Data Centre Best Practice
The DCA was formed by industry professionals that recognised the confusion and mis-information surrounding the quality and ratings of data centre facilities. For example, clients would often ask "what is a tier/class 3 plus (+) data centre?" or "I have been told we need tier/class 4 security installed". In addition, the self-assessment of 99% of colocation facilities has led to many wasted long journeys to visit a data centre, only to find it wasn't anywhere near what was expected. In reality, a data centre should be built to a design that meets the purpose it is intended for, however this is much easier if the organisation can draw on the expertise and insight of many who have already learned through years of trial, error, innovation and operational experience - the DCA provides a platform for this resource.
Bringing together all the elements
Whatever the resilience level you choose, it is recognised by analysts that the vast majority of data centre failures can be attributed to human factors, such as maintenance, training and management process issues. So it can be deduced that any rating system must include operational "best practice" irrelevant of the data centre design. These should include all the elements and all too often "little" things for example, robust operational procedures are in place and ensuring the maintenance contract invoices are paid up on time, right through to ensuring an effective and secure cleaning and anti-contamination programme is in place.
The data centre is a significant user of energy and a large contributor to climate change, at the same time, the data centre is also an enabler of many green initiatives, for example home and remote working, online shopping, video conferencing, electronic storage of documents etc, all these things save paper, travel and natural resources. Still, the data centre rivals the motor industry and aviation for CO² emissions and therefore the industry needs to ensure it does all it can to maximise energy efficiency. Many good guidelines and codes have been initiated already that are recognised and supported by the DCA, but to maximise this successfully, energy management strategies need to be integrated into the very fabric of design and operational "Best Practice" defined by the DCA.
Serving the industry
The DCA is committed to its strong roots in higher education and research. The data centre industry is a relatively young one, even so it has gone through major shifts and changes; from the room sized computers of the 1970's through the "dot.com" crash of the late 1990's to today's 24hour always on demand cloud services. Our analysis has shown that most of the very best industry expertise is in the heads of individuals likely to retire within the next 10-20 years. These people found out what a "data centre" was after they graduated from university, therefore it is essential that this expertise is captured and fed into University education as soon as possible to ensure industry employers can obtain the appropriate skills to sustain growth in the future.