As the data centre landscape changes, it is becoming increasingly more important to make sure you are asking the right questions and including all stakeholders when considering your data centre options. As we see continue to see the disconnect between design and operation, our Associate Director, Steve Lorimer, highlights why we, as consultants, need to challenge our customers in understanding what they are trying to achieve, rather than taking briefs at face value. You can read the article below or see the full magazine here.
Traditionally, the design of new data centres has been at the forefront of clients’ minds when procuring new IT infrastructures. Meanwhile the less glamorous maintenance and operation element is put on the backburner until, in some cases, after the build is complete.
In recent years this has led to data centre systems that are excessively expensive and unable to perform in the long-term. The industry has been relatively slow in resolving this but now, more than ever, clients need greater insight to help them navigate the wealth of solutions on the market while minimising costs.
Last year we aimed to do this through the launch of our specialist consultancy division. We recognised the need to join our FM and design and build offering as a service, that can guide clients in considering both elements right from the outset. Since then, it’s proved to be the panacea clients didn’t know they needed.
IT is increasingly integral to companies’ wider business strategies as well as their dayto-day operation. Even now, high-profile examples of server downtime are acting as huge reputational issues affecting stock prices and customer perceptions. This is only set to continue as businesses grow their reliance on big data, automation and systems underpinned by highly available systems.
Often end-users have a preconceived idea of what they want for their data centre system. From a design perspective this can be any number of in-house, co-located, cloud systems or hybrid solutions. Often they are blinded to new technology on the market and the latest cutting edge systems. Stripping the process back to the fundamental question, ‘what do you want to achieve?’ is more vital than ever.
Clients have never been faced with a range of options as broad as they are today. Navigating this with them can show clients that initial plans, and the combination of new technology they want to include, may be too expensive, or, in the worst cases, not meet their objectives when maintenance and design are factored in.
Too often the industry simply takes the brief from clients without challenging it. We now work with clients before they put design and build tenders out to the market – working alongside internal teams to develop a system that meets their needs, is future-proof and is cost efficient in the long term.
As one example, one of the biggest operational costs clients face in running their own in-house data centre is cooling and failure of this can result in significant downtime. Design teams will often aim to ensure that cooling systems are optimised across rack space but, when it comes to operation – FM teams need to be in the loop to work out whether different permutations of cooling systems will be easy to access and maintain.
As the industry attempts to meet best practice guidance set out by the BS EN 50600 standard, collaboration will become even more important. With both design and maintenance considerations in the guidelines, simply having one party at the table is unable to produce a cutting edge data centre any longer. Particularly if clients are tempted to overinvest in new technology without considering their current and expected capacity needs and the long term maintenance costs of these systems.
2016 was a great year for Keysource’s Facilities Management division, with the team securing major contracts with the Metropolitan Police Service and Leeds City Council, as well as large contract renewals for our customers across Europe.
Operating over 200 facilities across Europe our specialist critical FM offering is growing quickly. In order to support this growth, and as we continue to invest in the delivery of these essential services, Keysource is has now started to take delivery of a new fleet of vehicles.
Able to deliver hard and soft facilities management services for both critical and non-critical environments across Europe to strict SLA’s, call us now to find out more about our FM solutions.
Organisations today have many more options when it comes to storing and managing their data and supporting their IT infrastructure. Laurence Baker looks at how organisations can ensure they have a future-ready solution and discusses the rise of the modular solution and the benefits it can bring.
Ten years ago there was no real outsourcing model in our sector and organisations had to build and run their own data centres. So they invested heavily and built huge facilities in anticipation of strong, predicted growth. In many cases the facilities were big, with highly resilient Tier IV infrastructures, as they believed what they needed was 100% availability and, above all, absolute protection against any data loss. Then the economic downturn happened.
In some cases these decisions were made without properly considering their requirements. As a result many have ended up with, at best, facilities that have been both expensive to construct and continue to be operationally complex and expensive to run.
