A recent Uptime Institute
study found that three in four data center facilities have experienced IT service outages. Interruptions can cost an average of $100,000 and are mainly caused by power failure. Preparing access protocols to enable power system maintenance and testing programs can help data centers mitigate interruptions despite restrictions.
Basic Questions to Facilities
Most facilities work with qualified vendors to maintain and repair critical power equipment, and some use these firms to assist with compliance testing as well. When scheduling services, vendors want to know (1) whether known safety hazards are present in the facility, and (2) what safety protocols the facility has in place.
The answers to these questions form the beginning of a discussion for evaluating technician access. By exchanging information in advance, the facility and the vendor can minimize unforeseen problems to maximize effectiveness.
To facilitate a more productive and meaningful discussion, service vendors can prepare in advance by considering these questions:
Vendors may be curious about the following:
Parking and Access Arrangements
- How will the technician get themselves and their equipment from the grounds of a data center into the equipment location?
- Are there any security requirements such as vaccination, drug screening, or background checks required for access?
- Who will escort and be the primary point of contact for all safety concerns, such as egress and other emergency procedures?
- Which routes throughout the building minimize potential exposure risk?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- What type is needed?
- Who will provide it?
- The facility or the vendor?
- What particulars govern its use at the data center, such as when and where to wear it and how to dispose of it afterward?
Basic Questions to Facilities
Facility managers may have these basic questions:
- What policies are the vendor applying to service calls?
Personal Protection Equipment
- What, if any, can the vendor supply for its technicians?
- What qualifications does the vendor and its technicians have for working in the conditions at the facility?
Scope of Services
Critical power equipment requires regular maintenance, repairs when necessary, and periodic testing to verify readiness and demonstrate regulatory compliance. These processes contribute to a well-maintained data center that customers and end-users can trust.
For regions with the greatest impacts, some vendors have assembled service teams for providing important maintenance while employing high levels of personal protection. For facilities with the greatest apparent exposures, some have requested services to correct active equipment issues only. By working together, facility managers and service vendors can evaluate the circumstances at each data center to determine the scope of work that should be performed.
The circumstances, scope of services, and work protocols may vary from data center to data center. Proactive discussion between facilities and service vendors before problems arise is the best way to ensure facilities will have backup power when it's needed most.