detection
[ ] Raised floors
Part 1: Data Center Assessment Can Prevent Downtime By Identifying Weak Spots In Design, Equipment, And Operations
Part 2: Look For Critical Facilities Design Experience, Knowledge When Choosing A Data Center Assessment Team