Data Center Life After Commissioning

    Many people think: they built a data center, and the job is done. In fact, only after that the everyday solution of a large and complex task begins - the operation of the data center.

    The main problems that arise when managing the operation of the data center are ensuring trouble-free operation and reducing operating costs without compromising reliability.

    A competent solution to both the first and second tasks is determined by the framework of the data center operation program. From time to time, there is talk in the industry that a uniform operation program should be adopted for proper operation. And it certainly should be. But as for the single ... The filling is different at different facilities, therefore the programs for different data centers will differ. In any case, when the site is certified by the Uptime Institute for operational stability, each object is considered individually. Instructions for IT professionals will be the same everywhere, but for personnel servicing engineering equipment, both technical and emergency regulations will be different.

    By the way, having an operating program is also important from the point of view of the company's reputation: at least, customers are looking at it. And there is a reason for this: if the instructions are worked out, then there is hope that they will be followed. But if there are no instructions, nobody will follow them for sure.

    The number of problems during the operation phase can be significantly reduced if the conceptual design of such a program is developed in parallel with the design phase, and the design and operation departments will work side by side . At the very least, this will avoid errors associated with the inconvenience of servicing individual components of the data center.

    In theory, independent examination helps to reduce errors, but for this an independent expert must be an Expert. Unfortunately, anyone calls himself an expert today ... In fact, a real Expert can only be a person who has his own experience in building a data center, and preferably not one, but at least ten. But there are no such specialists in Russia yet.

    Many rely on certification. Uptime Institute certification really filters out errors in projects, but mostly only gross ones. So the operating rules are first developed, and then supplemented taking into account those errors that were identified and corrected during operation. Therefore, the operating program must be constantly updated . These documents are not born from scratch - they accumulate the experience of staff at a real facility.

    We put the data center "on the wing"

    The industry of data centers is currently actively searching for approaches and discussing various options for establishing operating standards, including development from scratch, partial borrowing from other areas of activity, and adaptation of foreign practices.

    At key conferences on data center topics, examples have already been given of solving the problem of operating management based on borrowing from other industry practices. In particular, from the practice of the aviation industry, an example for the data center industry can be detailed programs for the operation and maintenance of aircraft. This is a good example of standardization of processes where it is impossible to fully provide operation and maintenance on their own:elaboration of interaction processes with a huge list of suppliers ...

    Of course, a 100% analogy cannot be drawn: the operational management program in the aviation field is redundant. In aviation, there are several thousand industry standards and various methods are provided, including an instruction manual for certain types of equipment. In the data center, the scale of operation processes is not so large.

    But in general, the task of managing the operation is similar for different industries, so you can not invent methods for regulating the activity of the data center, but try to adapt the approaches used in other industries for the needs of the data center.

    Actual Service

    One of the most interesting trends of today in the field of operating data centers is the use of a state forecasting system. This is due to the fact that traditional systems for servicing production facilities according to planned indicators are becoming very ineffective due to their high cost. Therefore, in recent years there has been a tendency to manage reliability and maintenance by the actual state , when all repair work and maintenance work are carried out depending on the state of the system.

    In traditional practice, routine maintenance is carried out regardless of the state of the equipment. In the management of the actual state, if the time has come for the maintenance of the system, but it is in perfect order, a reasonable decision is made to continue operation.

    When Rolls-Royce puts its turbines on jet planes, a huge amount of information is collected from the sensors. Having such a volume of data, it is possible to predict with high accuracy the probability of engine failure. This method allows you to anticipate the onset of an undesirable situation for several tens to hundreds of hours, putting the problematic elements for maintenance.

    Of course, comprehensive and quality monitoring is important for this approach.. If available, maintenance is not done when it is supposed to, but when it is really required. Because any production engineer is interested in playing safe and repairing as much as possible, if only nothing goes wrong. The same problem, for example, exists in the electrical industry: a lot of money is “buried” in new construction sites, in maintenance - reliability is growing, but, on the other hand, a lot of money is thrown into the wind.

    The monitoring system for the operation of the actual state implies a large number of monitoring systems - depending on how long the facility was built. The need for scheduled repairs in actual condition can reduce the number of repairs by several times . This is a huge potential for savings., especially in large data centers.

    Alexei Soldatov, CEO of DataPro

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