Stream Data Centers Engineering Director Kevin Rosen explores ways to ensure data center resilience.
The Challenge of Data Center Operations for Company Management
The impact of data center outages cannot be underestimated. According to a 2016 Ponemon Institute Research Report, the average cost of an unplanned data center outage is $9,000 per minute, while costs can be as high as $2.4 million. No doubt those costs continue to grow. Among the challenges facing data center operators are:
Maintenance and monitoring are crucial to keeping hardware and software running smoothly to avoid disruption and improve data center resilience. Following basic maintenance schedules is a simple, yet often overlooked, key to preventing downtime.
Adherence to industry rules in regulated fields like finance and healthcare can be challenging to data centers. But non-compliance can be costly, not only in terms of fines and penalties, but also the time and expense of possible litigation over outages or security breaches.
Data center environments require experienced, trained personnel to operate and monitor them, 24/7/365. But the growing importance of data operations has resulted in a shortage of skilled leadership talent.
The complexity of data center operations brings an increasing challenge of keeping up with what can go wrong.
The Essential Expertise Needed for Data Center Best Practices
Many executives are tasked with ensuring the integrity of data center operations along with other business matters, which risks shifting focus from crucial management issues. Yet the challenges of maintaining a compliant, resilient data center require a tremendous investment of time and expertise. And for many companies, finding a technology partner to handle critical facilities operations challenges is the ideal solution. To find the right fit for this important role, look for demonstrated knowledge and best practices in five key areas:
Compliance is not optional, and facilities must be audit-ready at any time. Failure to follow the scores of laws covering security, privacy, insurance and more can result in severe regulatory and legal consequences. Management must incorporate document control and financial reporting to maintain strict governance over data center operations.
The complexity of data center operations brings an increasing challenge of keeping up with what can go wrong. Even the most obvious requirement for uptime, power supply, has become challenging to monitor — and its failure is still the most common reason for data center outages. Data center management and operations must deliver end-to-end data center services covering everything from facilities management to recruiting to vendor procurement.
Operations center facility management requires knowledge of best-in-class hardware and software to maintain compliance and optimal functionality. The operations team acts as the eyes and ears of customers, offering active monitoring of all areas of facility management. This proactive approach prevents most potential problems from growing into larger issues that can cause costly downtime.
Lack of experience and training is a major cause of problems in data center operations and management. Your operations partner should conduct certification programs to ensure best practices and professional development programs to keep skills sharp as well as provide a path for career advancement.
When problems do arise, experienced data center operators turn them into lessons for improving processes to prevent future issues.
The Importance of Transparency in Your Technology Partner
Regardless of the size of your company or data center, the sensitive nature of critical facilities management requires complete transparency from your partner about its team. Before you sign a contract, make sure you ask three questions:
What is Your Recruiting Process?
Finding operations technicians willing to work nights, weekends and holidays is no small task. Ask potential partners how and where they will find the staff for your data canter.
What Does Your Training Program Entail?
You want knowledgeable, experienced operations personnel who will continue to learn and grow. Ask what education programs your partner provides to its employees.
Do you Design, Build and Run Data Centers?
Don’t be afraid to ask the question. You are not interested in helping your technology partner get experience; you want an expert in all aspects of data center operations in different types of environments.
A technology partner keeps your data center running smoothly so you don’t have to. Having a full-service data center operations and management team with a dedicated focus on your facility lets you focus on your own core competencies, knowing that your critical information is secure.
Kevin Rosen is Stream Data Centers’ Engineering Director.
Stream Data Centers provides premium data center solutions, facilitated by exceptional people and outstanding service, to Fortune 500 companies.