Request a demo
Pricing overview Request a demo
Core utilities:
System and Test view Checklist for Cx and QA/QC Planning and scheduling Dashboards and analytics Your Template Center AI engine for Cx teams Review and markup files 3D model viewer
Construction projects Data centers Oil & Gas and Renewables Mechanical Manufacturers
Blog Cx newsletter Commissioning 101 The book about commissioning
Help articles and information Live chat-support Contact-us

The Guide to Data Center
Commissioning with CxPlanner

Commissioning as an integrated tool in data center projects ensuring uptime and reliability with a structured process and testing.

Icon Introduction:

With the growth of digital data and the expanding use of cloud computing, the demand for data centers has surged in recent years. From hyperscale facilities to edge computing deployments, new data centers are emerging at a remarkable pace. However, we have also seen an increase in the requirements for these.

Testing EPOD's - the electrical infrastructure

This article focuses on the commissioning of data centers, with a particular emphasis on the Electrical Point of Delivery (EPOD).

The EPOD is a critical component of data center infrastructure, serving as the central hub for electrical distribution and power management. By examining the commissioning process for the EPOD, we can gain insights into the essential procedures and best practices for ensuring the reliability, efficiency, and safety of data center operations.

Commissioning overview of data center EPOD

Ensuring the uptime is critical

A failure in a data center can have major impacts on a company, so that’s one of the core items which must be avoided! From the initial design phase to ongoing maintenance, meticulous testing and documentation are critical components. These tools are combined into the commissioning process for data centers.

In an era where downtime can have far-reaching consequences, thorough testing and meticulous documentation serve as pillars of assurance, providing stakeholders with the confidence that data center infrastructure will perform as intended.

Icon Commissioning as a Standard Utility in Data Center Projects

Commissioning is a standard practice employed in data center projects to ensure that all systems and components operate according to design specifications and meet performance criteria. It involves a systematic approach to testing, verifying, and documenting the functionality of critical infrastructure, including power distribution, cooling systems, and security measures.

A notable aspect of commissioning in data center projects is the implementation of levels-testing. These levels represent a progressive approach to testing and validation, ranging from basic functionality checks to comprehensive performance assessments. By adhering to levels-testing protocols, data center professionals can systematically evaluate and optimize the reliability, efficiency, and safety of infrastructure components, thereby minimizing risks and maximizing uptime. A key element here is to find potential errors as early as possible.

Icon Initiating the Commissioning Process: Understanding the scope

In the context of a data center, the commissioning process typically encompasses a wide range of systems and components, collectively known as the EPOD. This EPOD includes critical infrastructure elements essential for the operation and performance of the facility.

The EPOD - building the testing structure

An EPOD in the context of a data center refers to a centralized location where essential electrical infrastructure components converge to distribute power and support critical operations.

This includes components such as LV switchboards, fire suppression systems, CRAC units, UPS systems, electrical distribution panels, and environmental monitoring systems.

Using the EPOD as an example allows for a comprehensive overview of commissioning procedures, covering a diverse range of critical infrastructure elements essential for the reliable and efficient operation of the data center.

Commissioning test of data center structured with level 1 and 2

The scope of the EPOD

The scope of commissioning within the EPOD may include, but is not limited to, the following components:

LV Switchboards (Low Voltage):
LV switchboards form the backbone of the electrical distribution system within the data center, responsible for distributing power from the incoming utility supply to various loads, including servers, networking equipment, and cooling systems. Commissioning activities for LV switchboards involve verifying proper installation, conducting insulation resistance tests, and ensuring correct operation under load conditions.

Fire Suppression Systems:
Fire suppression systems are integral to safeguarding data center infrastructure and personnel from the risk of fire-related incidents. Commissioning of these systems involves testing the functionality of fire detection devices, suppression agents, and control panels, as well as verifying integration with other building management systems for coordinated response in the event of a fire.

