Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Data Center Nightmare: Single Point of Failure (3)

Refer to "A Data Center Nightmare: Single Point of Failure (1) and (2)"

The two examples (1) and (2) mentioned emphasize the importance of several lessons that might seem like common knowledge, but slipped past all parties in the complex design and construction process of the data center.

(I) It is very important to eliminate single points of failure. Had there been dual paths to the critical load and either static switch power-distribution units or rack-mounted static switches, there would have been no data center failure.

(II) It is essential to use conduit and wire instead of busduct. Every electrical connection is a potential failure. The feeder busway system installed had mechanical connectors every 12 feet. Conduit and wire only have connectors at the source and at the load.

(III) Only equipment for mission-critical purpose are allowed in data centers! The installed busway was inherently unreliable because human error led to one failed connection and the two additional failed connections uncovered during testing.

Unfortunately, data center professionals do not necessarily have the chance to test drive a facility before it’s completely operational. At the end of the day, every data center is a unique. Professionals must take all of the right steps to make sure they anticipate future mishaps and learn the lessons of previous experiences.

Five Elements of a Reliable Data Center

Building and designing a data center is a complicated process. The complexity is compounded not only by the building type, but by the fact that each data center is unique, built and designed to meet specific criteria. A successful project depends upon five things:

  • Good design with input from the facility executive, builder, designer and commissioning agent
  • Good construction, including careful selection of construction firms and subcontractors, as well as effective construction administration and documentation of field issues
  • Specification and installation of quality data-center-grade materials
  • Effective commissioning
  • Thoughtful operational practices and timely maintenance

About the Blog

Strategic Media Asia (SMA) is one of the approved CPD course providers of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) UK. The team exists to provide an interactive environment and opportunities for members of ICT industry and facilities' engineers to exchange professional views and experience.

SMA connects IT, Facilities and Design. For Data Center Design Consideration, please visit 

(1) Site Selection,
(2) Space Planning,
(3) Cooling,
(4) Redundancy,
(5) Fire Suppression,
(6) Meet Me Rooms,
(7) UPS Selection, and
(8) Raised Floor

All topics focus on key components and provide technical advice and recommendations for designing a data center and critical facilities.

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