Many people ask me questions about how to cope with the issues facing legacy data centers, such as insufficient capacity, aging infrastructure, or inadequate power and cooling. With the continuous upward trend in power density, energy costs, and the expense of building new facilities, more organizations are finding themselves trying to squeeze additional life from their existing data center properties.
You can help combat the ticking clock of an aging data center by adhering to a strict maintenance methodology. Consider the following tips to assist in maintaining an aging data center:
1) Pick the right maintenance organization: The people watching your critical infrastructure are just as important to the company as the critical infrastructure itself. Ensure your staff is not only trained, but organized. Is there a check and balance system in place? What responsibilities are in house and what will be outsourced?
2) Perfect your Operations and Maintenance (O&M) plan: Not only should you document every task and procedure in your data center, those procedures should have clear goals and objectives. You can improve on your goals and processes by allowing for a peer review. Although these may seem to distract from your daily responsibilities, a strong, articulated plan can actually refine your routine and give it direction.
3) Keep your equipment well maintained and replace as needed: In a down economy, it is easy to put off purchasing needed equipment in lieu of repair. Gather your data center trend information during scheduled preventative maintenance, and consider a predictive maintenance plan based on that trend data. However, maintenance can’t solve all problems, and sometimes replacing legacy systems is ultimately the cheapest option. Consulting with your data center planner can help determine your best options. Always remember that the data center works as an integrated whole rather than segregated equipment pieces.
4) Have a plan for energy efficiency and potential energy regulations. Older data centers are often much less efficient than their modern counter parts – even more reason to add energy efficiency to your list of priorities. Aside from the financial and performance benefits, working towards energy efficiency now may save you a headache if government regulations enter the private sector. Does your data center have a plan to reduce energy consumption and waste?
5) If you’re at capacity, consider hiring a data center design firm to evaluate your current facility layout. In many cases, they can examine your needs and provide a solution at a fraction of the cost of building a new data center. Whatever you decide, you cannot get away from forecasting your facilities needs for the next five to ten years.
6) Ensure all your records and documentation are up-to-date: Having a written record of the maintenance tasks performed are not only important for the technical team, but they are essential to external and internal regulations.
7) Consider the risk of downtime with every decision: Although this seems to be obvious, the economy has placed the focus from our information to our wallets.
Following these tips will ensure that you and your organization are getting the very most out of your aging data center. If you would like to suggest additional tips or have questions about working with your aging data center, please send them along through the comment section below.