CRAC Units (Computer Room Air Conditioning):
CRAC units play a crucial role in maintaining optimal environmental conditions within the data center, including temperature and humidity control to ensure the reliable operation of IT equipment. Commissioning activities for CRAC units may include airflow testing, temperature calibration, and validation of redundancy configurations to mitigate the risk of overheating and equipment failure.

UPS Systems (Uninterruptible Power Supplies):
UPS systems provide critical backup power to data center infrastructure in the event of utility power outages or disruptions. Commissioning of UPS systems involves testing battery capacity, transfer switch functionality, and load balancing to ensure seamless transition to backup power and uninterrupted operation during emergency scenarios.

Electrical Distribution Panels:
Electrical distribution panels distribute power from LV switchboards to individual IT racks and equipment within the data center. Commissioning activities for distribution panels include circuit testing, phase balancing, and verification of ground fault protection to optimize electrical distribution efficiency and reliability.

Environmental Monitoring Systems:
Environmental monitoring systems continuously monitor key parameters such as temperature, humidity, and airflow within the data center environment. Commissioning activities for these systems involve sensor calibration, alarm testing, and integration with building management systems to enable proactive management of environmental conditions and early detection of potential issues.

By delineating the scope of commissioning activities within the EPOD, data center professionals can effectively plan and execute the commissioning process, ensuring the robustness, reliability, and compliance of critical infrastructure components essential for the operation of the facility.

Icon Commissioning Levels: An approach to testing

In the commissioning process for data centers, testing is conducted at various levels to ensure thorough validation of infrastructure components and systems. These levels, ranging from Level 1 to Level 5, represent a progressive approach to testing, with each level building upon the previous one to achieve comprehensive verification and validation.

For a more detailed exploration of commissioning levels and their significance in the data center industry, refer to this guide on Data center levels and Commissioning testing.

Gantt planning of commissioning level tests in a data center

Icon Managing Commissioning of an EPOD with CxPlanner

Managing the commissioning of an EPOD in a data center requires planning, structured execution, and documentation to ensure that all components are tested and verified. CxPlanner offers a solution for efficiently managing the commissioning process for an EPOD, providing structured workflows, automated documentation, and compliance management features tailored to the specific requirements of data center environments.

Structured Workflows:
CxPlanner provides structured workflows that guide users through each stage of the commissioning process for an EPOD, from initial planning (Level 1) to final documentation handover (Level 6). It offers predefined templates and checklists for tests, verifying functionality, and documenting results, ensuring consistency and adherence to best practices.

Task Assignment and Tracking:
With CxPlanner, tasks related to commissioning verification activities can be easily assigned to team members, tracked in real-time, and monitored for completion. This facilitates effective collaboration among stakeholders, streamlines communication, and ensures that commissioning activities progress according to schedule.

Automated Documentation Generation:
One of the key benefits of using CxPlanner for managing the commissioning of an EPOD is its ability to automate documentation generation. Upon completion of commissioning activities, the software automatically generates comprehensive documentation packages, including test reports, compliance certificates, and equipment records, eliminating the need for manual document creation and reducing the risk of errors.

Compliance Management:
CxPlanner facilitates compliance management by aligning commissioning activities with industry standards, regulations, and best practices. It offers predefined requirements and criteria for achieving compliance with standards such as the Uptime Institute's Tier Classification system, ensuring that data center infrastructure meets the necessary resilience and redundancy levels.

Enhanced Efficiency, Transparency and Logging:
CxPlanner enhances efficiency and transparency in the commissioning process by streamlining workflows, automating repetitive tasks, and providing real-time visibility into commissioning activities. It keeps track of the project's audit-log so you always know what happened and what time.

In summary, CxPlanner offers a robust solution for managing the commissioning of an EPOD in a data center, providing structured workflows, automated documentation, compliance management features, and risk mitigation capabilities. By leveraging CxPlanner, data center professionals can streamline the commissioning process, ensure compliance with industry standards, and enhance the reliability and performance of critical infrastructure components within the EPOD.

Sign up and become part of the Cx network and upgrade your skills