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From Design to Decommissioning: Why Data Center Operations is Essential at Every Stage

Data centers are the backbone of the modern digital economy, serving as the central hub for storing, processing, and distributing massive amounts of data. As companies and organizations increasingly rely on technology to manage their operations, the importance of data center operations has grown significantly. However, the value of data centers goes beyond their daily function. Properly designing, building, and maintaining a data center can significantly impact its lifespan, cost-efficiency, and environmental impact. In this blog, we will explore why data center operations are essential at every stage of a data center’s life cycle, from design to decommissioning.

Every Stage is Mission Critical

The full lifecycle of a data center requires careful planning, execution, and management to ensure that the facility meets the needs of the organization throughout its lifespan while remaining secure, efficient, and cost-effective.

While specific stages may vary depending on the organization and its needs, but typically include the following.

Planning and Design: This stage involves identifying business needs, determining the scope of the data center project, selecting a location, and designing the physical and technical infrastructure.

Those who bring operations in at the early stages of designing a data center benefit from cost savings and speed to market because it eliminates rework and increases reliability from day one.

The most common reasons to bring operations in during the design of a build or retrofit project are for maintenance, serviceability, and to assess operational risk. Those situations include:

  • Training the operations staff
  • Space planning
  • Energy Procurement
  • Energy Planning
  • Asset location
  • Asset lifecycle strategies
  • Assessing operational risk

Construction and Commissioning: This stage involves building the data center facility, installing equipment, and testing the systems to ensure they are operational.

You can outsource services like:

  • Factory Witness Testing
  • QA/QC
  • Infrared Scanning
  • Load Bank Rentals & Coordination
  • Site Expansion
  • Site Assessment
  • MOP, SOP, EOP Development
  • IT Hardware Installation
  • Construction Security
  • HAC Installation
  • Cage Construction
  • Rack & Stack
  • Post-construction Cleaning

By using an operations services provider for construction and commissioning, you can save money and increase quality because doing it yourself requires significant expertise, resources, and specialized equipment. If you don’t use a data center services provider, you may need to hire multiple contractors and purchase expensive equipment yourself. This could lead to higher costs and lower efficiency compared to a data center services provider that can leverage economies of scale and expertise. Having operations services integrated in this phase will eliminate day 2 changes requiring retrofits, and equipment disruptions.

Day-to-day Facility Operations: This stage involves the ongoing management of the data center, including monitoring and maintaining the physical infrastructure, managing capacity and resources, ensuring high availability and performance, and enforcing security and compliance.

Data centers require ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and management to ensure they operate efficiently and reliably. Common reasons for facility operations services would be for:

  • Remote Hands
  • Facility Management
  • Physical Security
  • Facility Staffing
  • Smart Hands
  • Day Porter
  • Technical Cleaning

Without a data center services provider, you may not have access to the necessary expertise, tools, and resources to proactively identify and resolve issues before they cause downtime. This could lead to increased downtime, which could result in lost revenue, decreased productivity, and damage to your reputation.

For example, when utility power is lost to a data center. A data center services team has Emergency Operating Procedures (EOP) and regularly conducts drills to prepare for these events. They will efficiently respond and seamlessly switch over to backup power and then back again to utility power once it is restored.

Looking to scale? As your business grows and your data center needs change, you may need to scale up or down your infrastructure and services. Without a data center services provider, you may not have the flexibility or scalability to quickly adapt to changing business needs. This could limit your ability to seize new opportunities or respond to changing market conditions.

Upgrades and Maintenance: This stage involves upgrading and maintaining the data center infrastructure to ensure it remains reliable, secure, and efficient. This includes performing regular maintenance, replacing aging equipment, and implementing new technologies.

Comprehensive maintenance and upgrade plans are critical components to maintaining uptime. Data center maintenance experts are commonly used for:

  • Planned preventive maintenance scheduling
  • Asset lifecycle management
  • Risk register maintenance
  • Capital planning
  • Warranty tracking
  • Work order management
  • Vendor management
  • Inventory and critical spare parts management
  • SLA and site health reporting
  • HAC remediation
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Energy management and reporting

Don’t miss out on opportunities for innovation. Data center services providers bring experience from a multitude of other technology platforms and often have access to the latest technology and industry best practices. You may miss out on opportunities to leverage innovative solutions and technologies that could improve the efficiency, reliability, and scalability of your data center.

Migration and Consolidation: This stage involves migrating data and applications to new systems or consolidating multiple data centers into a single facility to optimize resource utilization and improve operational efficiency.

Don’t lose data. During migration and consolidation activities, it’s essential to ensure that data is properly backed up, migrated, and tested to minimize the risk of data loss or corruption. Without a data center services provider, you may not have the necessary expertise or resources to effectively manage data migration and consolidation activities, which could increase the risk of data loss or corruption.

Decommissioning: This stage involves decommissioning the data center when it is no longer needed, which includes securely disposing of data and equipment, removing hazardous materials, and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.

Facility operations providers can support facility managers in getting back to their everyday responsibilities with projects that include:

  • Project planning
  • Asset inventory
  • Chain of custody tracking
  • Unracking/disassembly
  • Cabling mining
  • IT asset disposition
  • Data destruction
  • Pack equipment
  • Ship equipment
  • Asset sales
  • Environmentally compliant recycling

Reduce your carbon footprint. Data center decommissioning activities can involve the disposal of hazardous materials and equipment, which can pose environmental risks and liabilities if not properly managed. Without a data center services provider, you may not have the necessary expertise or resources to efficiently manage hazardous material and equipment disposal, which could result in environmental damage and legal liabilities.

Having a data center operations partner who has a team of experienced professionals specifically skilled in managing the entire lifecycle of your data center is a critical component to success.

Saving Money and Time

Top Tip for Facility Owners with Tenants: By offering premium data center services to tenants with partners like Salute Mission Critical, facility owners can establish a variety of services with their tenants that are highly efficient and an additional revenue stream for these services. By doing so, they can maintain the high level of service their tenants expect while also keeping their own costs down. This allows them to charge their tenants for convenience and increase their profit margin, so everyone wins. This results in significant financial gains for facility owners who use multi-skilled data center operations.

With the global economy changing the landscape of the digital infrastructure industry, the cost of capital and energy are impacting operating expenses. According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute, development costs have increased by 35% over the last three years. It is more important now than ever to equip your facility with a service partner who is committed to helping reduce costs and optimize performance throughout the lifecycle of your data center with customized offerings to support business objectives.

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