The need for cooperation between the facilities and IT departments in ongoing data center maintenance and upgrades isn’t just a good thing. It’s a necessary one. Changes in data center equipment and servers on IT’s part can bring with them increased facility costs – both in energy usage and capital expenditures.
While historically these facility costs fell strictly under the realm of FM, the landscape is changing, and IT is feeling pressure to help control data center energy costs. Today, both departments need to work side-by-side to cost effectively deliver ultimate data center performance and reliability.
This particularly comes into play in developing new data centers. It typically takes between 24 and 36 months to get a data center planned, constructed, and operational, and FMs are looking ahead five to ten years when the data center is being planned. FM’s goal is to build a data center that can last between 15 and 20 years. By contrast, the usual IT technology cycle refreshes every 36 months. With this in mind, IT and facility professionals must work together to create a center that can survive at least four cycle IT technology refreshes, experts say. An integrated design approach can help this happen, requiring FM and IT to work together with common goals. A common budget, rather than having distinct budgets for FM and IT, can help make that a reality.
Successful integration can require compromise on the part of both departments and an understanding of how IT equipment upgrades and specs can affect such things as mechanical systems, electrical infrastructure, and ultimate energy usage. This combined approach can reduce planning chaos and keep all invested parties focused on a common goal — a reliable, efficient and enduring data center that isn’t technologically obsolete in just a few years.
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