When the cost of data center downtime averages nearly $9,000 per minute, avoiding such an event is the first and most obvious way to save money. However, here are four ways to save that help your organization avoid downtime while also optimizing performance.
1. Commission Your Facility
Increasingly complex systems and assemblies mean more opportunities for problems that could lead to costly outages for your facility. Commissioning (Cx) helps identify and correct the major culprits behind failures such as design, installation, and startup deficiencies. To further maximize availability, Cx verifies and documents that all critical systems — power, cooling, and building automation — function together as a fully integrated system.
Cx also helps to reduce the lifecycle costs of the facility. The Cx process improves system operation while providing benchmarking data that can be used to maintain optimal performance. When systems are optimized, they’re not only more reliable; they are more efficient, too. Cx activities can verify proper functionality of specific efficiency features that are part of the system design.
A commissioned data center often experiences fewer delays than seen with traditional deployment, making it more likely to be delivered on time and on budget. You will not only be able to see returns on your capital investment faster, you’ll also see lower operation and maintenance costs throughout the lifecycle of your facility.
2. Optimize Electrical System Performance
Assessing your electrical system can uncover areas for improvement that can help you manage significant challenges in your data center such as increased availability expectations, moves or consolidations, increased power and heat density, and regulatory compliance.
By evaluating your full electrical equipment inventory, you can identify defective components and connections before they cause business disruption, as well as identify gaps in equipment maintenance. Additionally, engineering services such as short circuit and coordination studies or arc flash studies can be used to improve workplace safety and ensure compliance.
A work environment that complies with all applicable standards not only helps you avoid fines and penalties from groups like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), but it minimizes threats that can lead to costly equipment damage and productivity losses.
Ultimately, electrical system assessments allow for detailed analysis that leads to recommended corrective actions and risk mitigation strategies, which help you cost-effectively improve the reliability and availability of your data center.
3. Improve Thermal Efficiency
An updated approach to thermal management can cut energy costs and improve efficiency. In a typical data center, cooling accounts for 38 percent of total energy consumption. So if you want to make an impact on energy usage, focusing on your cooling system can provide a speedy return on investment.
By pinpointing and correcting issues like hot spots and airflow problems, you take an important first step in reducing your energy draw. From there, you can implement variable speed technologies and intelligent controls to realize further efficiency improvements. These technologies are available as upgrades to your existing equipment.
With variable speed technologies, such as electrically commutated (EC) fans and variable speed drives (VSDs), you can vary the speed of your existing cooling unit fans to better match cooling to IT load. When you reduce fan speed, you stop spending energy on overcooling that your IT equipment doesn’t need. By adding intelligent controls, you can network your cooling units to work together as a team. This eliminates situations where units “fight” each other, with one unit cooling while another reheats.
Correcting situations that waste energy and using only the energy you need to ensure critical system availability can dramatically reduce your energy costs without impacting availability.
4. Safeguard Your Emergency Power System
The impact of a power system failure is far reaching when considering potential damage to data and equipment, business disruption, remediation costs, legal ramifications, and damage to your brand and reputation. In a 2016 study conducted by Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data center outage was more than $740,000 with the maximum cost rising to more than $2.4 million. Avoiding these significant costs is a simple matter of prevention.
A regular preventive maintenance program performed by expert technicians is the key to ensuring maximum reliability of data center equipment including batteries, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, and power distribution. In fact, in a study that included analysis of more than 185 million UPS operating hours, reliability of the unit as measured by mean time between failures (MTBF) increased as the number of annual preventive maintenance visits increased.
System issues that are just beginning to appear are detected through regular preventive maintenance. This systematic inspection and analysis allows you to correct these issues, ensuring you have emergency power when you need it and helping you avoid costly, unplanned downtime.
Learn more about critical data center services and the benefits of having an experienced service partner at VertivCo.com/Services.
About the author
Tom Nation is vice president and general manager of power system services for Vertiv in North America. Tom joined the company in 2011 and has more than 20 years of experience with managing technical service teams that help businesses increase the availability and performance of their critical electrical infrastructure for data centers, communication networks, and commercial and industrial facilities. Tom is a member of several professional organizations including the InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), and National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).