Would you drive your new Ferrari 458 off the auto dealer's parking lot without taking it for a test drive? No, probably not. The same applies to data centers, while these facilities, which represent huge investments, are engineered and built to exacting standards, they still need a "test drive" to verify that the individual components work togehter and that they are fully ready to "hit the road" so to speak.
Data center commissioning is important to ensure a mission critical facility can support its workload as anticipated. Chris Crosby, founder and CEO of Compass Datacenters, and former senior executive and founding member of Digital Realty Trust, will present on "Understanding Data Center Commissioning" at the Orlando Data Center World in October. Compass also published a detailed blog post on data center commissioning recently.
With the significance of commissioning in mind, Data Center Knowledge asked him a few questions.
What are best practices in commissioning?
"Use a third party with demonstrated experience in commissioning," Crosby said. "This commissioning "agent" should be involved during the design process of the facility to understand its operational purpose and requirements. This information will enable them to produce the most effective commissioning scripts (tests) possible."
Further, the commissioning process should include all five phases, according to Crosby. "Many data centers are only commissioned through the fourth phase, which only documents that each individual component functions as required. Only by performing phase 5, otherwise known as Integrated Systems Testing (IST), where the entire facility is tested under full load and in failure scenarios is the inter-operability of all components and systems verified."
To be fully commissioned, a facility must be tested in all modes:
- Test in real life scenarios—not planned
Data centers that perform Level Five commissioning have verified reliability of design and compatibility among all critical systems, such as:
Why is Integrated Systems Testing a preferred method?
"Only by completing IST testing can the operator be assured that all systems operate as required under full load and in failure scenarios." he explained. "This level of assurance is essential if the site is to support mission critical operations.
"Many providers are unable to perform this level of testing due to their use of shared backplane architectures. In these structures all data halls share the MEP, so it is impossible to test an individual unit's operation in a power failure mode, for example, since all of the attached data halls would be taken down as well. This limitation makes it important for prospective operators to probe deeper when a provider tells them that they perform commissioning to ensure that this includes phase 5/IST testing," Crosby said.
Find out more on data center commissioning
Want to learn more? Attend the session on Understanding Data Center Commissioning or dive into any of the other 20 trends topical sessions curated by Data Center Knowledge at the event. Visit our previous post on Software-Defined Data Centers: What Lies Ahead?
Check out the conference details and register at Orlando Data Center World conference page.