Data Centre Development Process

Future-tech Data Center Design Process

We have defined a data centre specific multi-staged approach to data centre development and lifecycle management

Future-tech’s services cover the full range of activities throughout the entire lifecycle of any data centre project. From an initial feasibility study and requirements definition through the design stages, equipment specification and procurement, followed by construction, completion and handover. These stages include the essential transition to live operational management and maintenance as well as catering for migration projects, upgrades and refurbishments. From greenfield data centre development to the conversion of existing buildings, and from micro to mega facilities, Future-tech are recognised as industry leaders in the provision of data centre consultancy and technical project delivery.

It is important to note that a client can enter the Future-tech process at any stage. Future-tech’s engagement on a project does not have to start at Stage 0 but rather Future-tech’s expertise and world leading consultants can be seamlessly integrated into a project at any stage.

the stages

Stage 0: Strategic Definition

This stage is not necessary for all data centre projects. Its purpose is to establish a project’s feasibility without investing significant capital or resources.

First, Future-tech, data centre specialists, create an overarching brief, outlining the goals, objectives, key requirements and timeline as well as a high-level description of the project. This then enables us to explore the data centre project in detail.

We’ll create a financial plan using empirical data, industry benchmarking and some high-level site/project specific information. We can look into site selection for new-build data centres, examining the implication of factors ranging from taxation to flood risk.

We can also create a master plan of the data centre project. This is a low cost way of understanding a project’s feasibility and can be a useful tool to share with other stakeholders, from investors and team members to local planning authorities.

Stage 1: Preparation & Brief

Thorough preparation from the start of the data centre project enables it to move forward smoothly and efficiently. At Future-tech, we use a process called the Requirements Analysis Process (RAP), developed using PRINCE2 project management principles and our extensive experience.

After establishing and engaging with the stakeholders and project team, we create a project and a performance brief. These clearly define the team’s roles and responsibilities, and all of the project’s requirements, drivers and constraints.

These will be presented back for formal agreement before moving forward. Timelines, critical paths and reporting schedules can then be set and established in the data centre project programme. We will also create a RAID (Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions) log. Each log is unique to its project and is a working document throughout.

Stage 2: Concept Design

This stage covers everything from conceptual data centre design to budget cost schedules to establishing the supply chain.

Based on the performance brief, our team will develop a conceptual data centre design to meet its requirements. This covers every phase up to and including its final day capacity. We’ll then engage local architects and civil engineers, as well as identify relevant equipment manufacturers. With the concept data centre design complete, we can create CAPEX and OPEX budget schedules and an operation cost schedule.

The local architect meets with planners to discuss the initial data centre design, flagging any issues prior to design development. To minimise risk, a H&S design review will be completed in accordance with best practice. As H&S standards vary from country/region to country/region the review will be focused on the operational sustainability of the site and creating the base H&S file, and will include input from the local architect.

The data centre project programme is reviewed and updated, along with the RAID log. At this point the concept data centre design is signed off too.

Stage 3: Developed Design

It’s now time for formal data centre planning application and to prepare a number of important documents. Firstly, the Equipment Data Sheet for all equipment and works packages is prepared ready for tender. This also informs the detailed performance specifications that will be created. Using 3D Revit, the data centre project work book is compiled. This document features drawings of all major elements and enables installation contractors to quote accurately. We also create the Basis of Design document, outlining the performance overall as well as of specific elements. This is the first document in the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) Documentation, providing an operational foundation to the data centre build and critical systems.

The formal data centre planning application is submitted with drawings and documentation from the local architect – who will also have the opportunity to update the Revit model to meet any specific planning requirements. As we involve the planning authority at the concept stage, the data centre planning process should now be straightforward and hassle-free.

At the end of the data centre planning stage, we will again review, and update where necessary, the RAID log and project programme.

Stage 4: Technical Design

Whether inviting a number of contractors to tender, or relying on one through an existing relationship, we will produce a full tender document. Even if one contractor is proposed, this is the opportunity for them to demonstrate that the data centre project has been fully understood. For a competitive tender, we will create a submission matrix enabling objective scrutiny of submissions.

Tenders are evaluated by specialist data centre engineers and consultants, and may include site visits for top bidders. We will then recommend contractors based on their submissions. Contracts are then awarded.

The RAID log and project programme are again reviewed and updated. With contracts awarded and programmes finalised, a definitive project programme can now be produced. The critical path and completion date can also be confirmed.

Stage 5: Construction

During the data centre construction stage, Future-tech will fulfil the role of client-side representative. We will ensure the quality of information, equipment and workmanship provided by the appointed General Contractor is up to standard and meets specification.

Before any materials orders are placed, our data centre design team will sign off equipment, drawings and proposed works using an A, B, C classification process. Elements with long lead times will be prioritized. Likewise, major plant equipment will be signed off by the lead designer and/or specialist consultant following witness testing at the manufacturer’s test facility.

Installation works will be signed off as they are completed. Any snagging will be highlighted during regular visits by members of the data centre project team to ensure a smooth, efficient process. All rectification works will be completed before moving on to the Integrated Systems Testing (IST) stage.

Regular reports, data centre project programme updates and any RAID log updates will continue during this stage.

Stage 6: Handover & Close Out

Integrated System Testing (IST) takes place once the data centre construction works phases are finished. All individual elements are tested together as one integrated system to ensure the data centre operates as one holistic system. It also checks BMS/DCIM reporting, and that all redundant equipment operates correctly in the event of a fault.

A written script for the IST procedures details every action and the expected consequences, with a tick box record of the results and supporting records such as BMS screen shots produced for the O&M documentation. The IST script will be followed, with complete reruns, until a 100% correct result is achieved. We recommend client teams attend IST as it can provide valuable training for staff who will be working on site day to day. A full testing schedule for UPS Power Quality will also be created and submitted as part of the facilities O&M information post data centre construction.

Prior to handover, the Future-tech team will review and sign off the O&M information produced by the General Contractor. This will include data centre Construction Level drawings and schematics. We will also present a debrief report, to be reviewed and approved.

Should it be required, we may also provide additional data centre support for the first 12 months of the Data Centre’s lifecycle.

Stage 7: In Use

Available as an additional service, or as a standalone product for existing data centres, our experienced facilities management delivers exceptional service and results. Currently monitoring 98 data centres for 48 clients across the UK and Ireland (all with mission critical environments), we have maintained above a 99.999% uptime over the last five years.

We provide a dedicated account manager and regular meetings to discuss reports, performance, activities and future plans for your data centre. You will also benefit from a Consultant Engineer review reports, provide optimisation suggestions, share new best practice and be on hand in the event of a complex technical issue.

An agreed schedule for Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) for each 12 month period will be put in place at the beginning of the contract. These visits include general data centre maintenance checks, cleaning, leak tests and lubrication, filter replacements, electrical inspections, fire system checks and more. Our service engineers will provide a full report, reviewed by our Consulting Engineers who will feedback any observations, recommendations or risks.

We provide a comprehensive monitoring system and fast emergency response. During working hours, this is managed from our head office in Wokingham. Specialist data centre engineers are dispatched if required, with regular updates to your IT services team. Out of hours, we have three geographically diverse call centres monitoring alerts and our on-call service data centre engineers are well-equipped to provide first line diagnostics, managing the response and resolving any issues quickly. Our average response time is 14 minutes, with an average time to site of 2 hours 16 minutes.

As part of our risk management strategy, we create thorough Management Operating Procedures (MOP), Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Emergency Operating Procedure (EOP) documents.

Our life-cycle data centre planning and reports enable you to minimise risk and efficiently manage changes, as well as planning future budgets.

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