Your new data center build has started. The engineers have returned positive environmental surveys, the foundation is in place, and the build is going exactly on schedule. Then, it happens. The cabling contractor you hired just installed your fiber with end-of-row connections, and the hardware you ordered is configured for top-of-cabinet.
Your data center completion date will be delayed by two weeks because you didn’t have the right oversight on the planning stages of your project. Instead of trying to take on a data center project end-to-end alone, hiring an experienced project manager can save your bacon many times over.
Here are four data center project management challenges you can avoid:
1. Exceeding Project Budget
With the myriad numbers of data center construction costs, it is challenging to account for every expense and price overage. There are costs that may not have been considered in the first place, or there may be scope creep that can cause budget overages.
Using tools like construction cost calculators or hiring experienced planners can help establish realistic estimates of costs based on recently completed projects. Adding some contingency to your cost estimates can also help to mitigate budget overrun.
Consider leasing equipment, instead of buying it outright. And find financing companies that will allow you to swap out aging equipment when leases expire.
2. Keep Project Scheduling on Track
Holding to a timeframe when building a colocation facility or other server facility is as equally challenging as cost. Consider contracting temporary services within a modular data center so your company can deliver services, even if your facility isn’t completed on time. Hiring the right general contractor or project manager with industry experience is mandatory.
Try to find contractors that are willing to assume the responsibility of milestone attainment with financial penalties if milestones are missed. Your feet are likely held to the fire if your hosting or managed technology services don’t meet SLA targets, so why shouldn’t your building contractors be held to the same standard?
3. Securing Resource Availability
Contracting the service providers that can deliver on data center construction phases like raised floor assembly, server rack installation, and air flow ventilation construction can mean you are competing for expertise that is in high demand.
Building relationships with these companies well in advance of your build is critical.
Instead of hiring a bunch of independent contractors to deliver a narrow band of the spectrum of services you require, work with firms that can deliver a wide scope of responsibilities. Shift the responsibility of delegation of tasks to the contractor to dovetail services together, such as:
- Server room cabling
- Cooling system installation
- Server installation and configuration
- Software implementation, testing, and deployment
4. Lack of Change Management Readiness
If there’s an industry that should be prepared for change, it would have to be managed technology services. Expecting the unexpected and having a Plan B to fall back on along the way separates the innovators from the imitators. If one telecommunications contractor isn’t able to deliver your fiber connectivity, you should have telco redundancy from the outset.
Be prepared to swap out the equipment you had in mind for more scalability, elevated security, or faster performance. If demand spikes in advance of your go-live, consider hardware consolidation or virtualization to increase server density and delivery capacity.
Three key data center project management strategies are establishing relationships with service providers, keeping thorough and detailed reports, and being prepared for change. Should you plan to expand your roster of managed hosting or colocation facilities, keep these tips in mind to mitigate risk, and complete your build with minimal delays and manageable cost overage.
Other Related Resources
Have you completed a data center project where project management accelerated, stalled, or derailed the initiative? Tell us about it in the comments section!
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