With data centres filling such an important role in keeping clients’ information secure, it’s little wonder that their maintenance has recently become a topic of renewed interest. More and more data centre owners have started doing everything they can in order to ensure optimal uptime. Considering that a single minute of downtime can result in thousands of dollars in lost revenue, can you really blame them?
This is one of the biggest reasons why preventive data centre maintenance has become a crucial part of any facility process. When it comes to likely causes of unplanned downtime, substandard maintenance and poor life-cycle strategies take second place – right after the inescapable human error element.
For example, take your computer. Can you honestly say that you’ve never put off some important maintenance task (e.g. updating your antivirus software) because you just didn’t feel like dealing with it? With data centres, maintenance tasks can take a backseat to a number of daily demands. However, each day without regular upkeep only makes it more likely that the data centre will eventually suffer downtime or reduced performance.
According to recent studies, 30-40% of all infrastructure hardware failures can be attributed to poor preventive maintenance. For this reason, hosting companies have started to implement strategic prevention and protection plans.
Here are three things they’re paying particular attention to:
Having a maintenance plan that is regularly followed is pretty much a must these days. Fire alarms should be tested on a monthly basis and serviced once per year. Cooling systems and air conditioners should be checked up at least four times a year, with consumables getting changed as per instructions of individual suppliers. Fire suppression systems should be serviced twice per year, and one of these visits should always include an updated integrity test. Fire extinguishers are generally tested on an annual basis, and a spare cylinder should always be close by.
In order to ensure the maintenance plan is always done to the same standard, the documentation should be followed to the letter on every occasion.
Most hosting companies out there have one thing in common – their most important asset are the people. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance that all employees working in and around the data centre are fully briefed on security measures. This is particularly relevant for people tasked with the maintenance and support of a webhosting facility. Your health and safety documentation should be kept up to date, and your stuff should be briefed on all relevant procedures.
In terms of avoiding injuries, any damaged floor tiles should be covered or sealed off. Cables should be regularly cleaned and kept off the floor, as they could present a trip hazard.
Did you know 75% of all hardware failure is caused by dirt? Just because dirt and dust are almost unnoticeable to a human eye doesn’t mean they can’t wreak havoc to data centre equipment. With so many data centre areas requiring specialist knowledge, it’s a good idea to hire cleaners who have experience with working in data centres.
If following all these steps sounds a bit expensive, that’s because it probably is. Still, what’s the alternative? Considering one hour of downtime could end up costing you far more than the preventive maintenance, you have to admit there’s no good reason to risk it.
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