06/05/2013 - 12 tactics to get the most out of data centers

By John Breeden II, GCN

One of the most enduring challenges with data centers, according to Bob Massie, director of Quality Systems for Schneider Electric, concerns power. Massie, who has been working with data centers for over 20 years, spoke at his company’s recent Xperience Efficiency conference in Arlington, Va.

"No matter how much it costs you to build out your data center, the operating costs will always be more," he said at the conference, which was held to show how federal agencies can make the best use of their power consumption. "Energy costs account for the largest portion of the operating budget, and those costs are rising."

Energy costs are a big part of the overall management, but there are other factors, too. To keep costs down and to keep federal data centers operating safely and efficiently, Massie outlined a 12-point plan to increase efficiency and meet organizational missions.

1. Environmental health and safety

Injuries on the job not only take workers out of commission, but might also damage equipment and lead to expensive investigations. Train staff on electrical safety, because that is the biggest source of injury in a data center, and on situational awareness so that they can recognize problems before they become dangerous.

2. Personnel management

Employees need to know what their roles entail and how they contribute to the mission of the data center. Massie reminded managers to be sure and "drill that junior operator who is on duty at two in the morning. Be sure he knows everything about the facility from the pattern of lights on the board to how to start the diesel generator." Inefficiency and poor performance is a result of poor management.

3. Emergency preparedness and response

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