Data center commissioning is a process by which an unbiased evaluation can be given regarding the operational prospects of a newly constructed data center. In essence, data center commissioning provides insurance that a data center design/build project will be successful.
By reviewing and testing a data center’s physical infrastructure design as a holistic system, a commissioning can determine whether a data center will meet an enterprise’s business requirements, which really is the whole point of the data center.
Beyond testing the data center’s operational ability, the commissioning process results in the creation of documentation that is critical to maintaining and understanding a data center.
All of the above, of course, is contingent upon the effectiveness of the data center commissioning. Not surprisingly, data center commissionings can go awry, leading to faulty testing, faulty documentation and, eventually, a dysfunctional data center.
Among the errors to avoid when commissioning a data center are these three.
1. Failure to hire a commissioning agent early in the process.
This one’s all about procrastination, which is the last thing you need when planning and building a system that is supposed to be the brain center of your enterprise.
Getting a commissioning agent involved early on – and we mean weeks or months before the data center is constructed – is critical to ensuring both a well-planned data center and framework for testing. It also allows for adequate coordination of the many vendors involved in providing components of the data center.
Guess what happens if you wait until the last minute to hire a commissioning agent? Chaos, stress, confusion — and potential disaster in the form of data center downtime in the future. This is costly in a number of ways: Not only might your enterprise lose revenue, it may have to pay for new equipment, as well as installation and service costs. And if you’re the person who was supposed to ensure the operability of the data center, procrastination in hiring a commissioning agent may cost you your job.
2. Failure to align with current technology
Lining up an independent commissioning agent early in the process is great, but it will do little good if the agent uses outmoded testing procedures.
If your data center is going to be using the latest and greatest technology, you need a commissioner who uses tests appropriate for your system components and operations. Using the wrong testing procedures is no better than not testing at all. The consequence once the data center goes live is system failure and, if a recommissioning is deemed necessary, added delays and expense.
3. Failure to avoid budget cuts
It’s the rare enterprise project that doesn’t eventually run into cost-cutting pressures and, critical as they are, data centers are no different.
One of the most tempting targets for cost-cutting is the commissioning process, especially if a deadline for bringing the data center online looms and the original schedule didn’t include time for testing.
Of course, the commissioning process should have been included in the schedule. But even if it was, you may face pressure to force the commissioner to curtail testing (and collect a smaller check).
Don’t give in to this pressure. Doing a commissioning rush job will introduce human error and inadequate documentation. Then, long after your enterprise saved a few dollars on a data center commissioner, it will pay infinitely more in downtime and equipment replacement expenditures.
Learn about more errors to avoid when commissioning a data center in this APC by Scheider Electric white paper.