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How data centers can gain an edge from integrated systems testing

How data centers can gain an edge from integrated systems testing


Data centers face a tougher competitive landscape than ever before.

Driven by unprecedented growth, and cemented into our modern infrastructure, data has become one of your customer’s most important assets.

It’s no longer enough for your customers to collect more data than their competition. They must be able to process, apply and leverage that data into a distinct advantage. And at the 24/7/365 pace of the digitally-powered business world, they must be able to do so faster and easier than their competition. Without interruption.

In other words, buying decisions are increasingly made based on two factors:

  1. Your ability to ensure virtually 100-percent uptime
  2. And greater computing efficiency than your competition — better, faster and larger-scale data processing — in less storage space

Data centers serve a new, more important role. And every decision you make today can be crucial to your standing in the marketplace tomorrow. It starts as early as testing.

Gone are the days of last-minute commissioning.

For data centers to succeed today, testing should be conducted as early and exhaustively as possible. And none is more important than integrated systems testing, which helps you discover threats to your uptime and data processing inefficiencies before entering the market or investing additional CAPEX.

In this post, you’ll gain more insight on why early and effective integrated systems testing is critical for data centers to win now and in the foreseeable future.

What is integrated systems testing?

Integrated systems testing (IST) is the fifth and final level of data center commissioning.

It tests a data center’s backup system, including utilities, for its capacity to run at full power and avoid disrupting customer operations in an emergency.

Downtime is always a core concern for your customers but becomes even more important when emergencies strike. Integrated systems testing ensures the transition to backup power is seamless and customer impact is minimized.

Integrated systems tests must strike the balance between universal standards and an individual data center’s unique continuity risks, like equipment or environmental factors.

All integrated systems testing includes either:

(a) Free-standing loadbanks sized to test entire halls, or

(b) rack-mountable loads for precise testing at the point an individual server will be situated

What are the benefits of integrated systems testing?

The best integrated systems tests help you:

  • Ensure uptime for your data center by simulating varying power and cooling scenarios that could interfere with continuity
  • Get accurate, real-time diagnostics with digital-enabled portable heat load banks
  • Meet or exceed customer demands, without delaying time to market.

Primary benefits include:

  • Significantly reduced downtime
  • Benchmarking for data enablement efficiency
  • Lower lifecycle costs

As well as enhanced safety and the potential for increased returns.

Best practices are to run integrated systems testing as early as possible when commissioning a new data center, plus once a year as part of a maintenance plan.

Here’s why.

Data is an asset your customers can’t afford to lose.

Many companies now view data as an asset and integral to their competitive advantage.

Why? Data has three qualities that make it ideal for companies to double down on:

  1. Proprietary data is easier than ever to collect
  2. Data is highly leverageable
  3. The more data a company collects, the greater their potential for an edge in their market

In the world today, data means as much as anything for a business. And with the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain, our assets, and the ways we distribute them, are increasingly digital.

Any degree of downtime is out of step with our world’s demands. And your customers have more options, and less patience, than your retention rates can tolerate.

Customers expect superior uptime and computational efficiency, regardless of your situation. Therefore, your backup utilities must be able to go live instantaneously with the same efficiency as primary utilities.

Any negative impact on your customers, no matter how small, and you risk losing them to your competition. Your data center — and your customers — have too much to lose.

The “one-size-fits-all” commissioning test no longer works.

The market no longer has a place for cookie-cutter centers.

Each colocation or hyperscale customer may share a common baseline, but the realities of how companies consume and share data are specific: traffic patterns, applications, demand change and more.

Your data center must be capable of leading your customer base in reliable access and efficient enablement, with a focus on flexibility to match individual requirements.

Legacy data centers and the testing approaches designed for them are outdated. And their faults are magnified in a time where technology and innovation are often the very things that set companies, and the data centers that serve them, apart.

Early testing is a big help, but it’s far from everything. Tailored testing is the solution to exceeding market demands, customer expectations and your competition.

Data infrastructure demands usher a new level of competition.

Our work and personal lives are moving online. And that trend isn’t just accelerating, it’s entrenching. More and more, we view online access through the same lens as utilities, safety services and public health. Meaning: always available, no matter what.

Our behavior as consumers impacts our expectations as business decision-makers. And just like we struggle to tolerate interruptions to our personal lives, and flat out deny downtime in our public services, we expect data uptime to be as painless as turning a faucet.

And competition is rising rapidly to justify that assumption.

The centers that are safe, reliable and most prepared are positioned to gain and keep the most business. Properly approached integrated systems testing makes sure data centers can capitalize and keep customer growth, without fear of lost uptime.

Final thoughts

Not all data centers are created equal. Neither are the tests designed to support them. For your data center to build a stable competitive edge in a supremely competitive market, you must be able to get ahead of the escalating demands you face.

By testing and adapting your backup systems early, you prepare your data center to solve your customer’s most pressing pain point: continuity.

With our extensive experience in hundreds of use cases, climate conditions (volatile weather) and criteria, Aggreko’s approach to integrated systems testing helps your data centers achieve the standards your market demands while improving uptime, efficiency and redundancy across the lifecycle.

Learn more about our solutions for data centers