Research conducted by independent industry analyst firm Freeform Dynamics has revealed a chronic skills gap in the data centre industry that risks undermining attempts to future proof infrastructure to meet the demands of increasing digitisation.
The survey of 320 European data centre professionals showed that only one in three (36%) of respondents were fully confident in their knowledge of power management. According to the survey, this skills gap is causing a lack of confidence in data centre resilience and ability to respond effectively to power related incidents. The findings also cast doubt on the ability of data centre managers to handle the growing demands of the digital transformation of data centre infrastructure, and their ability to deal with the increasing complexity of power management.
The survey, commissioned by power management company Eaton, also showed that over half of all respondents believed their facilities infrastructure needed strengthening in terms of power and cooling (53%) and resiliency and disaster recovery (55%), perhaps underlined by the discovery that over a third of respondents (36%) had suffered a prolonged and disruptive outage within the preceding three months. Furthermore, 35% said managing power distribution within the data centre was a significant challenge, while a further 42% said it was becoming more of a challenge.
“Data centre workloads are intensifying as the business places more demands on it. Those pressures are compounded by a lack of confidence in the skills, tools and expertise to manage the data centre environments effectively, particularly in power,” comments Michael Byrnes, director of sales, services and emerging market, Data Centre Segment at Eaton EMEA. “IT managers and data centre professionals need a simple, holistic view and integrated control of the infrastructure so that they can be confident they are managing the data centre effectively.”
Dale Vile, CEO of Freeform Dynamics, adds: “Data centres are under a lot of pressure as they deal with continued growth and additional pressures, such as the growing use of virtualisation or new initiatives. There seems to be a widespread lack of knowledge concerning the availability of new tools that would help data centre managers.”
In response to the survey findings, Eaton has published a new paper, that provides data centre managers with essential advice on how to ensure power supply reliability is taken into account when commissioning a new data centre. Entitled Fast Track to Improved Power Supply Reliability, the paper offers practical advice on optimising a data centre’s power chain and explains how, by considering the individual requirements of all components, a data centre’s power infrastructure can be designed to meet both current and future requirements to guarantee business continuity.
“Mission critical applications rely on having a continuous supply of clean power under all conditions, making the design of the supporting power infrastructure crucial,” Michael Byrnes says. “An early consultation with an experienced supplier is essential for identifying and overcoming possible challenges, some of which the installers may not even be aware of, in order to ensure the system’s safety, reliability and availability.”
The paper examines what needs to be considered in terms of power distribution and UPS components to achieve a system that is reliable and protected against unscheduled power events. It covers topics including 3- and 4-pole switching, the impact of a UPS on a power system, possible fault conditions, including arc flashes, and operation and maintenance issues, as well as the latest industry standards. The paper also highlights the possible consequences of failing to follow good design principles.
Over the coming months, Eaton will also be publishing a set of five technical white papers which inspect the topic in more detail in order to provide data centre designers, consultants and operators with in-depth practical guidance on how to optimise system reliability.
The papers can be downloaded at www.eaton.eu/Infrastructure_with_Intelligence.