– Stefan Jern, CEO of Flexenclosure (www.flexenclosure.com), says:
A WELL DEFINED PROJECT AND A TURNKEY PARTNER IS ESSENTIAL.
One of the biggest challenges for data centre and IT managers is to secure a process for the sourcing, and to whom to give the responsibility for building the data centre.
When building a data center, one may believe that somebody can do the design, somebody can build parts of the solutions and a third party may do installations. However, without deep knowledge of the complete solution, the design will not be optimal. On the contrary, there are clear risks for project delays, cost escalations and other problems.
The conclusion is that somebody with experience and knowledge of the all the components and services need to lead that kind of project for it to be successful. The project needs to be well defined, and there must be an experienced turnkey partner in charge who can handle all the phases, from design all through construction, installation, commissioning, project execution and handover.
IT and data center managers have a plethora of suppliers to choose from when sourcing a new data center. There are many players but not that many with long experience. My advice to a data centre manager would be to always check the track record of the supplier.
When it comes to the timeline, a proximal project time from order to commissioning and acceptance test on site should not be longer than 26-30 weeks. Depending on the size of the scope it could be done in as little as 20 weeks. That should be the objective.
The choice should not be made entirely on the cost on the paper, but also what the cost will be in the long term. Is the solution energy efficient and what will be my total cost of ownership? Is the design optimal for my needs and are there risks in the time plan? A pre-fabricated solution will provide a reliable solution and very short time to market while a turnkey solution from an experienced supplier will give security and low project risk.
Choose a turnkey provider that will take all aspects in to account – all the way from choosing the right energy efficient component to the design of the cooling system. A modular design is preferred. There needs to be predictability in terms of time plan, quality and customer satisfaction.
Why look for “right quality”? The answer is to mainly reduce the risks for power failure or other risk factors for sensitive equipment. The optimal choice in this regards is pre-fabricated modules that are factory built and fully equipped in a secure environment. That will both reduce the time for the data centre to be built, minimize the long term cost.
A very important aspect of a data centre and its total cost of ownership is the energy efficiency, which will have a huge impact over time. Green data centers are already a concept. However, there is more to be done in regards to developing data centers with operating expenses (OPEX) and total cost of ownership (TCO) in mind. Means for this are energy efficiency throughout the solution as well as introducing renewable energy sources also for data centers.
Finally, some advice on maintenance: To avoid operational interruptions of the switching station and to get the operations up and running as quickly as possible after a temporary breakdown, the supplier should offer proactive and reactive support.
To facilitate the problem analysis during incidents, the supplier should offer support through remote access, e.g. for the following sub systems: access system, CCTV system and control system. For the other sub-systems, such as cooling system, fire fighting system, UPS and AVR, there should be telephone support.
Some sub-systems need maintenance more than once a year; one example is the cooling system. The supplier often assists with this in close cooperation with the client, since the customer normally has some own sort of facility management, either through an internal department or through an external partner.
Replacement of vital parts of the equipment is necessary to remain in operation. In this respect, you should expect from your supplier that they will advise you how to procure the right amount of the vital parts that you need, with instructions for replacement of vital parts that could be troublesome to get correctly installed.
By Stefan Jern, CEO, Flexenclosure (www.flexenclosure.com), a Swedish supplier of green power management solutions and pre-fabricated modular data and energy centres.