Downtime Woes of Data Center

Think about this, you’re watching a mind-blowing thriller at home and the climax is about to come on. The Rogue Cop is finally going to reveal the true identity of the serial killer to his reluctant team. He opens his mouth, you’re at the edge off your seat and the power goes out. Imagine the amount of irritation and annoyance you will feel at that moment and remember you are not even dealing with money of millions of dollars worth of data.

Now imagine what will happen if you lose power or the system fails during an important save- the-world kind of transaction. In a nutshell, you will lose valuable data, money and then some. This situation when the system is unavailable, it’s called Downtime.

Downtime is the IT department’s worst nightmare. This is something which gets in the way even after best plans and preparations for every circumstance are considered and implemented. Because of this, even your best laid plans sometimes prove to be futile and the errors escalate into serious events leaving you with mile long bills and a head with shortage of hair.

It’s time to dwell in to the waters of Downtime. Let us look into the reasons and solutions for downtime. This will give you a clear picture about downtimes and how to deal with them.

  •  During relocation—this is unavoidable but it’s important to know how much downtime is acceptable in these cases. After working day and night, analysts found out some practices which would reduce your downtime to almost none.

o   Get consultation to discuss your plans, options, resources, areas for improvements etc. This is going to help you steer clear of the surprise glitches which are more than capable of giving you a migraine.

o   Don’t think about upgrading yet. You will face problems as it is. The last thing you want is more time to configure the upgraded systems and increasing your downtime.

o   Test your network to see and check if it is compatible with the equipments. When this is done meticulously, you will reduce your downtime by 15%.

  • During a power outage—This is a notorious event. It makes the company lose its competitive edge and if it’s recurrent, you will end up losing your clients. Here is what you can do:

o   Most companies have a backup system which takes charge during events as this. They work to preserve and recover data lost during the outage. In the business world, time means money, literally. This is why it is advised to the companies to employ good facilities with exceptional computing programs for all the equipments of the data center to mitigate the effects of the power failure.

  •  During equipment failure– Here you were sitting in your office playing Solitaire when your floor engineer calls you and tells you that a few systems broke down in sector 4 of your data center. This is a dire situation. Times like this have a plan ready which can address the condition and provide solutions as per requirements.

o   Keeping a report of all the equipment and all the systems in your data center will help you pin-point the error. Documentation is an exhaustive process but look at the bigger picture. Do you want to save a few months’ worth of time to avoid documentation or lose couple of millions worth of data and capital?

More than financial losses, there is also a chance of tainted reputation which is very difficult to get back. The best thing you can do here is communicate. Train people to deal with angry or disappointed customers. The right way to do this is diplomatically and efficiently. If done right, it can assist you in maintaining a healthy relationship with your customers.

It’s always wise to remember that you are going to fall short in some way or the other when events for downtime take place. The best thing you can do is plan well. A good plan will make sure that you have a solution ready at the moment’s notice when there is some kind of failure. A best laid plan will ensure that the infrastructure that can handle outages. The more prepared you are, the better an entire network environment can handle downtime or an outage.

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Avoiding Data Center Downtime

One of the criteria all companies look into while selecting a data center host is the downtime that they would be likely to suffer in case of emergencies. In today’s world where an entire business can be operated online, even an hour’s non-availability could result in the loss of millions of dollars. Clients can always take their business elsewhere.

It is mandatory for data center hosts to have a Plan B in place in case the primary functioning fails. This will go a long way in preventing downtimes. Although most clients understand that 100 percent uptime is a herculean task, constant tripping is also generally frowned upon.

It is first necessary to understand the causes for data center downtime. In most cases, downtime is the result of human accidents and carelessness. There is also a good chance it is due to equipment failure and other technology related issues; and one cannot rule out natural disasters either.

First and the foremost practice that has to be adhered to for a commendable uptime is meticulous data center management training. This is in order to prevent human-prone accidents. Make it a policy to train every individual who has access to the data center on some basic know-whats of the data center so that they don’t accidentally turn off crucial equipments. This can also come in handy when you need extra set of hands during an emergency.

Adhere strictly to operational procedure documentation that comes with the equipments. Do not attempt to deviate from the procedure too much. You might never know when one step is a step too far. Also, please update your operational procedures as and when you deem it necessary.

Restrict access to your data center as much as possible. Some people are too curious for their own good and they might accidentally tamper with the switches that might result in the shutdown of the system. Remember, you run a data center; not a museum. This will also prevent security breaches.

If you have any controlling buttons on your equipment, label them. Correctly. This not only makes operations easy, it also prevents shutdowns. If slots online canada you cannot label all the buttons, at least make it a point to cover or enclose the ones that can cause trouble.

Eatables, spillable objects should be eaten and spilt outside the equipment room premises. They cause unnecessary challenges. Liquids can cause short-circuiting of electrical equipments, which can be avoided if the no-food-and-drink-inside-the-data-center is strictly enforced. As for dust particles, if it were up to me, I would have had all the staff thoroughly washed like a car in the car wash center, but I’m told that it could lead to employee harassment suits. So I just stick to requesting the staff to use the antistatic boots and doormats before entering.

Do not take power protection equipments lightly. Because they work overtime for you, you are not experiencing problems due to power surges, transients, sags and swells. These can not only cause power fluctuations, they also lower the life of your equipments over time. Invest in good protection devices. They are more important than you are giving them credit for.

Also keep your secondary power generation source ready for battle. You will never know when it will come in handy.

Data Center Talk updates its resources everyday. Visit us to know of the latest technology and standards from the data center world.

Please leave your views and comments on DCT Forum.

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