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11.04.2013

Micro Data Centre Construction Project: Final interview

Welcome to the final installment of my blog giving you a behind the scenes look at what it is like to work with Future-tech.

Firstly I apologize for the delay in producing the final installment of my blog. It has been a busy beginning to 2013 and the client, Jon at Perenco, has not only had a new Data Centre completed and populated but completed a full migration of systems, completed an office move and let the dust settle.

Since my last installment the testing and commissioning has been completed, the room has been handed over and the client has migrated all systems to the new facility. The room has been operating as the primary Data Centre since February 2013. Jon has agreed to a short interview on what it was like to work with Future-tech and complete a major Data Centre design, build, population and migration project:

RS. How long have you been with Perenco and in your own words what is your role at the company?

JC. I am the IT manager for Perenco Holdings and I have been with the company for 10years now.

RS. What is Perenco’s business?

JC. Perenco is an independent oil & gas company with operations in 16 countries across the globe, ranging from Northern Europe to Africa and from South America to Southeast Asia. Perenco is involved in operations both onshore and offshore.

RS. What were the reasons for Perenco needing a new Data Centre?

JC. Perenco was in the process of moving offices so a new Data Centre was going to be part of that larger project. Aside from this our original Data Centre was due a refresh on the network side, this also naturally led to looking at the Data Centre hardware as well, and since the M&E is designed around the hardware it supports we found ourselves at a good point to review the whole system. Our legacy room was over 10years old so we were pleased to be engaging in an update of M&E systems

RS. How did you hear about Future-tech and what made you contact us?

JC. I found the Future-tech company website online. The website left a good impression and after looking through the case studies and accreditations I decided to make contact via the ‘contact’ link.

RS. Why did you choose to use Future-tech?

JC. I chose Future-tech due to a number of reasons; the initial meeting with James Wilman and Richard Stacey made a good first impression.  This combined with a site visit to a Future-tech designed and built Data Centre made me feel very confident in the company’s abilities.  The reason for choosing Future-tech was also based around my desire not to have the Data Centre built by a traditional building services contractor. I wanted to work with a company whose business focus was purely Data Centres and nothing else, a company who could lead the project and whose best interests were for the Data Centre.

RS. How did Future-tech’s approach differ from others?

JC. Future- Tech responded quickly and Richard’s level of professionalism was above the competition from the start. They focused purely on the Data Centre rather than the facility being viewed as a small part of a larger office fit out project being delivered by a building contractor. The company’s knowledge of different solutions and their suitability to the constraints experienced by my project was also impressive and reassuring.

RS. How did the project go?

JC.  Extremely well. I couldn’t fault any of the work carried out by Future-tech, they were extremely responsive when the additional cabs were required mid project. The project was on time, on budget and even when the additional cabinets were required mid build the project did not deviate from program. After completion of the project Future-tech was still happy to come back to site and help with small requests.  In my mind you have seen the project through to an absolute finish.

RS. What did you learn from the project?

JC. I would definitely use Future-tech again, there is no doubt in my mind. I would never approach a project of this nature and leave it with a traditional building services contractor, from now on I will always speak to Future-tech.

Seeing the room completed compared to the original 10 year old room was quite an eye opener, there really is no comparison. Now Perenco has a brand new facility everything is labelled, all cabling is managed correctly, everything is diagrammed, everything is IP addressable and everything is monitored from the AHUs to the UPS and cabinet power supplies. The only monitoring we had in the legacy room was for high temperatures.

RS. What would you do differently if you could do the project again?

JC. I just would have liked to have started it earlier in order to get the comms links in quicker, that is no reflection on Future-tech, just planning and sign off our end. BT needed the room to be complete before they could install the new comms links.  I also didn’t realise how many extras were available with the APC cabinets! So I would have liked to have looked into that a bit earlier in the process.

RS. What’s your favourite part of your new Data Centre?

JC. The neatness and the quality of the build, it’s all interlinked and all components are specifically chosen and located to carry out a purpose.  It is a complete design and it’s been done to a high specification. Also the fact that we don’t actually have to go in there a lot is great.
RS. If the opportunity arose would you work with Future-tech again and why?

JC. Yes, definitely because of your professionalism and your knowledge. Future-tech’s balance between knowledge and genuinely caring is perfect, and goes from the top to the bottom of the business. The Project Manager, Jason, was excellent, I can tell Future-tech want things done right and the passion is obvious. The high quality of the staff there, really everyone I’ve met has been very professional, very knowledgeable, not wanting to cut any corners. I get the impression some others in the industry are prepared to cut corners to make their lives easier. Future-tech will do the right thing for the client and the Data Centre and will maintain the highest standards.

RS. Do you have any advice for people beginning to plan their next Data Centre build?

JC. It’s very important to start the process early because the comms links take the longest amount of time, the Data Centre needs to be ready before these can go in.

Plan for growth, as mid way through the project we had to add cabs. Thankfully this was factored in as a possible from the beginning. We weren’t expecting to use them so soon but it was planned for and this saved time and money in the long run.

I know not everyone can do it but invest in good kit, because it’s going to have to last, invest in a good Data Centre for the same reasons. No one in the business would care if I had managed to save £20k on the build if we lost the room.

When planning and creating budgets you have to consider the impact to the business if you we’re to lose the Data Centre. If you can give a business 100% uptime, you can’t ask for any more than that.

If you would like to visit this or any other Data Centre designed and built by Future-tech then please don’t hesitate to contact Richard Stacey at rstacey@future-tech.co.uk or on 08459 000 127.

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