Most data center outages are completely preventable, and the result of human error or negligence. While it’s true that there will occasionally be a catastrophe that’s completely out of your control, those are few and far between. Fact is, if your data center goes down, there’s a good chance that you’re the one to blame.
Preventative maintenance. If you’re going to keep things up and running effectively, that’s a term with which you need to be intimately familiar. The problem, of course, is that there are so many moving parts in an average data center that keeping track of everything is frankly overwhelming.
“In the context of the data center, daily demands can cause maintenance to be put on the back burner—sometimes permanently,” reads a post on The Data Center Journal. “But a data center that goes without regular upkeep becomes increasingly likely to suffer downtime or other inefficiencies that affect performance—just as with automobiles and other machines.”
That’s why your first step should be a maintenance checklist which breaks down the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that you and your staff need to accomplish in order for your data center to keep going smoothly. Here’s where we come in. Today, we’re going to talk about the major components of a good maintenance checklist.
According to Emerson Network Power’s Ben Kissel, data center managers should focus on the following broad areas when planning and performing maintenance (we’ve added a few of our own, as well):
- UPS Systems
- Power generators, including fuel and components.
- HVAC infrastructure
- Switchgear, circuit breakers, PDUs, and ATS.
- Server infrastructure
- Security systems and access control
As for what you should do to maintain all this equipment, there are a few things:
- Periodic infrared scans to identify potential equipment failures or overloads.
- Establish a set, regular schedule which clearly denotes who is responsible for maintaining what. This schedule should also include a log file which employees can use to mark down maintenance activities.
- Keep a current inventory, budget, and list of maintenance priorities. It’s important to understand that, depending on financial and equipment demands, you might need to maintain different equipment at different times. That’s why flexibility is important.
- Put cleanliness standards in place. Not only does clutter look awful and reduce productivity, it can also represent a safety hazard.
- Look into Standard Operating Procedures, Methods of Procedure, and Emergency Operating Procedure. Standardization is your friend.
- Speaking of safety, the well-being of you and your employees needs to come first. Maintenance instructions should come with clear explanations of proper safety procedures, and there should be severe penalties for failure to follow these procedures.
- Regularly accept input from your team when developing and updating your checklist. You can’t be everywhere at once, nor can you know everything.
- Consider investing in a Computerized Maintenance Management System to help you and your team better keep track of things.
Data center maintenance can be challenging, but it needn’t be overwhelming. With a set of standardized maintenance procedures in place, you can ensure your facility is kept running like a well-oiled machine. Of course, if you don’t want to deal with the headache, you could always just host with Liberty Center One, and let us handle the heavy lifting.