Posts made in January, 2012

Reliability-centered maintenance and data centers

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Facilities Management, Incidents/Downtime | 0 comments

Among the popular buzzwords bandied about in the data center industry today is Reliability-Centered Maintenance or RCM.  The term is so prevalent in the industry’s marketing lexicon at this point that it’s hard to tell which companies really understand what it is – or how to do it.  In fact, many people in the industry are unaware that there is a standard by which RCM practices are measured, and a governing body that sets the standard. Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) is an engineering study conducted to determine the best course of action for maintaining a particular system or process.  The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defined the RCM process in their technical standard SAE JA1011, Evaluation Criteria for Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) Processes (1998).  The SAE standard sets out the minimum criteria that must be met before a process can legitimately be called RCM. The standard consists of seven questions that must be answered – and answered in this order – for the process to be called RCM:...

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Ripple effects of lights-out data centers

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Facilities Management, Industry Trends | 0 comments

One of the latest developments in the data center world is operating in a “lights-out” fashion.   This operational model of data centers means simply operating with no on-site personnel.  The model relies on having automated backup systems, redundant data-center assets and/or software to maintain the appearance of 100 percent uptime.  The building itself is protected by its secret, unmarked location, by physical security, and by remote monitoring. So what do lights-out data centers mean to facilities?  How does it affect operations and methods?  What does it mean for our staffing models, spare parts inventories, maintenance programs, and training initiatives? Two Competing Philosophies: Since the data center operates without human presence (hence “lights out”), one of two strategies will emerge as the method for how to achieve the delivery of services:  (1) Either the data center’s capability must be redundant within the overall content delivery/processing network (spare data centers)  or (2) the data center itself must be constructed and engineered in such a manner that it is automatically robust enough to maintain services and operations for most all foreseeable events/situations....

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The crucial role of the facilities manager in mission critical environments (part 2 of 2)

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Facilities Management, Leadership, Training | 1 comment

Last week I described my issues with how the most important roles and responsibilities of the facilities manager are not being addressed or supported by organizations.  This week I look at these roles and responsibilities in more detail and offer my thoughts on how to ensure that your organization integrates them into its operation. To illustrate the problem, let’s look at the hiring process.  It is a common experience to be hired into a company and find that the job description does not resemble the actual job duties.  In fact, I have seen positions where the job description did not exist.  Organizations that do not formalize these important roles and responsibilities through documentation risk hiring someone for the role who may not understand the true role, responsibilities, or priorities of their position.  On the other hand, candidates who understand their roles and responsibilities correctly will encounter frustration if the organization doesn’t share their focus....

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The crucial role of the facilities manager in mission critical environments (part 1 of 2)

Posted by on Jan 6, 2012 in Facilities Management, Leadership | 2 comments

If asked to select one position that is most determinative of success or failure in mission critical environments, I would have to say it would be the facilities manager.  In my opinion, the facilities manager’s role is one of the most critical positions – if not the most critical position – within the mission critical organization.  Let me explain. The facilities manager is responsible for the working environment of your equipment and personnel.  This not only includes the maintenance of power, environment (temperature, air flow, cleanliness, lighting, et cetera.) and safety, but also a myriad of other less visible but incredibly important aspects that affect your organization’s ability to perform.  And whether your product is software, high-tech electronics, pharmaceuticals, or food products, in a very real sense, your FM’s decisions materially affect your organization’s ability to meet customer expectations and to fulfill your legal obligations.  The fate of the organization quite literally rests in your FM’s hands....

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