Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability enhances ENTEL’s services to customers
By Kevin Heslin
ENTEL began operations in 1964 as a provider of national and international long distance telephone services to companies in Chile. Today it is a consolidated provider of integrated telecommunication services and information technologies services, meeting the needs of corporations and large companies through tailored solutions, providing value, experience, and quality of service.
The company began operations in the aftermath of an earthquake that severely damaged the Chilean telecommunications network. More recently it added more services. Towards the end of 1995, ENTEL started to provide Internet connection services and in 1997 it introduced the first commercial network with ATM technology in Latin America, which evolved into the current Multiservice IP network in order to offer broadband solutions, guarantee quality of service, and add value to its clients. Today ENTEL offers Information Technology (IT) services, which vary according to the industrial segment and business model of each client, allowing competitive efficiencies and advantages that differentiate ENTEL from traditional telecommunications services.
As part of its offerings, ENTEL also offers a number of data center services to more than 3,000 clients. It owns and operates a network of five data centers that are certified under ISO 9001-2000 and ISO 27001 standards. In addition, two of them are Tier III Gold Certified Constructed Facility and one has the M&O Stamp of Approval.
Data Center Infrastructure
ENTEL has five data centers located in Amunátegui, Pedro de Valdivia, Ñuñoa, Longovilo, and Ciudad De Los Valles that are linked through high availability and high capacity IP/MPLS/DWDM These data centers have in excess of 7,500 square meters (m2) of data hall space with plans to expand to 11,675 m2. From these data centers, ENTEL offers IT outsourcing services, from server hosting to more complex services involving operation and exploitation of the platforms that support clients’ business processes. These data center services meet the needs of companies’ most vital applications, improving security and protection of critical data and reducing considerably their infrastructure investments. ENTEL’s IT strategy is based on traditional data center services and growth in cloud services and permanent innovation.
ENTEL first offered data center services in 2003 and is now Chile’s largest provider. To this end, ENTEL has staffed its facilities with more than 120 professionals and management devoted to implementation and operation of data center Infrastructure projects
Thanks to its team of specialists with extensive experience, the IT challenges faced by ENTEL have been met entirely in-house. Of particular note are the Ciudad de los Valles 1 and 2 facilities, each offering 2,000 m2 of white space. Ciudad de los Valles 1 (CDLV1) entered production in May 2010, and Ciudad de los Valles 2 (CDLV2) entered production in March 2013 (see The Uptime Institute Journal, vol. 2, p. 64). Both are Tier III Gold Certified Constructed Facilities (see Figure 1). Both received Tier Certification for Operational Sustainability in October 2015 (see Table 1). Josué Ramírez, Uptime Institute, director of Business Development LATAM, “With these Certifications, ENTEL shows it commitment to seeking excellence in its operations to provide better services to its clients and to contribute to the development of knowledge and professionalism in the region of Latin America.”
Rich Van Loo, Uptime Institute, VP Facility Management Services, said, “The Tier Certification and Operational assessments have had a broad impact on not only the data center management divisions, but the company environment as a whole. Operational procedures not only reduce risk but help improve consistency and efficiency in those operations. ENTEL is looking to expand this philosophy to all their data centers.“
ENTEL began construction of a third facility in 2015 at Ciudad de los Valles. This will add an additional 2,000 m2 of white space. The new facility incorporates free-cooling technologies that achieve better energy efficiency and lower total costs of ownership for clients.
Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability
To differentiate itself from its competitors, ENTEL became the first to Tier Certify its facilities. As a result, ENTEL decided to further differentiate itself by earning Uptime Institute’s Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability for CDLV 1 and 2. This decision was based on client demand for excellence of service, risk mitigation, and assurance of operational continuity.
ENTEL believes that
- Risk management should be approached as a team, leaving no room for assumptions or improvisation
- Planning and later exhaustive review of activities should have an integral perspective, which allows risk to be controlled, mitigated, and contained
- Planning activities and teamwork generate a virtuous circle of shared knowledge and learning
- Empirical verification that continuous improvement is key to mitigating human error in Operations
The Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability (TCOS) was an excellent way to reach these goals and why a new internal organization was dedicated to defining data center operations activities and a second team was tasked to leading the effort to earn the Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability.
In addition, ENTEL created an Infrastructure Change Control Board (CCI), specific to Datacenter Infrastructure Management, with the purpose of establishing planning and control of activities in each data center. This Board is a consulting body. It meets periodically and manages, reviews, and approves infrastructure management projects to data centers.
Scope of the Infrastructure Change Control Board (CCI)
Although ENTEL had previously adopted the ITIL model and established a Change Advisory Board (CAB) that validates and approves all activities in the IT and data center infrastructure environment, it was determined to create the CCI because of the degree of specialization of infrastructure work and the risk associated with it. Its focus is to raise risk points associated to high-impact activities and ascertain control points, e.g. cells, transformers, generators, UPS, towers and chillers, where the system redundancy could be lost.
A summary of the type of work evaluated and documentation to be reviewed follows (see Table 2):
The CCI is intended to ensure that the good practices characteristic of Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability are respected and that all documentation and instructions are kept thoroughly valid, that they are applied, and are subject to continuous improvement.
In order to increase ENTEL’s familiarity with the Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability process, ENTEL and Uptime Institute agreed to carry it the process in four phases (see Figure 3).
Eventually, Uptime Institute and ENTEL adjusted the process in light of the initial progress, the maturity level of the team, and the imperative work of assuring operational continuity:
- The Operations team was split in two groups, both reporting to a single manager in charge of coordinating activities
- Operation, maintenance and tests teams were responsible for day-to-day activities
- The Operations team was also entrusted with adjusting existing procedures/instructions, for training the specialist staff, and with leading the internal change within the datacenter.
- Retained an external consultant to structure its methodology and develop a map for sustainable training.
- Implemented a maintenance management system
- Defined a support team to manage eventual setbacks for weekly follow-up, progress control, and resolution
- Assured that activities the processes, procedures/instructions, and methodologies Operational Sustainability would be adopted and applied
ENTEL believes that it received many benefits from earning the Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability, including
- Improved “standard operation” processes
- Continuous improvement of processes and procedures
- Formal training, sustainable over time
- Shared lessons learned at all five data centers
The knowledge of the Certification methodology and good practices stayed in house, which ENTEL can replicate at all its data centers and eventually to other areas of the organization (see Figure 4). ENTEL has worked to share this information company wide, with the additional notable achievement of Uptime Institute’s M&O Stamp of Approval at its Amunategui facility in December 2016.