Home' Facility Perspectives : Vol 11 No 4 Contents FACILITY PERSPECTIVES | VOLUME 11 NUMBER 4
DATA CENTRES |
Data centres are designed to be secure.
Emphasis is placed on physical security and
network security, ensuring the ICT assets
within the facility are safe from unauthorised
access or network attack.
Mark Simmons (MS): With our analogue
world of yesteryear exponentially transitioning
to the digital age, data centres are becoming
more and more critical to our everyday life,
as they are now involved in or control almost
all areas, including power, communications,
transport, internet, traffic, banking,
policing, military, health, energy, lighting,
telecommunications, internet and transport.
Matt Ward (MW): A data centre is
a location where businesses’ computing
systems are housed. Depending on the
business, they may use a remote data
centre for varying reasons, such as the
size and skill of the business to handle the
management of such spaces; cost; security;
access to suitable resources (labour,
stable electricity, water, land, etc.); or risk
When looking at large businesses, these
locations (either on the same site or remote
from the business) are where they place
their most critical systems that support
their daily operations, and thus require
high levels of certainty that they will not be
impacted should any of a number of failure
Shunil Parmar (SP): Data centres are
crucial, like a hospital, but without people –
‘live IT servers’ are required to be kept alive
to keep the world moving. [They help] keep
people’s daily activities happening, from
a child’s interactive learning to an adult’s
online banking requirements.
Paul Gilmore (PG): Changing political,
economic and technological landscapes
are fuelling data centre growth around the
world, particularly cloud-based data centres
centered on data sovereignty1.
The expansion of the Internet of Things
(IoT) and companies increasing their
investments in smart-office devices also leads
1 DATA SOVEREIGNTY COMES INTO PLAY WHEN A COMPANY’S
DATA IS STORED OUTSIDE OF THEIR COUNTRY AND IS SUBJECT TO
THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY IN WHICH THE DATA RESIDES.
to accelerating data volume, and therefore
data centre demand.
FP: What are the day-to-day operations of
a data centre?
MT: Key data centre operations include:
3 environmental monitoring; ensuring
key power and cooling systems are
performing to specification
3 preventative maintenance on key
building systems (generators, chillers,
CRACS, switchboards, fire systems, etc.)
3 security monitoring and management
3 capacity monitoring and management
3 asset management
3 managing change
3 client technology moves/adds/changes
3 upgrades to critical plant (end-of-life or
3 data hall expansion
3 other regular facilities challenges
3 waste management.
MS: With the criticality of data centres
to everyday life becoming increasingly
apparent, governance of the centre needs
to be increasingly resilient to ensure zero
downtime. This means that day-to-day tasks
need to be well planned with contingency
to ensure that there is zero downtime, as
around 22 per cent of all failures within data
centres involve human intervention.
MW: In short, the daily operation of a
data centre is focused on ensuring that the
likelihood of any event that may lead to an
outage or impact the business’s operations is
as close to zero as possible.
Our teams do this by using various risk-
mitigation practices, some of which are as
simple as ensuring that the facility is secured
from unwanted parties, with regular inspection
and monitoring of critical equipment, through
to engineering out single points of failure and
providing ongoing training to our people to
ensure that they are at the forefront of both
technologies and practices.
FP: What are the main aspects of a
facilities manager’s role in a data centre?
MT: Key aspects include:
3 keeping the facility running; no planned
or unplanned downtime
3 keeping the facility secure
3 optimising the operation without
compromising on system resilience or
3 planning for component failure
3 setting and upholding the facility
operating rules for employees,
subcontractors and clients.
MS: The facilities manager’s role requires
a high level of proficiency in all areas of
the operation of the centre, with the main
3 developing teams of efficient data
centre technicians, providing both
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