At Keysource we find that our customers rarely deploy a full IT load from day one, if ever, so this raises the question about whether the infrastructure to support this needs to be in place in day one. To determine this we believe that early engagement is key to ensure you are making the right decisions. Not having all the relevant stakeholders involved from the outset may mean that the team fails to understand the real business and IT requirements or that the wrong solution is specified and deployed.
This is increasingly important as businesses today are becoming ever more dependent on IT systems and associated data due to a number of changes such as an upsurge in ‘Cloud’ services, digitalisation and the internet of things. As a result a key priority is ensuring the availability of these systems, with companies looking for the best solution to meet their requirements, as efficiently as possible. For many the biggest challenge is how to keep aligning the IT infrastructure to the fast moving and ever changing business environment and ensuring that any solution is future ready, whilst also keeping costs to a minimum.
As a result, many organisations are opting for modular data centre solutions which are constantly evolving to address a wider range of business and operational requirements. Traditionally modular solutions were developed to overcome construction and deployment challenges, but now there is an overwhelming demand for these scalable facilities that also deliver high levels of performance, resilience and efficiency…
Read the full article on page 20 of Data Centre News Magazine
Find out more about our modular data centre solutions
At the beginning of this year we announced that we had evolved our strategy, in line with market needs, to a more consultative led approach. We’ve seen, as customer needs change, that a wholly owned on-premise solution may not be the best option, and that a hybrid solution of cloud, colocation and some on-premise may deliver better against technical and commercial needs.
We’ve been working hard this year delivering strategy and IT Asset advice for both public and private sector organisations across Europe with great success (watch this space for upcoming announcements!) and have launched a new company – Business Critical Solutions – to further support this offering.
But once your strategy is in place – how do you best implement it?
Whilst we have been historically known as the data centre design and build experts (and we have been recognised by leading award bodies across the globe for our projects) our Critical Facilities Management division is less well known. With over 30 critical engineering specialists (plus administration and helpdesk teams) supporting our 200+ contracts across Europe, our teams are constantly looking at new ways of supporting and optimising our customers facilities and operations.
With IT Asset consolidation or moves being required in some cases, expert support is needed to safely and securely transport your IT hardware. In order to further satisfy this need Keysource has recently taken delivery of a new set of bespoke Shock Mounted Portable Server Racks.
They have already had their first outing, transporting the Metropolitan Police Service servers and IT hardware from their old data centre operator across to their new one. Carried out under highly secure conditions and escorted throughout the process by two NPPV (Non Police Personnel Vetting) level 3 staff, the new portable racks ensured the move went as expected and integrity of the data was maintained throughout.
Leeds City Council (LCC) has chosen Keysource, the critical environment specialist, to provide vital support for its data centres in and around the city centre. It follows a competitive tender and is designed to ensure that there is minimal downtime and disruption to IT services and that the data centre environment remains resilient and secure.
Under the terms of the agreement Keysource will provide a critical FM solution across a number of data centres that house the infrastructure to support all the Council’s IT systems. This will include managing a preplanned maintenance programme for all critical equipment to manufacturers’ specifications and frequencies. A robust emergency cover will also be implemented to allow the data centres to function to a high availability.
Keysource will provide a 24/7/365 emergency repair service with a guaranteed response time onsite in under a maximum of 4 hours. Training will also be provided for LCC staff on all aspects of the data centres and equipment.
Melvin Thompson at Leeds City Council, said:
“Our data centres are vitally important with the growth of digital content and it is essential that we have the right partner in place to ensure they are well maintained and managed. Keysource have a proven track record and we look forward to working closely with them to maintain our robust data centre environments.”
Mike West, CEO at Keysource, said:
“Our Critical FM service will deliver seamless, responsive and proactive management of the maintenance services for LCC’s data centres in line with their own strategic objectives. We will focus on fundamental elements such as compliance, risk and availability utilising our unrivalled experience in the data centre environment and our invaluable understanding of Total Cost of Ownership issues.”