The commissioning of a Data Center is critical to the reliability and performance of any new or existing facility. Although commissioning is often the last step in the production of a Data Center, it is one of the most important to the overall success of the the facility. This process starts months before the final closeout of the facility and can last far past completion with routine checkups.
What is Commissioning?
According to the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), commissioning is the “quality-oriented process for achieving, evaluating and documenting that the performance of buildings, systems and assemblies meets defined objectives and criteria.”
This translates into the ability for data centers to have greater longevity, safety, reliability and efficiency to improve ROI. There are 5 Levels to Data Center Commissioning & Testing that most commissioning agencies follow to finalize a Data Center.
Level 1: Factory Witness Testing
This tests the equipment within the facility. Data Center builders outline what is expected of the equipment when purchasing the equipment and the factory witness testing ensures that the equipment is performing to the requirements of the end user and industry standards.
Level 2: Site Acceptance Inspection
Once the equipment is on site, it is inspected by the commissioning agent. This is to ensure that the equipment brought to the site meets the end user’s specifications before it enters the facility.
Level 3: Pre-Functional Testing (PFT)
This is the inspection of the installation of the equipment only. The builder and commissioning agency work together to determine if the equipment was installed correctly and is in compliance with industry requirements and regulations. This is also the first time the equipment is turned over and checked for functionality.
Level 4: Functional Performance Testing
This is additional testing of equipment to ensure that is working as designed and that the fault systems are properly integrating.
Level 5: Integrated Systems Testing (IST)
The final tests that include all systems working together as designed. Numerous tests will occur to create a comprehensive test routine and is added into the Operations & Maintenance Manuals (O&M).