In a previous blog, I discussed how Uptime Institute’s M&O Stamp of Approval benefits colocation customers by awarding data center providers who strive for operational excellence. By adhering to a strict set of rules and processes, these providers ensure their customers have a higher level of reliability and uptime.
According to Uptime Institute, the M&O behaviors are divided into five main categories: planning, coordination and management; staffing and organization; training; operating conditions; and maintenance. In this blog, I’ll focus on the staffing and organization component and what it means for data center service providers and their customers.
First, it’s important to point out that Uptime Institute does not prescribe how a data center staff should be organized because they recognize it’s a business decision. Rather, what they’re examining is whether or not an operations team is qualified to do the job they’re doing and how they maintain their qualification. They also want to know if a provider’s vendors are qualified and what requirements are being put on said vendors both behaviorally and contractually.
Many operational mistakes within a data center are due to human error, so part of the M&O process involves investigating if a provider has enough staff to cover necessary functions without burning people out. Uptime Institute’s recommended rule of thumb is no more than 10 percent overtime, recognizing that above 10 percent, the chance for human error increases because of fatigue.
Staffing for Success
To meet the vendor control aspect of the M&O process, Cyxtera Technologies only brings in people who are licensed in the trade they're on-site to support. From electricians to heating and cooling professionals, these people must have the appropriate license(s) for whatever it is they're there to do. We also regularly run an orientation which shows that these individuals, not simply the enterprise for which they work, understand what it means to work in a critical environment and how they will be impacted by those expectations.
Earning the M&O Stamp of Approval is a point of pride in our data centers because the members of our operations team work extremely hard to be ready for the approval process. Not only has every one of them said they found the process to be valuable and educational, they’ve also expressed validation for tasks and processes they were already performing at a high level. One facet we were able to improve upon was the standardization and formalization of our training program. The Uptime assessors deliver valuable feedback on how each of the five areas can be further improved, providing a key input to our continuous improvement efforts in all we do.
Overall, the staffing and organization part of the M&O process verified the processes and guidelines we had in place throughout our data center portfolio and confirmed the expertise of our operations team on many levels. Having independent, third-party validation of our hard work is just icing on the cake.
In the next part of this three blog series, I’ll explain the planning aspect of the M&O process and what Cyxtera has learned from it. In the meantime, visit Uptime Institute to learn more about our M&O achievements.
For a list of our some critical principles for selecting the right data center service provider, view our white papers “Seven Important Considerations When Choosing a Colocation Provider.”