The right equipment vendor can save you time, labor and money.
Data center commissioning is a high pressure, high stakes endeavor. Owners want their facility to start operating as soon as possible to recoup their investment, but contractors must first stress test the data center cooling system, simulating the real life load to ensure the system will adequately protect the multi-million-dollar servers. The faster, more efficiently and more accurately load bank testing is conducted, the better.
Partnering with the right equipment vendor can make a surprisingly big difference in the amount of time and money spent on stress testing. Here are five questions to ask potential vendors to help you find one that has the equipment, expertise and customer service necessary to help ensure a successful outcome on an accelerated timeline.
Do you provide integrated equipment?
In the past, load bank testing required running around to every piece of equipment to check readings and identify data center hot spots. Today, testing equipment can be networked together and connected to a central hub to allow one user to monitor and control all the equipment from a laptop. Networked equipment can potentially free up dozens of engineers, reducing labor costs and speeding the testing process.
Can you support a variety of data center architectures?
Data centers vary in their architecture and design, including where servers are placed and how they are powered and cooled. If you’re testing a new data center architecture, you may want help determining the best testing equipment and the optimal layout to meet your electrical and heat requirements.
Not every vendor can help with that. Some offer only one-size-fits-all load bank solutions. Choose a vendor with the expertise needed to understand your application requirements, furnish the right gear and provide guidance on layouts. Leaning on this type of partner will give you peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll be able to generate the amount of heat you need and have enough power to avoid power-related delays during testing.
Can you get me the equipment I need when I need it?
Waiting for testing equipment that isn’t available due to supply chain issues has become a common problem, one that can prolong data center commissioning. A vendor who will work hand in hand with you upfront to plan your equipment needs well in advance will be better able to provide the equipment you need when you need it.
If unforeseen circumstances cause you to revise your commissioning plan, an experienced vendor who stays in contact throughout the load bank testing process can act fast to offer solutions and equipment, helping you keep your commissioning plan on track.
What kind of customer service do you provide during testing?
Testing data center cooling systems puts a great deal of strain on load banks and related equipment. Equipment failures are almost inevitable. The key is to troubleshoot and solve them quickly so they don’t set the schedule back.
Ask your equipment provider to describe the kind of service they offer. How quickly could they get a technician and/or replacement equipment on site to get the test up and running again? Do they offer 24/7 equipment breakdown coverage?
Can you provide a turnkey load bank testing solution?
Load banks aren’t the only equipment necessary for load bank testing. Ask whether the potential vendor also supplies meters, distribution gear, transformers (if necessary) and any other equipment you’ll need. Partnering with a one-stop shop improves the efficiency of the testing operation, including ordering the equipment, getting it delivered to your site and getting it removed when testing is completed.
Owners can’t afford data center downtime, so testing all critical systems, including data center cooling systems, prior to going live is essential. The faster you can perform load bank testing, the sooner the data center can start generating revenue. Choosing an equipment vendor with deep load bank experience and expertise and a serious commitment to customer service can help you meet or beat your data center commissioning schedule, even in the face of unexpected challenges.