I suppose not very many would think of data centers as being alive per se. Maybe some of those 2nd shift facility operators might as they walk their lonely, contained cold aisles (or hot…both equally effective in separating air streams and creepy) late at night, I dunno…maybe, right? But anyway, whether you or I think it’s alive or not isn’t the point here, of course. From a customer problem-solving, solution offer perspective, Schneider Electric views our customers’ data centers in the context of a life cycle. A data center is conceived, born, tested, matured, and eventually gets too old to maintain its original design intent. Effective planning and maintenance can delay its inevitable death and make it less painful for those left behind. But we can do better than this. We believe it is important for owners and management also to think of their facilities in this context of a full life cycle: plan, design, build, operate, and assess (and eventually de-commission). As with any human being; poor planning, bad design, a lack of testing and learning, poor maintenance and neglect can turn your data center into something analogous to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein: a horribly misunderstood and grotesque creature that could’ve been so much more if only it had experienced a little human grace, love, and patience. So don’t be the Dr. Frankenstein of your facility.
White paper 195, “Fundamentals of Managing the Data Center Life Cycle for Owners” describes what happens in each of the life cycle phases. The principal actors and their key roles in each of the phases are defined. We talk about the key inputs, outputs, and tasks that owners and their teams should focus on to help make their projects go more quickly, smoothly, efficiently, and be more predictable. The paper also offers practical advice that helps avoid common pitfalls that undermines projects and ultimately the facilities built by them. A strong and effective framework for an operations & maintenance program is also described that is built on many decades of diverse facility operations and management experience. Finally, life cycle-oriented services are introduced and described briefly. We all need help sometimes. I’m not going to say “it takes a village”, but, hey, even Dr. Frankenstein had Igor. 3rd party services can be an effective means to close knowledge and resource gaps, as well as enable you to benefit from the great experience of others all saving you time, effort, and money in the long run.
Embracing the content in this paper will give you and your teams a great start in creating and maintaining an effective and efficient facility that has a long and useful operating life span.