On the Importance of Hiring the Right Specialists in Data Center Management

As the pressure on data centers increases and personnel are expected to do more with the same resources, it is time that we discussed the roles and responsibilities in data center management, and how they interact. Here's how to get it right.

Danny Bradbury

November 1, 2017

2 Min Read
cisco allen
Raised floor at a Cisco data center in Allen, Texas.(Photo: Cisco)

Jamie Fogal never forgot the time that he consulted in a data center owned by a technology school which had called him in to review the data center cooling system, because the air handler kept breaking down.

“So I’m in their facility, and it’s cold,” recalls Fogal, a long-time data center expert who serves on AFCOM’s Advisory Board. Whoever purchased the air handler had over-specified it for the space. So why did it keep breaking down?

See also: Best Practices for Management, Staffing of Data Centers

Every other tile in the cold aisle was perforated, leading to inefficient airflow. Cooler air was flowing back into the air handler, creating a delta between warm and cool air of just 68-72°. This was leading to inefficient operation in the air handler and ultimately to the equipment failure.

After replacing the tiles, the delta widened to 62- 80°, but it shouldn’t have needed Fogal to spot it. Why wasn’t the data center manager aware?

“The IT folks bought the air handler thinking they would have more power than they needed. That was okay, but you must also manage your facility in conjunction with the air handler,” he points out.

The facilities team was responsible for managing the data center, but it had no specialist knowledge.

“Managing a data center and managing facilities for an office are two different issues,” Fogal points out.

His experience shows that the organizational structure of personnel responsible for a data center can have a significant impact on its operation. Putting the wrong people in certain roles – or worse still, misconfiguring or not creating those roles at all – can hinder operations.

This is a part of a recently published article on staffing situations and solutions published on AFCOM, an association for data center professionals. You can read this article in full on the AFCOM website. It's free to AFCOM members. 

To learn more about AFCOM or to join the association, visit here.

AFCOM is a sister organization to Data Center Knowledge.

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