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Data Centre Audits

As server room and data centre operations expand beyond their initial day-one designs, new hardware and software are added which can introduce additional complications and single points of failure. Knowing where these occur within the critical infrastructure assist business continuity and disaster recovery plans and for provision to be put in place to mitigate the risks. Our data centre audit consultants are experienced data centre auditors holding one of several certified memberships including Chartered IT Professional (CITP), Business Continuity Institute (MBCI), Chartered Institute for IT (MBCS) and qualifications such as a Master’s in Information System Management (MISM), Certified Data Centre Design Professional (CDCDP) and Certified Data Centre Energy Practitioner (CDCEP).

The Audit Process For A Sever Room or Data Centre

The data centre audit process includes several stages and can designed to address circumstances unique to the facility being audited in terms of location, environment, certifications and management systems. Our consultants will analyse every aspect of the server room and data centre operation including hardware deployment, software management, cybersecurity, power, cooling, fire suppression, security and monitoring and provide a detailed report with recommendations.

  1. Critical Infrastructure: these systems support the IT operation and include both mechanical and electrical systems, critical power and cooling systems, data management, and connectivity. Areas covered within each include the identification of single points of failure, and the design of parallel/redundant systems to support the appropriate Tier-rating for the facility.
  2. Monitoring and Reactive Systems: security, fire suppression and monitoring for smoke, fire, water and humidity help to protect a facility. Early monitoring of temperature rises can help to identify potential hardware failures within switchgear and power components as well as hotspots within server racks. Security reviews can identify weaknesses in design and protection of the facility requiring additional entry and CCTV hardware.
  3. Maintenance Registers and Service Level Agreements: each critical system must be regularly maintained, and consumables replaced according to manufacturer recommendations. Common systems include uninterruptible power supplies, generators and air conditioning systems. Maintenance contracts are reviewed alongside existing service level agreements and the qualifications of the organisations to whom the work is sub-contracted if not directly with a manufacturer certified engineer or company.
  4. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans: to identify how prepared data centre and server room operations are for a catastrophic hardware failure, critical service interruption and cyber threats including back-up and restore responses and black-start-up testing. Our consultant will prepare or update the risk analysis register and provide suggestions for risk mitigation where relevant.
  5. Energy Efficiency and Thermal Imaging Surveys: power usage effectiveness (PUE) and other energy usage metrics provide an ideal way to continuously monitor and compare operational efficiency. Thermal imaging surveys using thermal cameras can help to identify poor air flow, poor containment and racking arrangements, and the mixing of cooled and hot exhaust air all of which can lead to increased electricity costs. For large facilities computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling may also be appropriate.
  6. Energy Sourcing, Renewable Power and Energy Storage: most server room and data centre operators are concerned with the cost of electricity and where their energy is sourced. Our consultants can advise on energy-related topics including utility billing and pricing, local sourcing including on-site renewable power and energy storage with options for demand side response (DSR) programs to support national grids, generate feed-in-tariffs and off-set capital investments.
  7. Optimisation and Capacity Planning: the audit process builds a capacity profile in terms of the current fit-out and restrictions including building electrical supplies and cooling systems. With this information efficiency improvements can be made with regard to server virtualisation, system optimisation and the identification of potential barriers to future growth.
  8. Management System Observations: additional observations may also be made with regard to information security, cybersecurity, energy, quality, environmental and health & safety as required.

A data centre audit can typically be started within a few days of being requested. The first step for the assigned consultant is to arrange an initial telephone conference call to begin the discovery process and outline timescales based on the complexity of the site(s) and location(s).

The outcome of the data centre audit process is a detailed report designed for presentation to operational management teams, ‘C’ level executives and board level directors. Report areas include: identifying weaknesses and single points of failure, proposals to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness, financial analysis covering CAPEX and OPEX financing and return on investment and an outline scope of works.