To minimise the risk of failure within a data centre it is important to implement prevention methods via a carefully considered maintenance strategy. According to a White Paper, prepared by EUDCA Technical committee, properly maintained equipment can lower corrective maintenance costs by up to 90%, or more as well as extending the life span. By implementing a data centre maintenance schedule, it subsequently results in a significant reduction in unplanned expenses whilst reducing the total cost of ownership.
It’s not just about extending the lifespan of mission critical infrastructure but also the management of the operational costs of your data centre. Data centres consume massive amounts of energy and therefore the more efficiently your equipment is working the less energy it will require resulting in lower operational costs.
When we purchase a car, we understand that we need to adhere to the service schedule suggested by the manufacturer, and at the appropriate time make sure it is ready for its MOT test if we want it to last long enough to get a return on our investment. Why should a data centre be any different? The only difference is the price tag, given that a typical data centre costs significantly more than the average household car, or any car for that matter!
Therefore, maintenance of your data centre equipment should be considered as a fundamental part of your operations. A comprehensive maintenance strategy for a Data Centre should include;
• Regular Inspections – which can be carried out by Data Centre Management staff regularly checking and monitoring for alarm alerts and poor efficiency use.
• Predictive Maintenance – via a monitoring system onsite staff can measure specific data and monitor trends to predict trends and potential end of life equipment.
• Preventative Maintenance – through a planned maintenance schedule equipment should be tested, replaced, cleaned and adjusted to ensure optimal performance.
• Corrective Works – prompt replacement of faulty parts and timely procurement of end of life equipment preventing imminent failure.
Ultimately the key objectives of your maintenance strategy are;
• Ensuring maximum infrastructure reliability
• Extending the life cycle of critical equipment
• Reducing the risk of failure
• Preventing the likelihood of downtime
• Reducing the impact on the environment
• Complying to regulations and industry operating standards
Once you have decided upon your strategy the next decision is whether you should manage your maintenance in-house or to outsource. There are pros and cons for either approach, but the following two questions should be considered:
1) Are there qualified persons within your organisation that can undertake the maintenance proficiently and do they have the capacity to it?
2) Are there any local qualified companies that can maintain your equipment and comply with the response time required?
Maintaining data centre equipment is a specialist job. Internal staff need to be experienced in working with fire suppression systems, critical power electrical infrastructure, cooling systems and related technical equipment. Most companies do not have the level of expertise and experience required and often opt to outsource ensuring that the best level of maintenance available is received. This option may be more expensive than keeping the maintenance in-house, but what is the true cost if your data centre is not maintained correctly?