Tips on Balancing a Data Centers Budget

It happens every year, it did for me, and I’m sure it does for you.

Fourth Quarter Budget Surplus 

That time when you begin to plan for the next year, while deciding what to do with the current year’s budget surplus.

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You watch your budget like a hawk, sweating over every dollar; you justified each expenditure early on to make sure there weren’t any budget shortfalls at year end.  Now the year is almost over and it looks like you’re facing an end-of-year budget surplus. Balancing a Data Centers Budget

While you didn’t experience any “budget busters” events this year, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be one next year.  That’s why I would take my budget surplus at the end of each year and buy equipment and supplies that I’d use the next year, things that we’d eventually need and were handy to have around.   By buying smaller equipment and stocking up on supplies with this year’s dollars, you’ll free up next year’s dollars as a contingency for any future unforeseeable budget buster.

What you do with the budget surplus depend on the surplus amount; following are some of the things I’d spend my surplus on:

Large Budget Surplus
• Fill or top off the diesel generator tank
• Move some maintenance services and product purchases up from 1st quarter to 4th quarter if possible
• Purchase replacement batteries in 4th quarter if they were scheduled to be replaced in 1st quarter
• Consider an Infrared Scanner or a Circuit Breaker Tester
• Look at equipment that was nearing its end-of-life, like band saws for cutting floor tiles

Smaller Budget Surplus
• Air-Guard floor grommets; you know you’ll get several new racks to install throughout the year, and having Air-Guard floor grommets on hand make preparing for the installation of new equipment fast and easy
• Extra air filters; you’ll use filters throughout the year, and buying a year’s worth and warehousing them is easy and worthwhile
• Cleaning supplies; cleaning rags, new mops, a couple cases of coil cleaner
• Extra electrical plugs and outlets, a variety of spare branch circuit breakers
• Replace or upgrade some older or warn tools; cordless drills and accessories
• Spare compressors/fan motors and belts for CRAC/CRAH units
• Additional floor tiles, both blank and perforated

Getting a chance to work with new tools periodically always made my team happy, especially if it involved learning to use tools like Infrared Scanners, Circuit Breaker Testers and Anemometers.  I’ve also found that fourth quarter is also a good time to schedule classes and seminars for my team.

Hopefully you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid a budget buster, and have a surplus this fourth quarter.  If so, consider stocking up on some of the above products that you can use next year.

Ken Koty