Posts by tvergon

What regulations govern data center operations?

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Facilities Management, Training | 1 comment

What Regulations Govern Data Center Operations? In the United States, various codes and regulations protect the environment and keep workers safe. There are several types of environmental compliance requirements that pertain specifically to data center operations, each requirement varying based on the size and type of data center involved. But unfortunately, data center managers can become so focused on what it takes to ensure uptime that these environmental and health and safety compliance requirements can get overlooked. There are fines for noncompliance that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars and, in certain circumstances, a manager can be held personally liable for a violation. Environmental regulations common to data center operations One environmental regulation applies to diesel fuel storage. If you store diesel fuel for your emergency generators in excess of 1,320 gallons, you are required to perform an evaluation to determine if your data center falls under Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. The plan includes spill prevention and cleanup procedures, inspection protocols, recordkeeping, and training and may require that a professional engineer, or PE, sign off on the plan....

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Mission critical training: Are you certified or qualified?

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Training | 1 comment

How do you certify or qualify someone to work in your data center? Do you administer classes, give them a written examination, question them in front of a panel of experts, or review their experience and call it good? I see it on resumes and applications, “qualified data center technician” or “certified data center technician or engineer.”  And when I see that, I always ask, “How did you get qualified? Who certified you?” A combination of experience over the years and a certificate given by the employer (who in reality doesn’t have an accredited program) is usually offered as the answer. I see a definite need for legitimate certification and qualification processes; but before I go further, let me explain how I use the terms “certification” and “qualification.” Certification: A process through which a person’s level of knowledge and skill at a certain level has been validated through accepted, repeatable examination and testing. Qualification: A process through which a person demonstrates repeatable success in the operation and response to a facility’s equipment and systems....

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The vanadium redox flow battery

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 in Facilities Management, Industry Trends, Innovation, Site Improvement | 0 comments

If you’re like me, you’ve had to deal with a few batteries in your career. It’s usually one of the weak links in mission-critical environments; and consequently, we find ourselves obsessing over battery condition, life expectancy, and failure rates quite often. We can literally spend millions of dollars each year due to failed cells or end-of-life replacements. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to deal with that – or even to worry about it? I have recently (with some excitement, I might add) been investigating vanadium redox flow batteries. These systems use fluids — or more precisely, electrolytes — to store energy. I’m not going to get technical in this post; but if you want to know more today, here’s a Wikipedia link. How the battery works Basically, there are two tanks of electrolyte with a membrane in a frame between the two.  The two electrolytes set up a potential across the membrane that allows for the flow of electrons....

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The repair or replace decision – one methodology

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Facilities Management, Site Improvement | 0 comments

When I was a facilities manager (FM), I had to make decisions around whether to repair or replace a facility asset (chiller, reverse osmosis unit, UPS, etc.). Some of these decisions I was authorized to make alone, but others had to go up the chain of command for higher-level approvals. Regardless of who ultimately made the decision, I had to be able to justify the repair or the replacement. The decision to repair or replace Like many FMs, a part of me just wanted new equipment because I had the perception that newer equipment would give me fewer headaches. Another part of me was driven by the need to reach the goal of having no failures and the perception that newer equipment would have less chance of failure. (Besides, new equipment is just cool.) In reality, as the facilities manager, I was working for companies that needed to make a profit or were held to some financial requirement and it drove me to build a decision framework that aligned with their financial goals. While I hoped company leaders would understand the language of engineering — and some did — it was more often the case that they understood the world in terms of finance, which required me to put the justification in financial terms....

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Creating innovation

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Innovation, Leadership | 0 comments

We constantly see magazine articles, blogs, and books that profess methodologies for creating innovation in organizations. I’m here to tell you that innovation doesn’t have to be created. It’s always been there. People are natural problem-solvers. It’s in our nature. We look at our situation, we look at what we have, and we naturally try to come up with a solution. Sometimes in this quest to solve problems, we innovate – we come up with something new. Where does the “new” come from? According to Plato, necessity is the mother of invention, and I have to agree. When we’re faced with a need, our brains try lots of different scenarios to come up with a viable solution. Sometimes we link previous experiences with our current situation and come up with something entirely new. For example, working in the patent office in Bern, Switzerland, Albert Einstein was exposed to questions related to the synchronization of time which led to thought experimentation and eventually to his theory of relativity....

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