Business people in data center room. Data network management. Co

You finally received the good news from the CIO – “we have the budget to upgrade the data center for next year.”  You have been limping along for the past 5 years with aging infrastructure – hoping that the call you receive over the weekend has anything to do with something other than another outage.  Now you have the funds to fix the problems that you know you have.

But here comes the hard part – assembling the team.  Your job is keeping the data center up and running.  Having preventative maintenance done on your systems is nerving enough.  Now you are ripping and replacing some of the core building blocks of the data center – all the while keeping the IT assets up and running.   One wrong step by a team member could spell disaster.  This may be your first time on a major revitalization project so making all the right moves is critical.

How do you put this team together?  What are the questions to ask of the vendors that you are bringing in?  Some of the questions to ask should include:

  • What experience do you have in working in a live data center?
  • What is your specialty?
    • Product?  If product, are you a manufacturer rep with only one brand to sell or can you work with all the major players?
    • Engineering?  If engineering, are data centers something you dabble in or is it a critical part of your business?
    • Operations?  Do you have engineers on staff who have operated data centers or is operations something you only understand from a high-level?
  • Do your project managers (if you have project managers) specialize in data center builds or are they only generalists?
  • Do they understand that while budget is important, equally important are the number and durations of downtime, risk to continued IT operations and timing overruns?
  • Do they claim to have all the necessary expertise in house, or do they go to the market to find the best of the best?

Interviewing companies is an important venture when planning for your upgrade.  The “A” team that you get during the vetting process is not always the team you get during the project.  They always put their best foot forward during the honeymoon stage but that may not be the same team that shows up when the work starts. Here are some items that belong on your agenda while interviewing potential partners for your mission critical project:

  • Meet the project manager and onsite supervisor that will be running the projects.
  • Inquire about past customers and talk to those companies.  Make sure you hear from past customers who used the same project manager and onsite supervisor that would be assigned to you.
  • Ask the OEMs about who they would recommend for your project and why.
  • Ask your prospective partner who their biggest competitor is and what they do better.

The biggest vendors are not always the best companies for your project– but certainly are the most expensive.  If you are more interested in CYA and job security with the big names, this would play a big part in your decision making.  If you want to do it right with a team that has years of experience in your world, do your homework and find out who those players are.  There are only a few of us that concentrate in your world and we do it well.   We are not your server, network and storage vendors…..we are the guys that handle the facility.

We at 2NSystems would love to know about your next project.  How can we help?  Give us the chance to prove to you that we are the right team.  Let us earn your business.

Written by Peter McGurran – President and Owner, 2NSystems

Contact us at: (952) 657-7006 or

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