Choosing a data center commissioning agent is just as important as the design firm you select.
Data center commissioning is a rigorous, systematic process to ensure that you get the data center design, equipment interoperability and system redundancy that you paid for.
When selecting a commissioning agent, critical questions need to be answered.
- Are they properly certified?
- What kind of experience do they bring to the table?
- Can they present project commissioning plans with real building performance data that backs up their claims?
- What do their references have to say about their work?
The commissioning of a data center that you are considering for colocation, managed hosting, disaster recovery, cloud or other services is a very big deal.
A new building commissioning project is often a long and demanding process.
There is design work to be done, contractors to manage, materials to secure, tests to perform, data to collect, and much more.
If that organization isn’t present in the way that they communicate with their teams and partners, they are unlikely to provide successful results.
Installation errors are some of the most common problems.
Things can get even more complicated in data center expansions and upgrades in which newer models of equipment are installed next to older models.
The biggest obstacle is around insufficient existing infrastructure followed by organizational complexity, security and compliance concerns, lack of budget and resources, and lack of visibility into information and processes.
You would expect that a facility would work the way it was designed to work but consider that a data center is actually a very complex machine.
We know that each project is unique.
Though many engineering firms loosely adhere to the general 5 Steps ASHRAE guidelines for commissioning buildings (not only did we have people involved in their development), we’ve added a few more steps of our own, starting with data center design philosophy.
When you ensure equipment is properly installed and fully integrated, it works the minute you flip the switch
The process of commissioning is an investment.
That’s why some data center owners choose to perform little or no commissioning.
But you pay the price when you don’t!
It’s a big gamble to take when their customers’ mission-critical IT assets are on the line – when there is zero tolerance for unplanned downtime that can generate staggering financial and reputational costs.
When you contract for data center services, you expect a certain level of security and availability for power, cooling and connectivity to ensure the performance of your IT assets as well as reliable, uninterrupted access to them.
The commissioning agent should be on-site for spot checks on a regular basis, throughout the construction process.
You don’t want to come up with a massive list of things that weren’t done correctly at the end when everything is already put together.
The key to staying on budget in new building commissioning projects, or a data center migration, is catching small issues and fixing them before they turn into big ones.
Securing the services of a high-quality commissioning agent is a big investment in peace-of-mind, with the potential to provide returns for decades.
The most important role of a commissioning agent is to advocate for the owner’s project requirements.
“CAI, was extremely knowledgeable about the internal client’s specific test equipment and very IT savvy. We need to really leverage them to correct and implement the new test equipment for commissioning.”
At CAI, we pay special attention to communication skills.
- Communicating with engineers, contractors, construction managers, and systems operators.
- Distilling complex technical information into understandable text and graphics.
- Identifying scope of work, developing test scripts and prioritizing work items.
- Covering the key technologies and tools that new administrators and operators must be familiar with, and explaining how they are used in data centers.
CAI Certifications & Skills
Think of CAI as your watchdog of commissioning.
At CAI we all have a vested interest in every project.
Commissioning is what we do, and we take our role in your project very seriously.
If you’re ready to talk to someone now, contact our Data Center expert, Niall Killeen at firstname.lastname@example.org.