Location: Macon, GA – Dealing with a legacy data center and the need to refresh the critical infrastructure can be a daunting task. A key to success in this endeavor is communication. In the world of mission critical, all players must present clear methods of procedure prior to execution of the project, including the IT manager, facility manager, electrical engineer, vendor representatives, construction manager, and the rest of the participating parties. When clear methods of procedure are present, everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and how to do it. This will not only allow the work space to flow with ease, but jobs will be completed with accuracy.

Case Study Details

In this study, the building had reached its limits with the existing UPS, PDU’s, and generator. New IT equipment was scheduled to arrive in a matter of months so planning and execution was on a narrow time frame. However, with JLJ, narrow time frames are something we embrace. We know that life and its curveballs don’t always give a lot of time.

The electrical engineer, facility manager, and construction manager held the initial conference and IT provided what was to be installed with power usage. Evaluation of the current load and capacity made it clear that upgrades were needed. Now came the real challenge: lead times, reality checks, and Tums.  When you learn that a normal sequence of attack is not viable, thinking outside the box becomes a necessity.

The determination was a three-pronged attack:

  • Upgrade the outdated critical power equipment immediately
  • Setup temporary power for critical loads that exceeded the ability of the building’s critical infrastructures
  • Put in place plans for long term building external power upgrades.

Although this is not the optimal way to go about this, with critical loads growing and timelines expiring, solutions were needed.

The Legacy Data Center Challenge

The process grew more challenging when the older switch gear, breakers, and wiring started to show their frailty. When it became obvious that critical load wiring between the switch gear and the UPS was beyond its life on a Sunday afternoon, choosing the right vendor at the beginning was worth its weight in gold. Within hours, we had the wiring needed to continue the project without hindering our full shutdown schedule.

After the upgrades were made, a second building outage was needed. Communication between the construction manager and the local power company became vital since the building needed to be shut down from the street. Now the new temporary power system could be installed so timelines could be met. In the end, the full upgrade needed to the building has not been completed. Yet the needed fixes to accommodate the new equipment have been put in place and are running efficiently.

Lessons from the Case Study

It’s important to adapt in every situation. No situation is alike but every situation will help us learn more and be better for our clients. When we listened carefully and communicated clearly, the process as a whole was smoother. Everyone kept in clear communication which allowed for the work to be done effectively and accurately. Lastly, choosing competent vendors allowed for all hiccups to be handled with ease.

Challenges with legacy data center projects are very common. However, with the right team these challenges can be overcome and goals can be accomplished.