The Green grid produced a nice model called the DCMM the Data Center Maturity Model. I just plotted it with our large format plotter. Yes you can’t just print it it’s a full blown A0 format poster completely filled with 10 point text on every subject involved in creating an energy efficient DCs. Its an impressive summation of a mixture of best practices and intermediate goals. My colleague asked me with a bit of wondering in his voice: Are you gonna read this all? I replied ye maybe. I now taped the poster to the closed whiteboard in my office so I can role with my chair to it and read it bit by bit. I am now rolling between my desk and the poster reading the accompanying white paper of tgg and I try to figure out how to use all this.
It comes up that just identifying the areas where we can improve doesn’t help in getting results. The thing what is missing is a Vision. And that’s the moment where operational excellence comes in. If you want to improve it works much better if you set goals based on your vision. The Green Grid want data centers to become mature, but like a high school student who wants to enrol on MIT maturity stands for reaching a Goal. If the student doesn’t learn he eventually will become mature but he won’t reach his goal. Look on Wikipedia under operational excellence and you get a first taste what I try to say.
Long time ago I lead the project at Minkels to redesign the sheet metal production facility. In the beginning we were all talking about the kind of machines we would need but didn’t know what to reach until after several long discussions it crystalized to the next goals. We must keep production competitive in a high wage country. With an increasing demand on individual tailored solution for our customers. We translated this in the following strategy.
-the facility must be able to produce unmanned during 8 hours. (overall low staffing highly automated)
-The facility must be optimized for running efficiently for small batches. Ultimately reaching a batch size of 1 product with a setup time per production step of 0 minutes.
Yes there where a lot of sub goals but we could always relate them to our vision and strategy.
The same is true in the improvement of your data centre. Create a vision on which your acting is based. Only then it is possible to pick the correct best practices and develop a strategy. Develop the KPI’s you can use to measure your improvement. And yes it is possible like explained in tgg maturity model to gradually improve but in practice this doesn’t always give the best result. If possible make major leaps. Improving the mileage with my car could be done by changing my driving style but the switch to driving a hybrid car gave the actual change. Installing a cold corridor will help improving the PUE but building a new DC with fresh air cooling and a large volume approach will give you far more benefits in reaching operational excellence. But whatever your goals will be measure your performance otherwise you will never find out if you reached your goals. In the Sheet Metal factory we measure the successful unmanned moments. Being every unmanned shift without a disturbance. PUE can be a good start for your DC. Start simple get an impression of what is realistic goal and go for it.