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AN OFTEN-OVERLOOKED CRITICAL ELEMENT IN “MISSION CRITICAL”

Posted by CPG’s Ed Meier - SVP, Operations

We hear the phrase “Mission Critical” all the time in our industry and it’s often used to describe a number of different things. Overall, a mission critical system can be defined as a system that is essential to the survival of a business or organization. When a mission critical system fails or is interrupted, business operations are significantly impacted. In the world of data, where speed, security and storage are paramount, even the tiniest interruption can have global consequences. So, ultimately, for data center solutions providers, it means creating specialized facilities designed to operate 7 X 24 X Forever.

Ensuring Uptime in Data Centers Mission Critical facilities, and specifically data centers, are known to be designed and built with ultra-redundant and resilient infrastructure that are continually being improved upon with advanced systems and technologies. Today, DCIM and SCADA are huge growth areas in data center design, and the growth of IoT has solutions providers across the cloud industry looking for innovative ways to ensure scalable growth and iron-clad security. As emerging technologies are unveiled, the complexities of these systems and solutions multiplies at an exponential rate. And, despite all of the automation and advancements, it’s a known fact that as we operate these highly sophisticated facilities, the chance of human error causing an interruption in production “or load loss” greatly increases.

Ensuring the Best Performance from the Most Critical Element Understanding the complexities of the systems to ensure maximum uptime is more critical than ever. And, to do this, we need skilled, trained workers with clear operations and maintenance standards. Right now, the industry is experiencing a lack of talented, experienced, and qualified technicians to work in our facilities. So, ensuring that employees across the industry have the knowledge and support they need and that all services and maintenance activities are performed and completed in a safe and professional manner should be a top priority. 

Mission Critical Operations and Standards This is why it is more important than ever to have a world-class Mission Critical Standards Program in place, and that begins with the creation and adherence to strict change management protocol. This includes but not limited to:

  • Safety Policy (SP)
  • Total Quality Management (TQM)
  • Methods of Procedure (MOP’s)
  • Standard Operating Procedures(SOP’s
  • Emergency Operating Procedures (EOP’s)
  • Administrative Procedures (AP’s )
  • Level of Risk (LOR classifications)

Top-Down Dedication to Supporting the Critical Human Element

Ultimately, people are the most critical element in everything we do and can be our greatest strength. But, none of the change management protocols listed work effectively unless soft skills training and a heightened sense of urgency are part of a company’s culture and are embraced by the entire management and service staff. It is imperative that the company culture supports a robust system for training, operational safety and career advancement. And, it is “mission critical” to ensure employee expertise and workplace satisfaction, which will maximum uptime - and ROI - across all systems in “Mission Critical” facilities.

To learn more about CPG’s Mission Critical Standards Program contact us at:

800-726-9726 or visit www.CPGbeyondthecloud.com

What exactly IS a White Space Fit-Out?

White Space Fit-Out

By Jim Marsh, Vice President, Business Development, CPG

I was recently prepping for a panel discussion for the CAPRE Data Center Summit in Chicago and I decided to sit down with one of our experts, Chad Towner – Critical Infrastructure Solutions (CIS) Architect at CPG, to discuss ideas for the panel. Over the last decade, Chad has changed the way data centers are developed and engineered. He’s deployed large scale, high-performance, critical systems and processes in hyper-scale, enterprise and colocated data centers. “BEST PRACTICES FOR PLANNING AND MANAGING TENANT FIT-OUTS IN WHOLESALE AND COLOCATION DATA CENTERS” is definitely in his wheelhouse.

First, Towner says you must provide clear definitions of what constitutes a white space fit-out. To define it isn’t always easy. In this ever-changing industry not everyone even uses the same terminology when talking about a fit-out: “tenant” in lieu of “white space” and you may hear “upfit” or “build-out” rather than “fit-out”. In the end we are talking about three main areas of deployment:

  1. The electrical power delivery from the base building perimeter Power Distribution Units (PDUs) to the IT racks
  2. Cooling from the base building heat rejection system to remove heat generated by the IT equipment in the racks
  3. Communications connectivity from the data carriers’ Meet Me Room (MMR) to the network switches in the racks.

Simply put, a successful white space fit-out provides a place you can roll racks into with power and communication available on location for plug in. The real work is in the details – what is the solution for today and the future. The options for cooling are many: cooling may be fixed in place in the way of containment or also a simple plug in for more localized heat exchange such as in-row coolers, rack mounted heat exchangers or a number of “direct-to-chip” fluid-based solutions. The cooling and power is what keeps the racks running, so it’s essential to have the right system.

White space fit-outs are essentially prepping ideal space for the rack, but there are instances where the white space fit-out scope will converge with the IT Infrastructure. The CIS team then needs to include the setup and installation of the IT racks themselves including the rack mounted PDUs. This step is often referred to as “Rack & Stack” and may include the loading of the IT gear into the racks if not preloaded by the technology vendors. Full-service companies like CPG have special teams that come in and work on the Rack & Stack.

The key to a truly successful fit-out according to Towner is to get working with clients as early as possible in the planning process. This allows the CIS team to assess how to best affect cost efficiencies based on increasing material volumes. Options include deploying multiple end-user clients in a colocation data center or deploying an end-user client in multiple colocation sites with one or more vendors. It can be a matter of “number of suites” combined with “number of phases,” a build scenario commonly used in Hyperscale data centers. And, the quickly evolving mile-by-mile edge market shows great potential for cost efficiencies and scalability, as well.

Teams like CPG’s CIS team are invaluable in the early stages of development, bringing extensive expertise honed though years of client-side experience. The goal is to get it right from design through commissioning, the first time, on time and on budget. The right result is “no change orders”, and a scalable solution that minimizes stranded capacity and maximizes efficiencies.

If you are ready to start planning your data center fit-out, email me or Chad Towner for a consultation. The sooner you have a CIS expert on your team, the better.