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 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.

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