Preventing Problems In Data Centers

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Performing a data center facility “check-up” every three to five years is essential to assess and manage such dynamic factors as load growth, changes in types of loads supported, equipment health, and even the effectiveness of maintenance practices, says David Boston of TiePoint Engineering. However, less than 10 percent of critical facility owners perform these valuable assessments or even have proactively scheduled one.

For most data centers, a facilities-related downtime event at some point is inevitable. For most facilities, however, long periods of uptime can lull a team into a false sense of security. They, then, find themselves surprised when a critical event occurs.

A careful assessment can assist the facilities team in keeping a center operating on maximum uptime and performance by identifying and addressing deficiencies before they become a problem.

Properly executed assessments can help validate infrastructure system capacities and room for growth, as well as identify single points of failure before they cause unexpected and unwelcome system interruptions.

A good assessment also takes design into consideration by examining systems that aren’t concurrently maintainable or fault tolerable. It also will then determine if these systems are being used as intended or expected.

Assessments even can touch upon human factors, identifying shortcomings that might occur out of the IT and facilities departments. This is an important aspect of any check-up, because as much as 60 to 80 percent of data center downtime does arise out of human error.

Surprises and data centers do not mix. Experts say the best strategy to avoid downtime surprises is to conduct proactive assessments at a regular frequency. Yes, there is a cost involved (assessments, depending on the scope, can cost between $15,000 and $75,000), but in terms of return on investment, it could be considered money wisely spent, considering the fact that many organizations value downtime in excess of $1 million per hour.

And, even if cost is prohibitive for routine assessments, data centers at least should have an assessment plan in place, one that can easily be implemented if the need arises.

Click here to learn more about how data center assessment can prevent downtime.

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