Thursday, 6 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome back - hope you all had a good break and have come back rested and relaxed and ready to face the challenges ahead.  Hopefully I'll have lots of exciting things to blog about over the next year. Any request, or things you particularly want to know about - let me know!

I've spent the last few days looking at our planning for next year. We're now into updating our planning statement and having some detailed discussions with Faculties about how our plans and there's tie in with each other.  Each of our three sections (Technical Services, Customer Services and Business Services) have produced operational plans for the next year under our seven service headings, and we're now busy comparing them and bringing them together into one consolidated plan. This is a departure from previous years where our plans have been very much related to our organisational structure rather than service based. We've also been  planning our capital expenditure for the next few years, especially looking at major upgrades and refreshes of the infrastructure.

Today I had an unexpected bonus when I was invited to watch our generator test - not very exciting you might think, but I found it fascinating. Although the generators on our two data centres are tested every month, every six months we do a proper test, where we actually turn the power off - and see if the generator kicks in.  I've never even seen our generators before (they are kept very secure!), so today was a treat. I was surprised at how big the main one was, and how complex it is! Basically just a large diesel powered engine, it has a very complex interaction with the High Voltage supply, the transformer and the UPS (batteries). This complexity has been one of the problems we've had in the past when it hasn't always worked as well as it should.  It's also very loud when running! I'm pleased to say both generators worked a treat. Let's just hope they do if we do suffer a real power failure...

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