Pop Quiz, Hotshot: Test Your Data Center IQ

April 18, 2016
In this week’s Voice of the Industry, Dan Draper of Emerson Network Power share some insights from the recent Data Center IQ Survey Report.

In this week’s Voice of the Industry, Dan Draper, Director of Programs for Emerson Network Power shares some insights from the recent Data Center IQ Survey Report.

Dan Draper is Director of Programs for Emerson Network Power

Some of the smartest people I know work in the data center. Think about it — you need to be an expert in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, thermal dynamics, physical security, virtual security, asset inventory, supply chain, energy regulations, building codes and so much more.

That’s a lot of skills to master. So to help data center professionals identify their strengths and weaknesses, Emerson Network Power and the Ponemon Institute partnered to develop a data center IQ quiz, with 25 multiple-choice, knowledge-based questions — and an additional 12 operating practice questions to see if the respondents practice what they know about data center operations.

The 570 data center professionals who took the quiz answered questions that covered five areas key to data center performance: cost management, availability, productivity, speed-of-deployment and risk management. Quiz questions ranged from the simple, such as what does PUE stand for, to the complex, such as identifying the seven capabilities a DCIM tool must provide.

Needless to say, the results of the IQ quiz were fascinating and fun, despite being completely unscientific. The average score was 9.4 out of 25 (we gave partial credit for multi-answer questions like the DCIM attributes). Colocation operators ranked the highest among industries with a score of 12, and data center operators aged 30 to 49 scored the best among age brackets (thus proving the old adage ‘With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone’).

Some of the interesting results: respondents scored high on the knowledge that most data centers are raising their temperatures, but only 25% of data center professionals knew that battery failure was the #1 root cause of data center downtime.

My favorite take away from the entire IQ quiz was the results of the first three questions:
1. What does PUE stand for?
2. True or False? A PUE calculation includes the lighting of the data center
3. What is your most recent PUE calculation for your primary data center?
I’ll summarize by simply saying that 87% “know” their PUE, but only 32% know what it stands for and only 50% know what goes in the calculation! Just the kind of enigma that makes quizzes like this so interesting.

Besides the trivia, we also asked benchmark operational questions — no right or wrong answer here, just seeing if people are actually following the best practices or trends that they know about. So while the quiz showed that we as an industry know data center temperatures are rising, but the majority of respondents stated that their temperatures were 71 degrees or below. Interesting from a report perspective – and a great conversation for data center practitioners to have with their teams.

The Data Center IQ Survey Report is part of the Data Center Performance Benchmark Series, an industry-wide perspective covering the issues of security, productivity, speed-of-deployment and cost-to-support compute capacity. You can read the complete report, which includes results for each question as well as an analysis of aggregate results by industry, data center size, and participants’ age and functional role, here.

More importantly (and more fun), you can also take a condensed 15-question version of the IQ quiz and compare your results to others’, here. Send it to your team, run a competition and see how you do. Then go brush up on the topics you need some tutoring on!

Dan is Director of Programs for Emerson Network Power and is currently focused on identifying emerging IT infrastructure trends and educating data center operators on new data center infrastructure technology and design innovations.

About the Author

Voices of the Industry

Our Voice of the Industry feature showcases guest articles on thought leadership from sponsors of Data Center Frontier. For more information, see our Voices of the Industry description and guidelines.

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