Stream Data Centers Articles

Never Leave Your Wingman: Building Trust Across Data Center Operations

Never Leave Your Wingman: Building Trust Across Data Center Operations

Data center operations are based on trust.

It’s the simplest of statements — so simple that you’re probably wondering why we’d even bother to start there when we discuss how data center operations services can be delivered exceptionally. But it’s a deceptively simple statement, which is why a lot of data center tenants don’t get the solutions they need.

The statement of operations being based on trust comes with a major, and necessary, caveat: This trust must be validated, verified, and made unimpeachably repeatable through procedures and processes, as well as made reliable and predictable through extensive training. This is the true heart of successful operations, and when you add that in…well, suddenly things aren’t so simple anymore.

Building and keeping trust means running a tight ship, and we’d argue that nobody knows how to run a tight ship better than a Navy man.

From Seas to Servers: Preparedness and Discipline that Endures

Chris Dean Jackson, our SVP of Operations, brings a unique value to the data center world because his extensive experience and success (he once managed the world’s largest availability zone, after all) wasn’t forged in whitespace, it was forged in the field. As a United States Navy Veteran, Chris brings a fresh perspective to operations — and a dedication to strict regimentation that every data center environment (and tenant therein) needs to thrive.

Hi motto? “We are not first responders, we are operators.” What does that mean to him? It means that he and his teams utilize their training, procedures and equipment to maintain proper environments and handle any issues as they arise without fail — it’s how Stream builds trust from customers to stakeholders and beyond.

As an individual with a 20-year career in the Navy (12 years of that in active duty), Chris is no stranger to rule, regimen and regulation — all keys to data center operations. He notes, “In the military, it is literally ingrained into the core of any soldier, sailor or airman: You do what you’ve trained.” This training is aggressive, it’s detail-oriented, and it’s continuous. Just like in critical IT infrastructure. The optimization, the evolution, and the effort to be better than yesterday never stops. This is the advantage Chris brings that complements Stream’s core values so well.

Another key to successful data center management? Coolness under pressure and strongly forged team bonds — and there’s nothing like active duty to train anyone to handle any situation with a calm, communicative, collaborative and controlled response. As Chris says, “We drill, we have tabletops, we invite our customers, and they become part of this so they see that, in any event, our operators are not going to be panicked, they are going to be very calm… and handle any situation.”

Give Faith, Earn Trust

“Everything about us, and everything about how we operate in the areas that fall under operations — including physical and information security, customer lease compliance, ISO and SOC compliance — all require operations to do things in a specific format, with specific guidance and documentation to prove everything we do. As such, that’s how you build trust.”

How does this look in practice? It looks like achieving military precision even when pivoting for any unforeseen circumstance.

Chris can recall one memory from his days in the Persian Gulf where a fighter jet lost control and had to do an unexpected, controlled crash onto his aircraft carrier. What was needed then was quick, faultless action — bumping the carrier up to maximum speed in order to catch the falling jet, even despite the massive carrier being in challenging territory for this kind of maneuver. The knowledge and preparedness of the team and their ability to jump in with quick, but conscientious solutions enabled the pilot to land safely. Let’s translate that into a data center scenario.

When the world unexpectedly and rapidly shifted to a work-remote policy during the pandemic, individuals and teams at Stream knew they would still need to to verify that necessary maintenance was being performed in accordance with published best-practice schedules that are agreed upon far in advance. In response, teams found ways to complete their duties with CDC compliance added in, and documentation of these procedures was sent to customers to deliver full transparency — even when this unpredictable world made it harder than ever.

In this way, Stream becomes the eyes, ears and hands of its customers’ critical operations — no matter what. This consistency, reliability and transparency creates an environment where faith is built and kept. When you have a data center provider telling you exactly what it did, when it did it, and what the outcomes were in accordance with strict industry certifications that make us prove how we keep our records and how we perform our operations, there isn’t much to question. And to us, there should never be.

Everything we do at Stream for our customers’ operations is accomplished in a 4-tier method: There is the lease, process, the install process, the day-to-day operations and the subsequent monitoring and management of any challenges. Each and every tier has its own organization built to support the needs of the customer at every location across the Stream footprint — and it’s all standardized. That achieves simplicity for customers’ complex operations. Sure, simplicity has never been so complex, but that’s not something our customers ever need to worry about, because making complex things effortless and enjoyable for the user is what we do.

When it comes to operations, it isn’t just about doing what you say you will. It’s about being able to show that you did — with documentation of any size, at any scale and any time, so that nobody ever has to ask. So that nobody has to live in ambiguity, even in the data center, when the stakes are high and you may not know what the world will throw at you.

On that, our signature is our word.