As companies increasingly rely more and more on their data centres to keep their information safe and secure, it becomes even more important for these data centers to be properly maintained. Even a single minute of downtime can cost an organization thousands of pounds and its reputation in the industry, making it absolutely imperative that data centre owners do everything in their power to ensure round-the-clock uptime.

This is where robust data centre maintenance and lifecycle strategies come into play and become such a pivotal part of facility processes. Robert McClary, FORTRUST Chief Operating Officer, pointed out that poor maintenance and lifecycle strategies are the second most likely cause of unplanned downtime, with human error and poor capacity management being the first likely cause of a data centre downtime. Even the most optimally designed data centres cannot make up for a lack of proper system maintenance and upkeep.

Consider your car, for instance, have you ever put off an oil change or ignored the “check engine” light because you just don’t have the time or money to deal with it right now? It’s easy to fall into that trap, and once you’re in it, rationalisations become much more tempting. In the context of the data centre, daily demands can cause maintenance to be put on the back burner—sometimes permanently. But a data centre that goes without regular upkeep becomes increasingly likely to suffer downtime or other inefficiencies that affect performance—just as with automobiles and other machines

Ben Kissell, the Service Solutions Manager for Emerson Network Power’s Liebert services business, estimate that 30% to 40% of system outages due to infrastructure hardware failures are avoidable through proper preventive maintenance.”

At Secure I.T we follow a simple 4P’s to good maintenance ideology, here are some of the points we check for:
• Prevention –
Ensuring there is a maintenance plan that is regularly followed,
UPS, for instance, should be serviced annually, including impedance tests for batteries. This can be done together with alarms and CCTV security. This is also a good time to consider getting your data centre cleaned, especially important for external rooms. Fire suppression systems need bi-annual servicing, one of which must include an updated integrity test. Whereas air conditioning and cooling systems should be serviced four times a year with consumable changes as specific by individual suppliers
Modular DC panels should be surveyed annually (as a minimum). For leaks along with air conditioning pipework. Liquid detectors are equally important in event of a flood or leaking arising as water damage is costly both in replacement IT equipment but also whilst repair and dehumidifying of the room during recovery
Fire extinguishers should be checked annually. A spare cylinder on site is useful in event of a fire and whilst awaiting replacement cylinders
By replacing ordinary Tak Mats with specially designed tiles from IT Decom will help prevent over 99% of dust and dirt entering into the data centre at or near floor level.

• Protection
People are our biggest asset so ensure anyone who is working within the data centre are fully briefed on data centre security measures. This is particularly important for those assisting with maintenance. Ensure you have good health and safety documentation and that staff are briefed on procedures.
Make sure that any damaged floor tiles are covered or cordoned off to avoid injuries.
Cables should be cleaned to avoid creating dirt within the data centre and should not be left on the floor as they prevent a trip hazard.
Many areas of your data centre will require specialist skills for instance electricians. So it is preferable to have not only qualified electricians but also ones who are specialists in data centres.
• Process
Producing and following documentation of your maintenance programme is a good way of ensuring maintenance is done on time to the same standard each occasion

• Purity
Keep it clean, Studies have shown that 75% hardware failure is caused by dirt. One hour of downtime can cost an average of £300,000 an hour. In comparison to these figures, the cost of preventative maintenance is minuscule (source: IBM Today). Dust and dirt almost unnoticeable to the naked eye can cause untold damage and disruption to the data centre equipment.

So if you need specialist advice or just want the headache of keeping your data centre maintained then come and speak to us at Secure I.T.