Preventing Data Center Downtime

Preventing Data Center Downtime

Data center downtime can be costly and disruptive

Lee Kirby, Uptime Institute’s executive director, said in summing up the 2018 Global Data Center Survey report, “Outages are costing us more and having greater impact.” Nearly 80% of respondents to the survey indicated their most recent outage could have been prevented. Data center downtime can be costly and disruptive.

There are many factors that can cause data center downtime. The most common cause is human error by lack of training or poor training. Poorly commissioned equipment or equipment that was not properly commissioned during installation is another cause of equipment failure. Often managers lack a maintenance strategy and repairs occur by break/fix events rather than routine preventative maintenance.

Developing A Strategy

Developing a strategy that prevents outages or minimizes their impact is key to the success of the data center. Albireo’s wide array of services provides automation, technology integration and computerization services for mission critical facilities. The company also has capabilities for design, integration, commissioning and maintenance of EPMS (electrical power monitoring system), Remote Monitoring Systems, Facilities Command Centers and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) Systems. Integration of these services into an overall strategy produces excellent outcomes.

EPMS

Albireo takes a different approach by using EPMS (electrical power monitoring system) because it is more of a forensic tool intended to capture data and trigger alarms when there is a problem. A BMS (building management system), which most data centers use for the control and operation of their building’s systems, does not capture historical data. A good EPMS Integration system will display the state of the whole facility at any time using analytical information from key data points.

With a user friendly dashboard that gives needle nose displays of where the loads are, Albireo keeps critical information at your fingertips with a simple to recognize system. When the dial turns red, there’s a problem. The counters show real time loads and navigation buttons are used to easily navigate to various equipment data as needed. EPMS is mostly thought of as an electric only monitoring system, but mechanical system information can be captured as well.

Filtering out the noise

To manage over one hundred thousand data points without alarms going off all day, a good EPMS integrator has to filter out the noise and summarize the data into meaningful points. The Albireo platform uses summary screens that are simple and consolidate multiple data points into graphics that can show on one screen the state of the whole data center. Albireo, as the EPMS integrator, interfaces with the design engineers, the operating engineers, the facility managers and the equipment manufacturers to get a full picture of the daily operation of the data center.

During any project, Albireo has extensive discussion with engineers and operators to define the thresholds and critical alarms for the facility. The company goes beyond the simple solution of setting thresholds defined by the equipment manufacturers by customizing the alarms for the unique parameters required and defined by each data center. Operators receive notifications in any manner preferred such as email, text, sound notifications or visual displays. Again, notifications are customized to the unique needs as defined by the key stakeholders of the data center.

Effectiveness

The effectiveness of the EPMS integration is so powerful that it doesn’t make sense to value engineer it out of any data center management strategy. Often implementing an EPMS is viewed as too complicated or too hard to tie all the equipment into one system. An EPMS system has a much greater level of accuracy and detail, millisecond, time stamping accuracy, which can prevent downtime by indicating proactive measures, or can provide detailed historical information to pinpoint the cause of an abnormality instead of only reporting an actual outage after it occurs.

There are many other benefits to a good EPMS. The EPMS can be up and running during the commissioning of systems to show data such as voltage flow. It can be used in capacity management and planning so that usage and reserves can be identified. Contrary to the common perception that if it is more complicated it must cost more. It is actually cheaper to install an EPMS and at a fraction of the price than it would be to add data points to a BMS, which is not designed for the high volume of data points and will get bogged down.

With over 5,000 installations worldwide, Albireo’s experience is enough to encourage further exploration into what a nationally recognized industry leader can do for your data center. The cost savings in installation, minimization of downtime and simplification of management should encourage you to call for a free consultation as soon as possible.