When the cost of data centre 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 organisation avoid downtime
while also optimising 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 start-up deficiencies. To further maximise
availability, Cx verifies and documents that all critical systems — power,
cooling, and building automation — function together as a fully integrated
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 optimised, 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
A commissioned data centre 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. Optimise Electrical System Performance
Assessing your electrical system can uncover areas for improvement that
can help you manage significant challenges in your data centre 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 but it minimises 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 centre.
3. Improve Thermal Efficiency
An updated approach to thermal management can cut energy costs and
improve efficiency. In a typical data centre, 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 realise 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
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 centre 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 centre 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.