Posts made in December, 2011

Emergency Procedures: Help or hindrance

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Facilities Management, Incidents/Downtime | 1 comment

Your fire alarm goes off.  The sirens blare, the strobe lights flash, and some sort of mechanized voice keeps informing you that there is a fire and you must go to the nearest exit.  Most of the people in the facility do exactly that – head for the nearest exit.  But what about your facilities staff?  What are they doing? I can see them now, calmly going to the emergency procedure manual, carefully reviewing the index to select the right procedure, then diligently reading and checking off each step in the procedure precisely as they were trained.  Never mind that the two-page procedure incorporates a 4-page checklist that would take an hour to complete, if it were actually up to date.  (Well, maybe you could consider the procedure up to date if you include the five Post-It notes on various pages that add the few minor things that were left out of the original procedure – little reminders like remember to check the power to the backup system and the current facility manager’s correct cell phone number....

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The Future of Data Centers

Posted by on Dec 9, 2011 in Industry Trends, Innovation, Leadership | 0 comments

Everything Evolves I still remember playing with my Commodore VIC 20 and thinking that 3K of memory was plenty.  But of course, within a couple months, 3K of memory wasn’t enough and I was already entertaining the idea of getting a Commodore 64.  While both the VIC 20 and the Commodore 64 hooked to your TV set, the Commodore 64 had color – and it had 64K of usable memory, more memory than I could use in a lifetime – or so I thought.  Nowadays, my watch has more computing power. Data centers have evolved too.  To begin with, computers were housed in “computer rooms.”  These computers were so large that an entire room was dedicated to one computer. As computers evolved, “computer rooms” became “data processing rooms.”  Then entire floors were devoted to data processing.  Gradually, entire facilities became “data centers.”  Now we build server farms as this Facebook data center picture shows. Predictable Patterns...

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Finding your tipping point for the outsourcing decision

Posted by on Dec 2, 2011 in Facilities Management | 0 comments

When it comes to the decision to outsource, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  The questions companies need to ask about outsourcing aren’t universal either.  They are unique to each company’s situation and dependent on the outcomes required.  Generally speaking, outsourcing is a mid-level growth strategy that makes sense in many situations.  But how do you determine when outsourcing makes sense for you? The philosophy of outsourcing is based upon the premise that the provider can either bring services or resources that the company doesn’t have or can perform the service at an overall reduced cost.   Many companies outsource engineering, payroll processing, or benefits administration because they haven’t reached a size where having a full-time staff makes sense.  Is there a point at which the decision to outsource changes? For this discussion, I’m going to use a fictitious data center company to examine the question – talking specifically about facilities operations outsourcing.  Let’s call the company ABC Data Centers.  Let’s assume that this company has two data centers and is building more.  It’s expected to have a total of five by the end of the year.  Both data centers and the company headquarters are currently in the same local metropolitan area, but the three planned data centers are in other metropolitan areas.  The first data center was staffed by a facilities manager that was hired on early in the company’s beginnings....

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