Perform Routine Maintenance On More Than Your Data Center's Hardware To Prevent Downtime

When it comes to managing data centers, preventative maintenance is paramount. The average cost of unexpected downtime is $7,900 per minute. While many companies know they need to perform routine data center hardware maintenance, not all companies inspect and maintain the systems that keep the center's servers, computers and wires operating properly. If you run a data center, make sure you include these additional three inspections in your data center hardware maintenance plan.

Check the HVAC System's Performance

Data centers must be kept within certain temperature ranges for maximum efficiency so that their equipment doesn't fail. According to Standards Informant, their temperatures must remain between 64 and 81°F. While this temperature range is fairly wide as far as room temperatures go, it's important to make sure your data center's HVAC system is able to keep the temperature within this range.

To check your HVAC system's performance, simply record the temperature in the room. You can either use the thermostat's reading or install a separate thermometer to get a temperature reading.

It's important to regularly record the temperature of your data center, so you can quickly recognize trends. If the temperature is within the proper range, but slowly rising or falling, your HVAC system might be strained. In this case, call an HVAC service quickly, so they can come and fix any problems with the system before it completely fails and can't maintain the proper temperature range.

Inspect Your Backup Power Supplies

Everything in your data center, from the computers and servers to the HVAC system and lights, should be connected to a primary power supply and a backup supply. The primary power supply will come from the power grid, although you may route the power through a surge protector to protect sensitive hardware. The backup supplies you use may be batteries, uninterruptible power supplies or standby generators.

All backup power supplies should be inspected periodically to make sure that they'll work in the event of an electrical outage. Each type of power supply should be inspected differently:

  • the power reserves stored in batteries should be checked
  • uninterruptible power supplies should be activated to see if they'll deliver power
  • generators should be turned on to ensure they're in working order

Of course, you should inspect any power supplies that are connected to your data center's hardware. At the same time, though, you should also check support systems' power supplies because your data center's hardware will soon fail without the support systems.

Look at Containment Fixtures

Many data centers have containment fixtures, which are placed around computers and servers to keep dust and other particulates away from the machines. Containment fixtures may be any physical barrier that prevents contaminants in the air from reaching electronics.

If your data center has containment fixtures, these should be checked anytime hardware maintenance is performed. All you need to do is look at the fixtures to ensure they're still properly attached and aren't cracked, and replace any pieces that are dislodged or broken. The visual inspection can be done while you're walking through the data center or working on a piece of equipment, and it adds little time to other tasks.

As you design a data center hardware maintenance plan, don't just focus on the servers, computers and wires in your data center. Also include routine checks of the HVAC system, power supplies and containment fixtures. These aren't technically hardware, but they're necessary to keep your data center's hardware running well. Making sure they stay in tip-top shape will reduce the risk of unexpected downtime. It's a small investment to potentially save your company $7,900 per minute.