How IT and Facilities Collaborate to Tame Information

By Pam Brigham

As Global Technical Director of IBX Electrical Systems here at Equinix, I’ve been invited to give a talk at the OSIsoft Users Conference 2011in San Francisco on March 30 to discuss an Equinix case study: “Utilizing Monitoring Tools to Improve Collaboration Between Facilities, Data Centers and IT Departments.”

Okay, it’s a long and formal title to be sure. But the gist of my presentation is to show how monitoring tools implemented at an Equinix facility improved collaboration between IT and Facilities professionals.

I’ll be explaining how Equinix was able to collect real-time information on power, temperature, IT load and energy utilization. This case study will walk you through Equinix’s process of selecting the right monitoring solution that met our business goals, indentifying what information to gather, analyzing the information collected, and the benefits of implementing the monitoring solution.

In facilities, we’ve all been there with the amount of data we have to process daily.  Some of the data is manually obtained, some of it might be through one screen or another in a building management system (BMS), some of it might be through spreadsheets, but do we have the data we need to actually run the data center?  We end up drowning in a sea of data and we need a way to make sense of what we’re seeing.

So what did we do at one site when we were drowning in data and didn’t have the information at our fingertips?  We collaborated with IT&S professionals. 

The problem: we had an old facility that had an unsupported electrical monitoring system and a BMS that was operating on a computer so old we worried about looking at it wrong for fear it would lock up.  We wanted to upgrade both the electrical monitoring system and the BMS computer and be able to get our hands on good information from the systems. 

We developed an RFP, interviewed systems integrators with experience in data centers and information and after looking at a few monitoring systems, and a few different integrators, we settled on OSISoft PI with DST Controls as the integrator.  DST and OSISoft were the IT&S collaboration we needed to get all the information in one place, easily accessible, and stable.

A few weeks later we had the system up and running, we knew our PUE, we knew our power consumptions, reports were being successfully generated for management, and no more false alarms on equipment. 

Also, it allowed our facilities engineering staff to really focus on maintaining the facility rather than spending all their time trying to generate reports, make rounds, or chasing false alarms.

There’s a lot more to learn… so check out OSIsoft Users Conference 2011 on Wednesday, March 30 at 12noon. I look forward to meeting you in person and answering any questions you may have.

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