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5 stages of data center commissioning


A reliable data center is the heart of your business. Any hiccups in its operation could spell a disaster for your day-to-day work. But how can you ensure that your data center will perform properly?

The answer is simple:

by knocking the commissioning process out of the ballpark.

Data center commissioning is a diligent process that is vital to ensuring the quality, functionality, and reliability of a new data center. While it is usually the last step in the process, it also decides the overall success of your new facility. If done properly, commissioning will improve the performance of the data center throughout its life cycle.

This is the reason why you need to be familiar with everything commissioning entails - especially the five stages required to make it happen:

Factory witness testing

The first stage occurs within the factory of the equipment manufacturer. The builders of the data center sketch out what they expect of the mission-critical equipment, as well as the testing protocols in their purchase specs. 

Factory witness testing ensures that the manufacturer is familiar with the owner's expectations before the equipment is greenlit and shipped to the site.

This is the step that sets up the success of the entire commission process, so it’s important to get it right.

Site acceptance inspection

Next, the commissioning agent takes over. Once the equipment arrives at the premises, it must be thoroughly inspected. This is to verify that the equipment is up to the end-users specifications as in many cases, the equipment won’t match the owner's standards. 

This must be addressed right away, especially if you want to make sure that data center costs stay within the budget.

Pre-functional testing

In this step, both the builder and the commissioning agent work in tandem to establish if the equipment was installed properly and if it meets operator standards and compliance requirements.

Additionally, this also marks the first time that the equipment is powered up and checked for functionality.

Functional performance testing

Even though the equipment is already started up and the brunt of the review is completed, there is still work to be done. 

Additional testing certifies that everything is working properly and the fault systems are correctly integrated.  For instance, putting the equipment through a full cycle is necessary to assess the performance in all settings.

Integrated systems testing

The last stage is the final reliability test for a new data center which includes all systems working properly together. 

One example of IST is cutting off power while all the systems are operational. If all goes well, the backup power will kick in and there will be a seamless transition to a secondary source of power with no interruptions to the cooling system. 

After this, all the tests will be compiled into the operation and maintenance manuals to form a comprehensive test routine.