Kfir Godrich discusses Data Center Commissioning role in delivering availability

I've had the pleasure of some great conversations with Kfir Godrich.  Kfir has a guest post on Compass Data Centers blog that discusses Data Center Commissioning.

Kfir starts with a subject that reminds me of my first summer jobs at HP working in Quality engineering at HP where I worked on warranty and reliability issues.

The data center commissioning (or Cx) journey starts with understanding the basics of reliability engineering contained in the IEEE Gold Book. First, we need to define the difference between reliability and availability. Availability is the probability that a system will work as required during the period of the mission while Reliability is the probability that the system will in fact maintain operations during the mission. The related terminology that helps us introduce the Cx, is the data center predicted performance model. This model follows a failure mode typical to electronic equipment also known as the “bathtub curve” (see Fig. 1).

Bathtub Curve

In Phase 1, also called the Infant Mortality Period, data centers are going through a decreasing failure rate that it is very much desired to be as short as possible. This can be achieved through performing a full commissioning as described later. It is the author’s humble opinion that the level of commissioning must be proportional to the level of criticality and design Tier (per Uptime Institute) of the data center.

In Phase 2, referred to as the Random Failure Period, the failure rate is constant and mostly known by the fact that MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) is calculated during this phase. The desire here is to take that flat curve as low as possible. In Phase 3, The Wear-out Period – is where components begin to reach the end of their usable life. Replacing components proactively aids in delaying the ultimate upturn in the graph.

This post is the first in a series so if you are interested in this topic there will be more.

Therefore, data center commissioning is about enabling the business through performance validation and functional testing of integrated platforms. This should typically be performed by an independent agent as part of the customers trusted advisory team and as a core part of the overall project schedule. The cost for a commissioning agent can be in the range of 0.8-2% of the total budget. Since commissioning is essential for government facilities, the US Department of Energy is publishing certain guidelines for commissioning scope and cost. Geographically, commissioning is more popular and comprehensive in North America and parts of Western Europe while the rest of the world is becoming more familiar these concepts. Our next Blog will go a bit deeper into the Integrated Testing—stay tuned. Till next time, Kfir

Kfir's new company is here.