Data Centre Operations Blog

Operational Intelligence

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Air-side free-cooling: direct or indirect systems?

Often when data centre free cooling is discussed, people assume this means direct fresh air cooling. People intuitively assume that direct cooling ismore efficient because there are less components. It’s as simple as opening a window! However, in many cases this is absolutely incorrect. Indirect systems have unappreciated advantages.

Human Errors in Data Centres

Intrigued by human error in data centres I came across David Smith’s book on Reliability Maintainability and Risk where he describes TESEO (empirical technique to estimate operator failure) by G.C.Bellow and V.Colombari. The principle is that the probability of failure is the product of each of the factors within the following five groups. 1) Activity Difficulty 2) Time Stress 3) Operator Experience 4) Task Related Anxiety 5) Ergonomic Design In this table I.. Read More

Containment: The Future?

Cold aisle, hot aisle and rack exhaust containment are all effective air management methods to separate the hot and cold air streams in data centres. However, both cold aisle and hot aisle containment require working in hot areas (the hot aisle). The rack exhaust system has the potential for higher densities (all aisles are cold); this is restricted by the exhaust duct volume. For hot aisle containment and rack exhaust containment the area available for.. Read More

Is Unapplied Training Pointless?

This is the title of an excellent book by Duffey and Saull, that analyses the space, nuclear, aviation, chemical and other industries and reports that 80% of all failures are down to human error. This correlates well with the Uptime Institute’s reports of approximately 70% of data centre failures attributed to human error. With time we ALL become complacent and therefore it is better to plan for an inevitable rare failure

(ASHRAE 2015 Publication) – $1.7 Energy Efficiency Case Study

In 2014, Operational Intelligence and the Operations team of a global finance service firm achieved an exceptional result. Through energy assessments, data hall temperature measurements and operator education workshops we implemented air management improvements, optimised fan control and gradually increased air and chilled water temperature set points to achieve significant financial savings through reduced energy costs. On top of that we installed an indirect free cooling circuit. This resulted in a PUE reduction,.. Read More

European code of conduct on data centre energy efficiency participant usage guide

It can be difficult and frustrating to receive organisational funding and project approval. By holistically analysing which initiatives deliver the maximum benefit, operators can prioritise improvements and produce a strong business case to approve changes to reduce energy and mitigate risk. Our team help curate the European code of conduct on data centre energy efficiency participant usage guide. For the full publication, please follow the link.

Improved Resilience Through Reduced Complexity and Increased Training

There is sufficient research into the causes of failure to assert that any system with a human interface will eventually fail. In the data centre, as with other industries, human error is believed to account for as much as 80% of downtime. Limiting these interfaces and the design complexity, and continually training the humans that operate them is therefore imperative for resilient data centres. The biggest single barrier to risk reduction is knowledge.. Read More

PUE move over for the LCA. Part 1: Environmental Impact of Data Centres

At Operational Intelligence we believe the data centre industry is starting to recognise that its focus must go beyond energy consumption. Single-issue metrics such as PUE only consider the operational phase, omitting impacts from other issues and during other stages a facilities lifetime. No single-metric has the capacity to capture fully the interlinked nature of the data centre system. Using single metrics is dangerous as improvement in one area can adversely affect a.. Read More