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Common data centre industry fails

A good testing and commissioning procedure is as critical as a good design for a data centre facility and yet there is far less emphasis on its importance. As a result, many organisations are facing major risks for their infrastructure in that it will simply not achieve the performance, resilience and efficiency that it was designed for.

In fact, the failure to take a holistic view of a data centre design and build project, prior to its occupation by the final client, is one of the most common problems that we see.

We regularly see a range of issues when comprehensive testing and commissioning by an experienced specialist has not been undertaken.

These include:

  • Equipment that is delivered on site which is not fully compliant with the specification

  • The system description of the operation not achieving the design criteria

  • The services installed are not fully compliant with the industry guidelines

  • An incorrect deployment of systems with components missing

  • An incorrect setup of equipment parameters

  • The installation of equipment in different locations from the design that would obstruct future phasing or block access for maintenance

Any of these errors can cause an unexpected failure of the data centre, resulting in the loss of money and reputation for the business, higher operational running costs, loss of future capacity and a lower availability for the systems.

At Keysource we provide testing and commissioning services for both our own projects but also as a third-party agent for clients. For the latter, we are often initially engaged to undertake professional services at the start of a project through to a tender stage. This means we are responsible for establishing the brief for the performance of the facility, master planning and design through to the developed stage.

Regardless of whether we are then involved in the build in any way, this makes us ideally placed to ensure that final delivered solution meets and delivers the client’s intent.

Recently, one of our clients chose to tender the design and build of a major data centre project and manage both this and the completion stages of the project themselves. However, towards the end of the project, they engaged us to act as design guardians, providing commissioning witnessing services and assisting with the ‘snagging’.

We witnessed the validation of the facility through all stages of individual system commissioning, Site Acceptance Testing and Integrated Systems testing, and were able to identify where aspects fell short of the design intent such as non-compliance to design, non-adherence to standards, capacity issues, environmental and control issues.

Where changes to the original design, like product selection, had occurred, we were also able to inform the client of the likely impact to their brief and service delivery.

In conclusion, engaging a knowledgeable team that understands the interactions and dependencies between systems is the key to achieving a successful installation deployment.

At Keysource, we are unique in the industry in that we can provide a full range of services to support the full lifecycle of a project from consulting, through to project delivery and ongoing management. This gives us a thorough understanding of every aspect of the data centre, making us the right partner to undertake vital testing and commissioning.

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