Posts made in October, 2012

The maintenance we miss

Posted by on Oct 26, 2012 in Facilities Management, Incidents/Downtime, Leadership, Training | 4 comments

It’s not uncommon for data centers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year maintaining vital equipment.  A typical maintenance budget can run 1 percent to 3 percent of your initial capital investment for each year of operation, and this amount goes up as the equipment ages.  It’s a necessary evil if you expect high levels of reliability in your data center operations.  But curiously, in this industry (and many others, by the way) the budget allocated to maintain their most important asset is usually a mere fraction by comparison. Are maintenance budgets misallocated? It’s well known that human-caused downtime is one of the largest reasons for downtime – if not the largest reason.  It’s just an observation, but oftentimes in my personal experience, I see an allocation of budgeted resources that doesn’t align with what we say is important.  Many budgets look like this: Equipment maintenance budget – $600,000/year Training for technicians budget – $10,000/year (if that)...

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A day in the life of a data center facilities manager

Posted by on Oct 18, 2012 in Facilities Management | 1 comment

Ever wonder what it’s like to be the facilities manager of a major data center?  Here is a “normal” day – but in retrospect, there really is no such thing as a “normal” day for a facilities manager. 0500 – 22 unread emails Somewhere close to 5:00 a.m., thoughts begin to penetrate your slumber. Your eyes open and confirm again that, for you, an alarm clock is not a necessity.  A call comes in from Security as you go about your morning routine, something about a contractor who wants to bring in an employee that is not on the access list.  During this call, the contractor calls you.  Switching between calls, you determine this person really is from a sub-contractor of the contractor and that he is needed to help install a piece of equipment integral to their project.  You acquiesce and give the guard your approval, informing him exactly where this individual is permitted to be and for how long.  Two cell phones, radio, keys, computer bag – cold coffee – and you’re out the door....

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Could cold-air channeling help your data center?

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in Industry Trends, Innovation, Site Improvement | 1 comment

While everyone is trying to save money by controlling energy usage at data centers (the topic has even hit the pages of the New York Times in recent days) what do we do with all the older data centers?  How can we increase efficiency in these sites? One answer is to control the cold air.  While controlling the warm air is also important, it does what it does naturally — rise.  Cold air, on the other hand, needs to be delivered to the proper location for it to do its job. Many of the older data centers were designed with under-raised-floor-cold-air delivery.  The rooms are lined with CRAC units that draw warm air from the overhead area and deliver cold air under the floor to be distributed through perforated tiles. In my experience, you contain the vital resource to the maximum extent possible to minimize losses and conserve it.  So it has always seemed strange to me that designers and engineers have historically chosen to contain the warm air when the vital resource is the cold air.  I would allow the warm air to either escape or have the maximum opportunity to lose some of its energy to the environment so as to work with physics and not against it....

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