Intelligent Data Centres Issue 01 | Page 62

DEEP DIVE WE ‘DEEP DIVE’ WITH RIK WILLIAMS, DATA CENTRE OPERATIONS MANAGER AT NODE4 , WHO TELLS US ABOUT LIFE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE OFFICE. Rik Williams is the Data Centre Operations Manager at Node4. He has over 18 years of experience in the industry and holds both a MSc in Earth Observation Science and a BSc in Physics and Astrophysics from the University of Leicester. What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry? We designed and built a 400 rack, 2MW data centre for a partner of ours in about seven months end- to-end. Design and build wasn’t our core business at the time and the project had some pretty steep learning curves, but I was really pleased with the end result. I’m also pretty happy with the facilities and DC ops teams we have built to support Node4. What first made you think of a career in technology/ data centres? I’m showing my age here, but I was studying physics at Leicester University when the 62 Issue 01 World Wide Web was being rolled out – Netscape, Mosaic and all that. At the time, physics departments were right on the cutting edge of the Internet and I could see the potential straight away. Unfortunately, I didn’t invest in Microsoft, Apple or Cisco shares, so I ended up working in the industry instead. What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position? If you have a team of people who know what they are doing, let them get on and do it. Set a direction and trust people to make decisions when they have the expertise to do so. What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space? In my area of physical DC infrastructure, it’s all about power and cooling efficiency, but I’ve not seen anything radically new in DC design for a couple of years. We are just tweaking around the edges. In the wider IT industry there’s a big focus on process automation and information security.