Sep 8, 2015

Integrated Systems Testing for Data Centers


HorizonIQ data centers are designed to provide a reliable and redundant environment for customers. One of the ways we verify that a facility meets our design standards is through Integrated Systems Testing (IST), which is performed as part of a data center commissioning program.

The IST includes but is not limited to turning off the main utility power to ensure that backup systems work. In addition, this test pushes the limits of the systems (primary and redundant) to ensure that they respond properly.

At HorizonIQ, we perform functional and integrated systems tests at our sites to ensure availability and operation. Most sites go through a once-a-year series of tests to ensure the systems perform as designed. An IST can be an intrusive test for existing data centers; therefore, special procedures and tests are performed for all data centers that are occupied to ensure that customers are not impacted.

Multiple levels of commissioning (Cx) or testing are required. Below is an in-depth summary from Primary Integration Solutions, a commissioning agent that HorizonIQ has worked with on several projects.

Level One – Factory Witness Testing
One of the key success factors in factory witness testing is to have a clearly defined test protocol in the purchase specification. This ensures that each supplier is providing a common test program allowing a better comparison of each manufacturer’s value proposition. In addition, it prevents substandard testing approaches from being submitted after award of the order. To achieve these goals, the Cx agent and HorizonIQ team will work with the project team to fully specify the testing that is desired at the manufacturer’s facility.

Level Two – Site Acceptance Inspection
The acceptance of equipment as it is delivered to the construction site is the responsibility of the installing contractor, however, it is a great opportunity to verify that all components have been shipped and any loose items have been inventoried and stored in a secure location.

Level Three – Pre Functional Testing & Start Up
The pre functional check and startup of the commissioned system is the responsibility of the installing contractor and manufacturer-authorized technician. Project specific PFT checklists will be prepared by HorizonIQ and the Cx agent and distributed to the installing contractors.

Level Four – Functional Performance Testing
The verification of equipment and system operations during functional performance testing is the last point in the building commissioning process where major issues are expected to be unearthed. The majority of the issues should have been identified earlier in the commissioning program

Level Five – Integrated Systems Testing
The Integrated System Test (IST) is pinnacle of the commissioning program, and the performance of these activities demonstrates the performance of the facility as a whole against the owner’s project requirements. The commissioned systems are operated at various loads and in various modes to demonstrate fully automated operation and proper response to equipment failures and utility problems.

Ultimately, these tests ensure that HorizonIQ data centers perform in accordance with our requirements and provide a more reliable, available environment for our customers.

Conducting ISTs and working with a commissioning authority is also part of the LEED certification process, and HorizonIQ has successfully achieved LEED Platinum, Silver, and Gold certifications across multiple data centers.

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