Simplicity Is Eloquence
By Christopher Johnston, PE
In 1936 the world’s Best Airplane Engineer was listening to his Best Test Pilot confess that he felt technically inadequate for his job. The Best Test Pilot said that, when he asked a question of one of the other engineers, he couldn’t understand the reply. The Best Airplane Engineer’s answer was simple and direct, “Jeffrey, if anyone tries to tell you something about an airplane which is so damn complicated that you can't understand it, you can take it from me it's all balls.” While we use different words today, R.J. Mitchell’s reply is timeless and speaks to today’s critical facilities design.
During the same time the renowned physicist Albert Einstein said, “Everything in life should be as simple as possible, but not more simple.” While he was not speaking about critical facilities, his advice is something that we all should take to heart.
Critical facilities by their nature are complex. They are designed by technical people (you and me) who are trying to make the facility as reliable as possible, given (or, in spite of) the available construction budget. Every designer yearns to add an additional redundant component or tie circuit to prove that he/she is the sharpest kid on the block and can get closer to 100% availability than anyone else. Resist this impulse! Adding that redundant component or tie circuit:
- Reduces the availability of the necessary parts.
- Increases construction cost.
- Increases operating expense.
- Reduces availability because those who must operate and maintain the critical facility are often not as technically astute as the designer.
Let’s face it: facilities operators don’t have the luxury of sitting at their desks, sipping a cup of coffee and reviewing the drawings for the fourth time. They must react to failures at a moment’s notice (often with a manager nipping at their heels) and don’t have the luxury of leisurely contemplation.
Our goal should be to make the critical facility as simple as possible. We should resist the siren call to add just one more redundant component, tie circuit or another backup to the backup to the backup. The truly eloquent solution is one that, when we see it, makes us want to slap our head and cry, “That’s so simple – why didn’t I think of it?”
UPCOMING INDUSTRY EVENTS
7x24 Exchange 2008 Fall Conference
November 16-19, 2008
JW Marriott Desert Springs
74855 Country Club Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Lonnie Alexander, PE and Vali
Sorell, PE of Syska Hennessy Group, along
with Carlos Herrera, will be presenting, “Performance & Cost
Comparison of High Density
Presenting: Monday, November 17th at 1:30 PM
Join representatives from Syska Hennessy Group’s National
Critical Facilities Team,
along with Carlos Herrera,
as they compare several vendor
high density cabinet solutions against a baseline open rack
in both total cost of ownership and general performance. Third-Party
testing was performed in a
specialized lab environment
where each solution was measured and assessed for temperature
stability, energy efficiency, fault tolerance and concurrent
maintainability, and comprehensive solution cost. The results
were normalized for deployment in a typical Tier-4 1MW IT load
data center and the associated TCO's calculated. The presentation
describes the test methodology and scope, performance pros & cons,
and concludes with a summary
of the findings.
If you would like to have an informal discussion regarding
this topic with the presenters, please join their Exchange Table
session taking place on Tuesday, November 18th at 7:00 AM.
Syska Hennessy Group has been invited to participate
in the Vendor Knowledge Exchange
Presenting: Tuesday, November 18th at 3:15 PM
James Coe, PE, RCDD, Senior Vice President,
will be presenting, “Syska Hennessy
Data Center Offering of Services.” He will discuss the
numerous offerings that we
new or existing data centers,
- Critical Facilities Balance Sheet Assessments
- Energy Improvement Audits
- Development of Design and Construction Programs (Including
- MEP/FP Design
- IT Cabling Design, Security Design, and/or Audio Visual
- Design of Upgrades or Replacements
- LEED® Certifications
- Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Audits
- Writing O&M Manuals
- Training O&M Staff
- Construction New Data Centers or Upgrades to Existing
Data Centers (<$20M)
- Writing “Methods of Procedure” (MOPs) for
Construction and Maintenance Activities
- Managing Circuit Additions
Check out other upcoming events where
Syska will be presenting on our website >>