Collaboration key to data center efficiency

  May 19, 2011

This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is to focus on coordination between facility managers and IT to improve data center operations.

Coordination between facility managers and IT can go a long way toward a more efficient data center.

Uptime Institute vice president Rick Schuknecht says the most common disagreement between the two departments is just how reliable a data center has to be. While multiple layers of redundancy are nice, they can be expensive and unnecessary. For example, universities have more time and flexibility to do data maintenance than corporations.

One of the big things that keeps IT and FM from working well together is not working for the same boss. With different departments reporting to different people, it’s hard to have true collaboration on the nuts and bolts challenges of a data center.

One possible solution is regularly conducted joint audits. By working together on a weekly or monthly basis to evaluate how the data center is performing, IT and FM can ensure they are on the same page when issues arise.

Another way to avoid confusion is by establishing a way to track a piece of IT equipment from the moment it comes in the door. Defining responsibility for everything from the installation to the ongoing maintenance of equipment helps streamline the operations of a data center.

By establishing mechanisms to share information, companies can avoid unpleasant surprises. It's still all too common for facilities not to know that IT is bringing in a new server until the day before it arrives. Under a more cooperative culture, facilities would receive such news several weeks before the event so that it could plan accordingly. By changing the way facilities and IT interact, companies can see a big benefit from improved data center operations.


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