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Datacentre Peer Review

by John Herbert | Director

There are several options to procure your datacentre facility, there are three primary routes namely self-built, hotel, or partnership. Within each option they are variations on a theme, but these represent the majority of tried and tested options.

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With the increasing complexities of modern datacentre facilities one tool to assist making informed judgements is the design stage Peer Review, is an important and often overlooked validation of the design before construction commences.

Designing a datacentre to operate at day one overlooks the real life operational problems datacentre managers face for the lifetime of the facility. A Peer Review is a technical analysis of the design drawings and specifications conducted to identify potential deficiencies, at the design stage or bidding stage, where error on paper are simple to rectify correct.


Standards and Certification

Although classification systems do exist, presently there is no universally accepted, definitive standard for datacentre operation.

The Uptime Institute in USA (www.uptime.org) created the Tier I-IV classification but that system focuses solely on the hardware, not more practical operational issues.

Today it is widely recognised, and whilst many in the industry argue it is incomplete at least provides a common language for datacentre infrastructure, and that is a positive step forward.

TAI 942 follows a similar if not identical format as that of the Uptime Institute.


Trust but Validate

It is timely to mention a simple philosophy - trust but validate. When procuring a datacentre facility, ask for a copy of an independent validation report, just because it states Tier III in the owners literature does not mean it is reality Tier III facility.


Facilities

Essentially the critical issue for management is business continuity, and from that stems the reliance on hardware, software and the facility infrastructure. But one word in any context, causes headaches and sleepless nights - downtime.

avoid data centre downtime - Kelcroft data centre consultants

Whichever procurement method is chosen, if the facility E&M infrastructure fails, no matter the reason, the cost both financially and business wise are difficult to accept.
 

There are several opinions on the real cost of downtime, and it would varies by sector to sector, but often US$ 1 million per hour for a financial institution is cited. Perhaps more depending on which way the market is moving at the time. Notwithstanding the exact value of the loss, and the cost of additional resources to handle an incident, and the post-mortem - downtime is never desirable or cheap.

One method many organisations chose to mitigate the risk - an infrastructure audit.

Image driving your car year in, year out, and expressing surprise when it breaks down, often at an very inconvenient time. For vehicles there is a mandatory annual inspection, yet the datacentre infrastructure often escapes attention until it is too late, downtime hits operations hard.

A datacentre project is not like other projects, they evolve over time with the equipment regularly refreshed, and a few years after opening bears will resemblance to the original.
avoiding datacentre downtime :: Kelcroft datacentre consultants

New technology including blade servers and the like conspire to defeat the existing infrastructure pressing increasing loads in an environment that was perhaps designed many years before.

So how can IT managers avoid downtime? an annual health check or audit is essential to manage the risk. After a failure it is too late, and the first question arises when was checkup.


Risk

An audit helps you manage the risk, a fresh pair of eyes can point out simple fixes to potential downtime.

Kelcroft datacentre solutions - avoid datacentre downtime

The Uptime Institute (USA), creators of the datacentre Tier I-IV classification recommend an annual infrastructure audit.


Further Information

If you need any further information regarding Kelcroft's datacentre consultancy solutions, including data centre, planning, design, peer review, annual auditing, due diligence and thermal analysis contact the experts, call John Herbert at our Hong Kong office, the telephone number is (852) 2335 9830, the fax number is (852) 2335 9862, or simply email us.


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