Data center facilities pro

July 23, 2008  3:19 PM

Oregon state data center consolidation blasted by auditors

Matt Stansberry Matt Stansberry Profile: Matt Stansberry

Oregon is facing a data center crisis. A recent audit found that the state botched a $63.6 million state data center consolidation. While the auditors turned up several flaws — the biggest one seems to be that the new facility is already running out of room!

According to a recent Oregonian article: Officials confirmed Friday that part of the state’s data center operation — including 43 employees — has spilled over into a separate building in Salem. One agency, the Department of Consumer and Business Services, pulled out of the new 45,000-square-foot center because of insufficient power supply. Another, the Department of Education, has refused to locate its network there because of security concerns.

The project has been in the works for three years and has had five project directors since its inception. Scott Harra, director of the Department of Administrative Services inherited this nightmare and his staff is trying to consolidate servers to gain capacity. But this step is coming way too late.

Why would you plan a data center consolidation without consolidating the servers? “Instead of consolidating operations, agency servers and other computing equipment were simply picked up and moved to a new place,” The Oregonian reported.

How do you plan capacity and build a data center without looking at your server and application needs first? Why did they put all those legacy servers on a truck and plop them down in a new room instead of porting those applications to higher efficiency, virtualized machines?

And it’s not as if the planners didn’t have a clue. According to the Oregon State Data Center Website, ComputerSite Engineering reviewed the design documents and awarded the Uptime Institute’s Tier III availability standard to the initial project. The facility also applied for the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating. These folks had an ambitious plan that went awry.

According to a source near the project that asked not to be identified, the various state agencies did not want to relinquish control to a centralized project manager, but that control had to be relinquished to make the new site work. It may be that the agencies did agree to move in, but did not do any of the consolidation work normally done in conjunction with a new site. I don’t claim to understand the Byzantine inner workings of state government, but if you could shed some insight into how this might have happened (or how it could have been avoided) please leave a comment. It’s literally my tax dollars at waste.

July 18, 2008  8:05 PM

Get the lowdown on UPS batteries

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Eaton, one of the big data center UPS manufacturers, is offering a free handbook on uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries. Most people know that the most vulnerable part of a UPS are the batteries. Knowing how charged they are and how much juice they have left can mean the difference between having enough through time to get the generators started, and leaving your customers without a data center.

I ordered one. I can always learn more about UPS’s and their batteries. According to Eaton, the guide “covers characteristics, performance and maintenance of UPS battery types along with a comprehensive glossary of battery terms.” Sounds good to me. And since I already get plenty of emails from Eaton for all their products, I didn’t care about putting my information in there. They can only send me so many emails, right?

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