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Future-tech’s Knowledge Exchange

One of Future-tech’s guiding principles is to share knowledge and try to help empower the people it works with, whether that is staff, clients or contractors. We feel well informed people, who have gained knowledge from different sources, are better placed to make decisions regarding their data centres and the projects they work on. It is with this in mind that Future-tech held its first Knowledge Exchange in November last year. The purpose of this event was to provide a broad spectrum of industry related information within a non sales environment. Having been to many events myself, where manufactures and vendors are speaking, I am well aware that presentations can often become a sales pitch for the products or services the company represented offer. This was something we were totally committed to avoiding. Although Future-tech is principally a design, build and operation specialist there is much more to the data centre industry than just the power and cooling infrastructure that keep facilities operating. So we invited speakers from all aspects of the data centre industry to try and give a holistic offering of presentations and information.

During the November event we had the following presentations:

Leeds University – Jon Summers

Jon’s presentation looked at the data centre industry from its conception, the introduction of the internet and why we, and rapidly the rest of the world, are dependent on both.

DWF Solicitors  – Julie Simms

The presentation delivered by Julie highlighted some of the pit falls associated with building lease contracts and how these can affect a data centre’s certification and operation.  Julie also provided a check list for legal, environmental and planning issues that can arise.

Reality Finance – Peter Howells

With organisations focussed on lowering CAPEX and utilising OPEX orientated financial models, leasing data centres and other IT equipment can be attractive. Peter talked about the benefits of this in terms of cash flow and some of the current tax breaks that make leasing a very attractive option.

The Siemon Company – Richard Fowler

Richard’s presentation covered data cabling, best practice and some of the benefits of different structured cabling methodologies.

Data Centre Alliance – Steve Hone

Steve’s presentation tackled standards such as BSI, ISO and EN, and how these will shape the facilities of the future.  Steve also talked about getting graduates in to the data centre industry and the work the DCA is doing to help facilitate this.

Future-tech – James Wilman

My presentation focussed squarely on the different cooling solutions that currently sit in the market place. Rather than focussing on individual manufacturers the presentation looked at each of the heat rejection and air handling methods available and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

ARC:MC, Building Information Modelling (BIM) – Paul Fields

Paul’s presentation introduced BIM as a concept and how it benefits all forms of construction and facility operations. BIM is coming in to standard use for public sector projects from 2016 and much of the private sector is waking up to the benefits.

The event itself was scheduled to last two and a half hours, however being our first, we did overrun. This was fundamentally down to having one too many speakers on the evening and not being strict enough with running times. Having learnt from this we will be limiting the next events to five speakers with 20 minutes slots, and these slots will be adhered to!

Although a five minute question time is allowed for after each presentation, we also understand many delegates may prefer to speak with presenters one to one.  This means a fundamental part of the Knowledge Exchange is an informal networking opportunity afterwards.

The networking section of the event runs from close of the presentations at 1830 until around 2100. Future-tech provides a buffet and a few complementary drinks during this period.

Our first Knowledge Exchange saw over 35 delegates attend from a huge variety of sectors including retail, property development, the NHS, Local Government, manufacturing and education to name a few.

The next Knowledge Exchanges will be happening on the following dates:

London – 24th of April
Leeds – 30th of April

Birmingham – June
London – July

Edinburgh – October
London – October

Below are some of the topics speakers will be covering during 2013. The list below is neither exhaustive nor set in stone and we welcome suggestions from delegates and potential speakers. If there is something you’d like to learn more about or a subject you can speak about that is relevant to the data centre industry please email us at

Due to positive feedback from November’s delegates some of the presentation above will also be repeated, however others will include:

Data centre performance metrics – there are now many metrics in use in the data centre industry such as PUE, DCIE, WUE and CUE. This presentation will look at these and discuss some of the advantages, limitation and suitable applications for these.

Physical server and facility migrations – whether it is an internal migration from one cabinet to another or an external migration between facilities, many organisations will have to move their physical servers at some point. This presentation looks at some of the key considerations and actions that can be taken to mitigate unnecessary risks.

ISO27000 – more and more data centre operators are looking to achieve this international data security standard. This presentation will look at some of the show stoppers and how your organisation can improve its chances of compliance.

EN50600 – is the new data centre design, build and operation standard currently under review. This presentation will look at the standard and introduce delegates to sections and compliance.

Accreditations – there are a growing number of data centre accreditation such as the BCS CEEDA available to owner operators. This presentation will look at these and the benefits they can bring to facilities and organisations.

Uptime and Tier ratings – there is much confusion in the industry around tier ratings and achieving desired levels of uptime.  This presentation will look at how uptime and resilience is achieved and how owner operators can achieve a tier rating that is suitable for their business needs.

Hardware recycling – when your organisation undergoes a hardware refresh what can you do with your old servers and storage? What do you need to consider in terms of data security and who has a use for your redundant systems?

Data centre design – how a project is approached from the outset can have a huge impact on the speed, cost and success of delivery. This presentation shows how Future-tech approaches  data centre design and build projects.

For more information about Future-tech’s Knowledge Exchange events please contact us at .