Maximizing Efficiency & Cutting Costs in Data Centers: Our Top 3 Operations Initiatives

Maximizing Efficiency & Cutting Costs in Data Centers: Our Top 3 Operations Initiatives

By: Lee Kirby & Mike Jones

As you know, operating data centers costs a lot. As costs rise, the short and long-term consequences have begun unfolding. To mitigate rising operating costs, data centers can focus on optimizing their energy efficiency, improving their infrastructure and processes, and exploring alternative approaches.

With the US data center demand forecasting to grow by 10% a year until 2030. The demand is increasing rapidly every day. In fact, by 2025, every person in the developed world will have at least one ‘interaction’ with a data center every 18 seconds of their lifetime.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to reduce costs, risks and energy consumption in your data center. By implementing a few smart operations initiatives, even small data centers can reduce their expenses over time.

To start, the three most significant efficiencies for improving operations strategies can be gained at the site level. The shared key foundational element to all of them is effective training as part of a comprehensive workforce development program. Before you can implement any of these initiatives, you have to have the training in place to be able to execute. The three key initiatives are:

  • Building teams that are cross-trained
  • Using automation and monitoring
  • Self-performing manufacturer maintenance.

Building Cross-Trained Teams

Building cross-trained teams for data center operations is a great way to improve the efficiency and flexibility of your data center. With the advances in technology and re-skilling of site-level resources, the optimal solution is to consolidate these teams into one multi-skilled team of operators rather than the legacy organization that siloes multiple functions from corporate organizations down to the site-level. Here are a few key benefits:

  • Reduced Downtime: Cross-trained teams are better equipped to handle unexpected issues and emergencies, reducing the risk of downtime.
  • Improved Flexibility: Cross-trained team members can be more easily redeployed to different tasks or projects as needed, improving the overall flexibility of the team.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Cross-training promotes collaboration and knowledge-sharing across different functional areas, leading to a more cohesive and effective team.
Strategies for Building Cross-Trained Teams:
  • Identify Key Skills: Identify the key skills and areas of expertise required for your data center operations, and develop training plans to build these skills across the team.
  • Encourage Cross-Training: Encourage team members to cross-train by offering opportunities for professional development and incentivizing participation in cross-functional projects.
  • Share Knowledge: Promote knowledge-sharing by providing access to training materials, hosting internal training sessions, and encouraging team members to share their expertise with others.
  • Assign Cross-Functional Projects: Assign team members to cross-functional projects that require collaboration across different areas of the data center, such as infrastructure upgrades or new technology implementations.

By building cross-trained teams for data center operations, you can improve your team’s efficiency, flexibility, and collaboration, ultimately leading to better performance and cost savings for your data center.

Leveraging Automation and Monitoring Technology 

Data centers can use automation tools to streamline routine tasks such as provisioning, monitoring, and backup management. Automated monitoring systems can also help identify potential issues before they become critical, reducing the risk of downtime and minimizing energy usage. Additionally, implementing energy-efficient practices through automation can lead to cost savings in the long run.

The key is training staff to collect or verify that technology captures the data and build analysis models that review trends and early thresholds that indicate when maintenance should be scheduled and performed. Invest in the systems that will allow you to implement an effective condition-based maintenance program and monitoring with predictive analysis. Once implemented, you should expect savings in maintenance of 20%, parts and consumables costs of 40% as a result and long-life expectancy on equipment.

Self-performing Manufacturer Maintenance

Self-performing manufacturer maintenance for data centers can be an effective strategy for optimizing equipment performance and reducing operating costs. Here are a few key benefits and considerations to keep in mind:

  • Reduced Downtime: Self-performing manufacturer maintenance can help identify and address issues before they lead to equipment failure or downtime, reducing the risk of disruption to data center operations.
  • Improved Performance: Regular maintenance can help optimize equipment performance, ensuring that it operates efficiently and effectively over time.
  • Cost Savings: Self-performing manufacturer maintenance can be more cost-effective than relying on third-party maintenance providers, as it eliminates the need to pay for additional service fees or markups.
Considerations for Self-Performing Manufacturer Maintenance:
  • Training and Expertise: Self-performing manufacturer maintenance requires specialized training and expertise, particularly for complex or high-risk equipment. Ensure that your team has the necessary skills and resources to perform maintenance safely and effectively.
  • Maintenance Schedules: Develop and adhere to a regular maintenance schedule to ensure that all equipment is maintained and serviced on a consistent basis. This can help identify issues early and prevent more significant problems down the line.
  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all maintenance activities, including inspections, repairs, and upgrades. This information can be used to identify trends or recurring issues and can help optimize equipment performance over time.

Overall, these steps drive efficiency and reduce costs for our teams. Share these insights with your teams but also, as technology continues to advance and business needs evolve, continue to evolve to meet the challenges of your facility.

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