Posts made in February, 2012

Measuring data center efficiency – a facilities manager’s perspective

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in Facilities Management, Site Improvement | 2 comments

Even though we struggle with the concept of data center efficiency, there have been great attempts to evaluate this elusive, magical term. For example, I can measure the energy in and the energy rejected and thereby calculate the amount of energy used. I can even tell how much of this energy was used by the data processing equipment specifically. What I cannot tell, however, is the efficiency of the data center – the ratio of how much work was performed as related to the energy used. I can tell that the data center used 8 megawatts in a month; but since I can’t relate that to the amount of work that was done, I simply can’t measure the data center’s efficiency. The problem stems from how you measure data center “work.” So what does a data center do? If you ask people, you get a myriad of answers. The CFO’s perspective is that it’s the amount of money (revenue – costs) that you get from the operation of the data center. The CIO’s viewpoint is it’s the amount of data that is received, sent, processed, and stored. The engineer looks at it as the amount of total energy used for IT equipment versus that used for other functions. In a sense, they’re all correct. They each have their responsibilities and perspectives about what the data center is supposed to deliver....

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What is the true measure of training?

Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 in Facilities Management, Leadership, Training | 1 comment

Why do we send people to training? What should we expect from a training program? Considering the amount of money spent for training, we should expect results – but what are those results specifically? When I’ve asked these questions of others, I’ve received answers such as knowledge, skills, certification, qualifications and the like. But the true measure of training isn’t the increased knowledge, new skill sets, or additional certifications (though these may be indicators that training has been successful). The true measure of training is in fact determined by measuring how much behavior has changed. Training is used to serve another function as well, the validation of current skills and knowledge. While validation is one of the most used functions of training programs, there are still other, more effective methods to determine this. We’ll examine that a little later. When I send a technician to train on the latest techniques of rebuilding a compressor, I expect that they will return being able to do something they couldn’t do before, e.g., rebuild a compressor using new processes or methods. This new behavior can be measured and observed. If you want to measure how effective your training programs are, you need to observe and measure changes in behavior....

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Leadership’s role in preventing human-caused downtime

Posted by on Feb 10, 2012 in Facilities Management, Incidents/Downtime, Leadership | 0 comments

I’m often asked, “What is the single, most effective thing we as leaders can do to eliminate human-caused downtime?”  My answer is that the leader must be the example and never the exception.  I say that because leaders occupy a very special place in the sociology and group dynamics of an organization.  Consequently, the degree to which their behavior is viewed, scrutinized, and mimicked is amplified, sometimes exponentially. Sir Isaac Newton explained that, in physics, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  When it comes to human behavior, the idea is much the same except the reaction may not be equal or opposite.  We are, after all, a little more complex than inanimate objects.  The concept in human behavior that corresponds to this law of physics is:  If you want to change behavior in an organization, the leadership of the organization must change their behavior. Perhaps an experience I had in the Navy would illustrate what I mean.  I was initially stationed to a submarine that was in overhaul, being basically rebuilt in a shipyard.  We were getting to the end of the overhaul and it was necessary to clean the ship to put it back to fighting condition.  For those of you that are familiar with construction sites, you know that dirt and debris are everywhere.  The same is true for a submarine during overhaul.  We had a big cleaning job to do.  My assignment was to clean the bilges in an area under the diesel generator, one of the worst areas.  I had to put on coveralls, climb under the diesel into the bilges, and clean out all the debris and dirt.  It was a miserable job, to say the least.  I had a helper who climbed under the diesel with me to help out.  We spent a good two hours working under the diesel and found ourselves even joking about the stuff we might find and whether it would be alive or …?...

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Expert opinions….

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in General | 1 comment

Notwithstanding the very serious nature of the work we do, the high standards we must maintain, and the responsibility we have to deliver services day in and day out, it’s good to enjoy the lighter side of life every so often.  So this week, in recognition of the 126th celebration of Groundhog Day – hey, it’s as good as any to celebrate – I thought it fitting to look back at some notable expert opinions. According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather.  Dubbed the Seer of Seers, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil enjoys a perfect record of weather forecasting.  While our ability to prognosticate as accurately may fall somewhat short of perfect, our predictions can sometimes prove just as legendary!  I hope you enjoy…. “I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers.”...

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