Just wondering...how many of you facility folks have a good working relationship with your IT department? What is your biggest complaint?
We seem to have a fairly decent relationship. They do not always agree on our enviromental standards and feel that the Data Halls should be colder. Old school. They feel superior, however they do not understand power or the equipment housed in the Data Halls respective to physical & electrical concepts. If this makes any sense to you.
The relationship has never been adversarial.
As viewed from the Facilities standpoint, early on, it was "Put the Servers In, NOW."
Followed by, "Gee, you didn't tell me that there wasn't enough cooling for the addition."
Which is followed by, "You didn't tell us you were adding anything!"
Then, with everything running at 100% we lost a compressor, and things in the Server Room started to shutdown for lack of cooling.............. $15,000+ in hardware replacement cost (Not including the compressor) opened a lot of eyes.
IT went through a management realignment after that one. New cooling was added, and power problems are being addressed on a common level. We discuss it all before we do anything.
Sometimes you just have to burn your fingers after being told the stove is hot......................
Not Tier 3 yet, but better than the less than Tier 1 we had before.
the relationship between IT and Facilities has been strained usually due to a
lack of understanding of the goals and objectives of each group. In today’s enterprise, Facility Managers must now become expert in
areas that were not traditionally part of the facilities management
discipline. The Facility Manager’s role is expanding with the
organization’s need for controlling the availability and security of its
information assets. The structure that has worked best for our organization
is the integration of the two areas under one division - Information Systems.
This is an operational structure that seems to be a growing trend in the
business. I actually report to the IS Division and direct the enterprise
business continuity program & data center strategy (from a physical
infrastructure perspective - power; cooling; space management; systems
provisioning; asset management).
counterpart is responsible for data center operations (control room operations;
infrastructure systems management; change control; etc.). We work together to
ensure that the data center infrastructure can meet the requirements for
continued business growth, while managing the physical infrastructure necessary
to meet those needs. For this to be successful, there must be a method to
provide constant visibility of the data center physical infrastructure capacity
vs. upcoming projects that will have additional infrastructure requirements. My
staff forwards weekly reports on data center capacity (power; space; cooling)
that provides everyone a visual o keep everyone aware of the current capacity
level and when we will reach our maximum operational limit. Also, all
system installations must be approved by our area (Physical Capacity Management
team) and they are responsible for doing the installations. This enables us to
control whatequipment is being installed in the data center based on the power,
space, and cooling availability, since we are the ones that provide installation
continuity is of the utmost importance and failure is not an option. While the organization still looks to us for technical
expertise, new regulations and accounting processes compel us to maintain
physical asset information and tighter controls. The Facility Manager in my
organization is now directly accountable for physical asset management,
compliance and operational efficiency – all which assists us in reducing the
Total Cost of Ownership.
of installing systems at will, without knowing the total effects on the data center infrastucture is long
I recently went through a ten year
IT and facilities experience that involved interfacing the Building Automation
System. Toward the end is was reciting strings of octets and asking myself how
I turned into such a geek.
I had a large university and
medical center system with over 60,000 points. Many challenges came up as we
evolved deeper into the IT world from our traditional hard wire trunks. Early
on I hired the service manager from a local computer company for support. I
paid about $75 per hour. The first visit I asked him to spend four hours
looking over what we had. The BAS system and communication were quite easy for
him to understand. I brought him in for an IT “needs” meeting. Present were the
IT manager, an IT upper level tech, my IT consultant, and me, a facilities
manager. The techs talked, the managers kept it zipped, and we made significant
progress. I maintained good technical consultants over the next few years and
eventually osmosis won me the extra job of facilities private network project
Our first problems came with BAS
user licensing. Spanning firewalls, forward and back handshakes across multiple
servers, communication time outs, DHCP, as well as MAC address masking and more
all contributed to many hours of poor service to the facility users. My final
take away was that the IT group was good at setting up a work station for a PC
and getting email to work. A large interactive system communicating independent
of people needed more of a team approach.
On a system that interfaces with a
BAC or a web-based facilities management program one needs a dedicated “go to”
person in both IT and facilities. Written guidelines and standards need to be
Our facilities private network was
nearly three years from design to construction. I was with the IT tech
installing one of the last switches. It was a
new CISCO combination copper/fiber capable of VLAN-ing the individual ports. He
explained this and I looked up and asked “With this type switch we would not
have needed to build the complete private network, would we?” He said “Right.”
That is when I knew I had learned too much.
Still working with the "Site Manager", who is head of the data center, to develop a trust that we will deliver the power and cooling capacity he needs. He wants to be involved with all decisions affecting the building and infrastructure operations but does not have the time or skill set to make those decisions. He is slowly beginning to realize that the Facility Management group can meet his needs without his involvement. We are also getting a seat at the table in developing changes in the equipment used on the data center floor. That was accomplished by pointing out a change in configuration on a plan which saved him time and money as well as reduced the resources needed from the critical infrastructure for continued operations.
Too long, others have had an image of "just maintenance" for the Facility Management group. We need to prove that we are professionals who have an interest in what the users of our buildings are doing and can help them to better use the capablities we manage. Sometimes this means initially sticking your nose into their business and getting it bloodied; but, if we go in prepared to show we do add value and are not just maintenance people, we earn that seat at the table. I once recommended that a group could hold a meeting outside under the trees on a site that had fantastic landscaping. The idea became so popular that we started having to schedule trees to avoid conflicts. Suddenly stuffy staff meetings were popular and much better attended.
Many times, I have been told that maintenance people should be invisible. Maintenance and repairs need to be done at night so no one knows that work was done. While I do not disagree with doing work when it is least disruptive, a Facility Manager should not be invisible. Make sure your customer knows that work was done but asking if they are satisfied with the results. Sometimes the improvements are invisible to the site users, in that case the improved capabilities of the site must be brought to the attention of the users so they know it is there. Make recommendations to the site users as to how they can better use the site resources to accomplish the goals of their business. Suddenly, you are a partner to their business and can provide them with forward looking capabilities.
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