8 Best Practices For Data Center Operations and Maintenance
Technology is essential in today's world, and neglecting your IT infrastructure can result in costly and embarrassing downtime. There are some events in the past that reminded IT managers that they must use aggressive and rigorous testing methods to evaluate their systems thoroughly. This is especially important in data centers where operators must adhere to strict security protocols to protect customer data and maintain power and cooling capacity. Using best data center operations and maintenance practices can help your data center provide safer, better service to your customers, especially when your data center is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Best practices for data center operations and maintenance
Below are key best practices that support data center operations, maintenance, and security.
1. Create redundancy to ensure availability
A major challenge in data centers is creating alternate paths for connected devices and communication channels in case something goes down. These redundancies create a backup system so technicians can perform maintenance and install system upgrades without interrupting service or switching to an alternate system if the primary system fails.
Data centers operate on a 1-4 ranking tier system that determines the uptime customers can expect. Here's an overview of the tier system:
- Tier 1 has no redundancy and guarantees a minimum uptime rate of 99.671% with 28.8 hours of downtime per year.
- Tier 2 offers 99.749% uptime with an expected 22 hours of downtime per year and includes partial redundancy for power and cooling of critical systems.
- Tier 3 allows concurrent maintenance with 1.6 hours of expected downtime per year and 99.982% uptime.
- Tier 4 guarantees 99.995% availability with an expected annual downtime of just 2.4 minutes and offers 12 hours of continuous cooling as well as full redundancy with compartments and automatic fault tolerance.
Smart building systems software and analytics help data centers monitor and perform preventative maintenance before downtime occurs.
2. Ensure a stable indoor environment
Computers, servers, and other equipment require controlled temperature and humidity levels to function properly and protect the system's data storage and software. Remote environment management can offer a solution here. IoT devices can monitor temperature and humidity, detect heat sinks, and detect when HVAC system filters need to be replaced or cleaned. Additionally, the smart sensors in your HVAC system should be checked regularly to ensure they are functioning properly.
3. Create stronger testing protocols
According to Lief Morin, president of Key Information Systems, data center operations and maintenance best practices related to the test could have prevented the NYSE from collapsing. He recommends that data centers test software updates and other new technologies before rolling them out.
Testing all technology added to the system is very important to prevent failures.
4. Implementation of predictive maintenance
Data center operation and maintenance best practices are more than just a set of rules. Together, they focus on ongoing operations goals, strategize the data center, provide appropriate resources, and define roles and responsibilities. Maintenance is essential for this.
Regular inspections and preventative maintenance are often performed to prevent system or component failure. However, this approach does not take into account real operating conditions. Smart monitoring technology can use analytics to transform maintenance. An advanced analytics platform with machine learning capabilities can predict maintenance needs by identifying trends and predicting when thresholds are reached where devices are likely to fail.
5. Data center operation and maintenance personnel
Employees who maintain and operate data centers play an essential role in the continuous operation of the system. Therefore, critical staff must be trained to implement best practices for data center operations and maintenance, and roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined. Everything runs smoothly, especially in complex systems.
6. Keep it spotless
Modern technology hates dirt. In addition to preventative maintenance, creating a clean environment in your data center extends equipment life and limits downtime. Place mats at entrances and replace them when getting dirty, no eating or drinking in sensitive areas, mop floors regularly, and keep generators, HVAC filters, electrical systems, and heat exchangers clean. All help improve data center operations. Janitor tracking software helps ensure cleanups are on schedule, and environmental sensors linked to smart systems help identify problems as they arise.
7. Practice good data hygiene
As storage technology has improved and computer storage costs have fallen, data storage capacity is no longer an issue. This includes vast networks of data collected by IoT devices to inform decisions through analytics software that can examine trends and generate actionable insights. However, much of this data is unused.
A 2016 study found that one-third of the data stored and processed is outdated, unnecessary, or irrelevant. Despite the falling price of computer memory, storage costs trillions of dollars worldwide every year. Wiping and archiving data offloads data center IT infrastructure, reduces cooling costs and power requirements and allocates processing resources and storage space more effectively.
8. Maintain emergency preparedness
Even with the best infrastructure, most talented people, and best-in-class intelligent systems, no data center is completely free of risk. Preparing for unplanned outages can help employees respond to these emergencies more effectively, timely, and decisively, even if they don't occur. This includes creating detailed emergency procedures that tell employees what to do if certain scenarios occur.
Such preparation allows the data center to respond appropriately, equips staff with advanced knowledge of how to isolate specific failures and restore service, and knows when to bring backup systems online. Many of these operations are automated, monitored by IoT sensors, triggered according to analytics software as needed, and overseen by well-trained and competent front-line technicians.
Training for likely scenarios requires regular drills, but a clear chain of command should be created in advance in case the situation escalates. The evaluation of these training sessions needs to be analyzed and modified to make the response to these emergency exercises more effective. At the same time, the team is prepared to respond to emergencies.
Have you understood the best practices??
In everything related to data center operations and maintenance, best practices are essential in protecting critical systems and ensuring continuous service to our customers. By choosing the right technology and working with control experts who understand the complex needs of your data center, you can safely and confidently optimize your operations.
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So the best practices for your data center operations and maintenance depend on your needs and budget. Please take a deep look before making your decision.
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