Data Center Associations – What’s Their Value, If Any?

My last blog was about the importance of training and how it effects our industry. Today I want to look a little wider and see how training and industry associations have changed the opinions of our customers, potentially to their own detriment.

Associations run by individuals, or teams of individuals with ‘solid’ first-hand experience and an in-depth understanding of the Data Center industry are of huge value. Those that have an agenda, not so much. I want to focus on the ones run by people with agendas. Within the data center technical cleaning industry there aren’t many associations, fortunately, because there is no current legislation or compliance around what constitutes a technical clean and the method in which it delivered.

There are several companies such as Critical Facilities Solutions, who have been undertaking technical cleaning in the biggest most advanced Data Centers in the World for years and years. These companies are run by people who live and breathe data centers, people who have ‘cut their teeth’ in the industry and many of them have been doing it for decades, much like me, 23 years served – thank you! What really frustrates me is when someone new to the industry, or from outside the industry creates an association and a website, they ‘gather’ information from ASHRAE or the Data Center Alliance and create documents and Best Practice without any real world experience.

The problem comes when a customer grabs hold of this information and considers it gospel without understanding the variables. It’s our job as professionals to debunk these associations and refuse to comply or be accredited. There is one association for data center cleaning professionals with fewer than two members who try and hold the industry to ransom without adding any value whatsoever. The one I’m referring to still has old ISO data and outdated methods on their website. “They” are so disconnected from technology and the advancements made as well as the actual fabric that make up our new data centers. It’s sad that they are seen to be the voice of knowledge when they have no idea. I’ve seen some referenced in tenders and specifications and I smile to myself for a moment before the rage starts to grow.

Is this unique to our industry or do others suffer the same fate?