The datacentre industry has come to witness organisations that are trying to combine the latest technologies and innovations together with proven and time-tested data centre infrastructures in an effort to keep the current business running whilst at the same time drive innovation.The rise of the data-driven economy, cloud computing and other technologies have pushed the limits for data centres. Many leading companies now emphasise how service and product innovation provide them a unique differentiating factor by taking advantage of what the latest IT technology has to offer. One of the best ways to sustain this in the long run is through deploying a good data centre strategy.
“Data centres have gone through a strong transformation with a large number of data centre’s, both enterprise as well as co-lo/cloud providers mushrooming across the world. However, due to the rapid growth of the industry together with the relentless speed of innovation of IT and data centre technologies there is a serious shortfall of qualified and experienced personnel” said Edward van Leent, Chairman and CEO of the EPI Group of Companies. EPI is one among those few organisations that have showed the helping hand by creating globally accredited competence based data centre and IT training as well as other data centre services and standards, such as the EPI-DCOS® (Data Centre Operations Standard). EPI-DCOS® is the first and only standard addressing every bit of data centre operations and maintenance requirements. EPI-DCOS® is on track to become the de-facto standard enabling EPI to become a major player in the data centre standards market in addition to its number one position in data centre training and auditing.
The Story behind EPI-DCOS®
About a decade ago, various standards were introduced to the data centre industry that generallyaddress the requirements of the physical design of data centres. However,none of those standards are providing data centre’s with the guidance and benchmark capabilities for the effectiveness, efficiency, integration and maturity of their governance, operations and maintenance processes. Identifying this gap in the industry, EPI embarked on a large project by writing a comprehensive data centre operations and maintenance standard, dubbed EPI-DCOS®. EPI strictly followed the ISO/ANSI processes applied for standards development while developing EPI-DCOS®. The end result was reviewed by more than 40 prestigious organisations operating data centre’s around the globe with different level of complexities and scale.
Data Centre Operational Excellence
Misconception often arises regarding data centres in terms of how important maintenance and process maturity and integration actually is. Traditionally, data centre’s invested heavily in building redundancy in electrical, mechanical and telecommunications infrastructure in the assumption that the more redundancy, the more availability the infrastructure will be able to provide. However, over the years many data centre owner/operators have come to learn that this investment will go to waste when it is not managed appropriately by qualified personnel. There are many examples which have proven that an ANSI/TIA-942 Rated-4 data centre with poor maintenance and operational processes can easily end up performing as bad as a Rated-2 or even Rated-1 whereas, Rated-1 with great processes can operate like a Rated-3 or 4. “Having robust and integrated processes in places will enable data centre’s to succeed in providing consistent quality services to its end-users whilst increasing operational efficiency and at the same time reducing the risk of downtime” noted Edward van Leent.
The Strength of EPI-DCOS®
There are two very important characteristic of EPI-DCOS®. First of all, it is the most comprehensive standard presently available in the market. EPI-DCOS® addresses 11 process domains such as Service Level Management, Organisation, Safety Management, Security Management, Project Management, Facilities Management, Data Centre Operations, Environmental Sustainability, Monitoring / Reporting / Control, Organisational Resilience, Governance, Risk and Compliance.
Secondly, EPI-DCOS® is using the well-known and well-respected 5 levels of process maturity, as described in ISO, ranging from “undefined” all the way up to “under full management control and integrated”. Organisations benchmarking or auditing themselves for conformity to the requirements of EPI-DCOS® are able to benchmark one, any combination or all of the 11 disciplines required to operate and maintain a data centre. This allows organisations to start with a “small” scope and increase the scope if and where desirable. The outcome of the audit enables management to understand the maturity of the processes under scope as well as how different teams within an organisation coordinate and work seamlessly with each other. With this information management can allocate the appropriate resources for improvements that matter most to the business. Additionally, the standard creates platform for common processes at different locations whilst at the same time caters for local requirements. Providing a framework for corporate governance allows data centre’s to meet regulatory compliance, instill trust with its customers and achieve improved levels of efficiency and effectiveness whilst at the same time delivering consistent quality service that meet and exceed the customers expectations.
Moving Forward amidst New Challenges
EPI started its journey in the year 1987 with an objective to deliver data centre infrastructure services. Located in UK since its inception, the company incorporated its second office in Singapore in 1999 which later registered as its global headquarter in 2001 from where the portfolio was extended with data centre auditing, data centre audit certification, data centre consulting and data centre training courses.
Armed with more than sixteen years of experience at EPI, the company is currently served by Edward van Leent, Chairman and CEO, EPI Group of Companies. This in itself is a major achievement given the typical 3-5 year tenure of CEO’s in todays’ technology companies. Also an expert orator, Edward is appreciated across industry circles for the extensive knowledge and practical experience he brings within leadership teams.
Under the leadership of Edward van Leent, EPI slowly, with the course of time, started growing and added offices in the regions of US, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. While closely associated with the ups and downs of the data centre industry,the company has shown strong commitment towards its servicing domain enabling businesses worldwide to design, implement, optimise, test and operate in order to overcome market challenges as well as to meet business objectives.
EPI-DCOS® is the first and only standard addressing every bit of data centre operations and maintenance requirements
EPI continuously strives to understand the current business requirements and new market trends so that they can bring industry best practices and services that add value to the business of their customers. “We make an effort to understand where we can add value to our customers with new training programs as well as surveys, assessments, auditing and audit certification based on standards such as SS507, ANSI/TIA-942, EPI-DOCS® and other relevant international data centre standards,” confirms Edward.
Focus on customer needs
“Having a razor sharp focus on what we know best, the data centre and IT industry, we will keep developing services and our organisation to support our current and future customers.” proudly expounds Edward.Looking at the business through a number of lenses allowed EPI to develop and announce many ‘world firsts’ initiatives such as the EPI-DCOS©,‘DCCF©- Data Centre Competence Framework’ as well as the‘Data Centre Framework’ and the world renowned ‘Data Centre Training Framework’ that covers all aspects of the data centre design and operations and is often referenced by Fortune 500 companies. Together with hiring the best possible talent in the market it has helped EPI to gain trust in the market allowing it to be the world’s largest data centre training, audit and certification organisation and also motivating it to sustain the quality and grow for coming years.