• Expert advice for managing the data center life cycle

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Schneider Electric offers over 7,000 trained specialists who employ standardized, documented, and validated methodologies developed over 45 years. From project planning, vendor management, and facility operations to energy assessment services, Schneider Electric offers the diverse expertise necessary to plan, design, build, and operate your data center efficiently and reliably throughout its entire life cycle.

Good design alone does not guarantee efficient and reliable data center performance over its life span. Understanding what occurs in each data center life cycle phase, the key management tasks and pitfalls, and how one phase impacts others is critical for long-term success. Here are some tips:

1. Plan Phase
Focus on process and determine key project parameters (capacity, criticality, density, efficiency, growth plan, and budget) before selecting a site. And involve experts early on to avoid problems down the road. Properly managed, this phase can have the greatest impact on both the costs and capabilities of your data center.

2. Design Phase
To properly translate plan phase concepts into detailed design and construction documents, owners should choose architects, engineering / design firms, define and document stakeholder roles, and make appropriate changes in line with original requirements. Detailed schematics and construction documents are required for the following phase.

3. Build Phase 
Owners review and approve construction documents — the basis for what is actually built at the chosen site. Owners should review all proposed change orders, decide on their acceptability, and regularly hold progress and quality review meetings.

4. Operate Phase 
In this phase, which is the longest and costliest, your physical infrastructure is housing, powering, cooling, and securing your IT equipment. Owners must foster a “mission critical mentality” amongst operations teams during this phase to ensure interconnectedness of facility and IT systems, effective operations and maintenance, and collaboration.

5. Assess Phase
Often, this phase is neglected because it takes place concurrently with the operate phase. Monitoring performance enables operators to assess physical infrastructure performance on an ongoing basis and yield useful and actionable information to be applied in the operate phase. Using KPIs is a critical element. And there must be a continuous commitment of time and resources, as well as regular reporting.

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