Posts by tvergon

Risky business – creating clarity around data center risk

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Facilities Management, Incidents/Downtime | 0 comments

What does it mean to your client when you place a static switch or UPS in bypass? Most clients won’t understand that it means their business is now at the mercy of the utility supplying power. Most clients won’t associate risk with the statement at all — let alone imagine their company on the front page of the Wall Street Journal because of an outage. When you communicate with your client about maintenance or your process, is there any way to know what they really understand? Many years ago when we were running one of our first data centers, we tried to come up with a way to relate what we did in facilities to our clients. Shawn Patrick came up with an idea that we started calling “Level of Readiness.” We rated the risk to our customers based on our equipment and process conditions. Ever since, I have used a very similar idea to communicate to the clients of data centers the level of risk our operations pose to their processes, systems, and business....

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Testing emergency diesel generators

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Up For Discussion | 1 comment

Many critical facilities have emergency diesel generators that are used for back-up power. These generators need to be ready to supply power when the normal source of power is no longer available. To ensure that they are able to do the job as intended, we test them periodically. While some uses are mandated by law as to how often and how they are tested, many locations do not fall under these tight restrictions and, more often than not, other factors such as cost or air-pollution limitations dictate these parameters. When it comes to testing your site’s emergency diesel generators, do you periodically run them loaded or unloaded, or both? What is the “best” method in your opinion, and why? Please share your experiences and best practices with everyone in the comments section below! (Editor’s Note: Comments will be moderated and posted as quickly as...

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Considering a climate change? A primer on raising data center temperatures

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Industry Trends | 1 comment

A number of articles discuss raising the temperature of data center spaces in order to save cost. In many situations, very significant cost savings can be had by doing this – but raising the temperature is only a part of the picture. The act of raising temperature in any space means that the space simply has an overall increase of the enthalpy or total energy. This act by itself does nothing for the thermodynamics of the system. From a data-center-space perspective, regardless of the temperature, the heat energy generated by the servers and equipment must be transported or expelled from the area. It is in this process that you can either make the system efficient or not. Consider the following diagram: In this conventional design, it doesn’t matter what temperature the data center is held at, there still needs to be 100KW of heat removed. This moving of heat energy costs energy. If we have a centrifugal chiller, it takes about 0.6 KW per ton to remove this heat. So if we use this example:...

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How detailed should your procedures be?

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in Up For Discussion | 0 comments

One of the more frequent discussions I have with clients is about the level of detail in their procedures. Some procedures do not supply enough information to complete the task while others are so detailed that they are difficult to use. Many times we do an analysis of the technician’s or user’s level of training and base the level of detail on that. Here are four examples of what I mean: Lowest level:  Inspect the compressor. Low level:  Inspect contact points on the compressor. Mid-level:  Inspect contact points on compressor #2 contactor. Document the results. High level:  Inspect contact points on compressor #2 contactor. Remove the contactor cover and visually inspect the points for arcing, pitting and alignment. Replace, if necessary. Document any findings on the data sheet. Please share your experiences and best practices with everyone in the comments section below: At what level of detail do you write your procedures, and why? Are there better ways to determine the best level of detail?...

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Culture plays a vital role in mission-critical organizations

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Leadership | 0 comments says that “culture” is “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.” But if you examine the process of culture – or how culture works – you find that culture is the set of shared values that drives common behaviors and goals. This is why culture plays a vital role in mission-critical organizations: Your culture is the reason people act and behave the way they do. Mission-critical organizations are differentiated by their performance, which is a reflection of the organization’s culture (behaviors and beliefs or philosophies). The high-performing mission-critical organization values the responsibility, authority, and respect/appreciation that they derive from accomplishing tough jobs. By living the motto “Failure is not an option,” they accomplish goals with a unique perspective. They are extremely risk averse. Not to say that they won’t try to accomplish the impossible or merely tough to do, but rather they will work to mitigate all the risk so that these tasks have the greatest probability of success....

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