Adam Larkins, Director of Facilities Operations, Discusses the Two Most Important Things to Consider in a Data Center Facility

Data center outages can have a major impact on business operations. The airline industry has made headlines recently due to system outages grounding flights. Delta has had two major IT outages within the past six months that resulted in significant travel delays. The company estimates the August 2016 outage cost  $150 million, highlighting the importance of selecting a data center facility built for availability and reliability.

One of the key factors in providing highly available data center services is the design of the data center facility itself. According to Immedion’s Director of Facilities Operations, Adam Larkins, the two most important facility design considerations are capacity and fail-over.

Capacity

Capacity planning is a critical component of minimizing downtime. Technical equipment requires space, power and cooling to function properly. To ensure high availability, infrastructure dependencies such as power and cooling must have no single point of failure. These systems should be designed with enough capacity to meet current operational requirements and additional capacity to ensure full redundancy. Capacity must be continuously monitored as workloads are adjusted to ensure full redundancy is in place.

Redundancy is often overlooked or viewed as too costly when maintaining your own data center environment, but it is necessary to ensure data and systems remain always on even in the event of an emergency or equipment failure.

Fail-Over

Fail-over capabilities are just as important as capacity. In August 2016, Delta’s travel delays were initially caused by a commercial power outage to their data center facility. Immedion’s systems are fully redundant, and in the event of an emergency, we would be able to maintain operation without interruption.

For example, Immedion houses UPS and generator systems, and in the event of a power outage in the area, the UPS would carry the load while the emergency generators restore power to the facility. This transfer takes mere seconds, but it saves our customers from experiencing costly outages or the potential consequences of power interruption, such as data corruption. The automatic restoration and constant monitoring necessary to ensure seamless load fail-over is difficult to achieve outside of a data center, such as Immedion, due to the expensive capital costs necessary to purchase and maintain the systems. Immedion has technicians on-site at all times, monitoring equipment and the facility. This not only ensures that our equipment is well maintained and ready to provide service, but adds a physical layer of security to the enterprise-level security systems we have in place already.

Capacity and fail-over are critical facility components to ensuring your data and systems remain always on. Together they dictate both normal and emergency operations to keep your business running. Therefore, they are the two main facility considerations when evaluating data centers.