Besides the level of infrastructure redundancy within your data center, consistency of procedures for operations, maintenance and support of the critical infrastructure systems are key to ensuring continuous availability. In fact, the Uptime Institute created a specific sub-category called Operational Sustainability to define and evaluate operational procedures, as an addition to their well recognized Tier Classification rating system.
Proper facilities management procedures and 7x24 availability of qualified support and maintenance staff for the mission critical systems such as UPS, power distribution, back-up generators and cooling systems are key to ensuring continuous availability. The importance of this factor should not be underestimated, and there are significant ongoing costs of hiring and retaining the required highly specialized and qualified personnel.
It should be recognized that even with the best designs and equipment, systems fail unexpectedly. While in most cases redundancy should prevent an immediate outage, the ability to have immediate access to resources in the form of qualified personnel and on-site back-up components are crucial to reducing your exposure and preventing a wide-scale outage by returning a data center to full operational status. It has been shown time and again that most outages have ultimately been caused by human error, either during routine maintenance or by personnel that were not fully qualified or properly trained to react to an equipment failure or overload condition and responded incorrectly in trying to rectify the problem.
These are just some of the issues executives need to understand when making the Data Center Build vs Buy decision. You can download the complete Data Center Knowledge – Data Center Build vs Buy report, which includes all the articles in the series plus additional sidebars and analysis, compliments of Digital Realty Trust.
Julius Neudorfer is the CTO and founder of North American Access Technologies, Inc. and writes for Data Center Knowledge on issues and strategies relevant to seniors business executives.