Do You Really Need To Maintain Your Data Center?

data-center-maintenance

Everything in life requires care and maintenance. Whether it is relationships, health, your vehicles, business or anything. There is a small part of all the important things that we need to pay attention to. And, of course, the data center is no exception. If you want your data center to give excellent performance while maintaining the high level of reliability and availability, you should apply the appropriate effort to work your system that allows you to maintain a given level of performance.

Why Do I Need Maintenance?

The answer to this question is obvious, and even many administrators who pay little attention to service, probably still have to recognize its importance. Most of these administrators and operators of data centers are likely to refer to a lack of time or resources (money) to sell and use all of the required maintenance procedures. However, let’s take the example your car. Did you ever put off an oil change or ignore indicator on the “check engine” because you just do not have the time or money for an immediate solution to the problem?

Some data center service providers in India postpone maintenance on the back burner – sometimes permanently. But in the data center, which does not receive regular maintenance, there is a growing risk of a stop or a situation that will affect the performance – as in the case of cars. For example, if the filter in the dusty air conditioning unit can increase fan power. The loss of productivity resulting from lack of maintenance, can produce a cumulative effect that can have bad consequences. One of the main consequences visible to us is that the lack of proper maintenance (I would have included a load management and performance) leads to deterioration. For example, users need more time to complete pending tasks or productivity falls automated systems that cumulatively can have a greater impact on performance. For example, the degradation of the system by 10% in 10 hours is equivalent to one hour of inactivity. The problem is that all show and begin to take action when the system breaks down. A very few people have ever noticed 10% degradation of system performance.

Thus, the problem of service may not necessarily occur unexpectedly. They can sneak up unnoticed and result in poor performance in different systems, and cost you a small cost, but in the long run, it will cost the company a lot of money. While most data centers, probably do not do extensive scientific analysis of downtime in order to determine the causes that led to such an unpleasant event. Frequently, the data center administrator give more time just for backup and monitoring. And quite often the main cause of downtime is inadequate maintenance. A properly organized maintenance avoids downtime. We estimate that 30-40% of system outages are caused by equipment failure and can be prevented with an appropriate preventive maintenance.

How Much Maintenance In The Data Centers?

If the service is not part of the strategy of data center management, one of the methods that can be used to estimate the cost of your operations, is, first, to calculate the annual cost of downtime to your data center and the multiplication of the data by 30% or 40 % – this is the annual rate of downtime in which costs inadequate maintenance. Imagine that you could invest that amount of money in maintenance. Most likely, the investment increase the efficiency of data center, not to mention reducing the likelihood of downtime.

Evaluation Of Data Center Downtime

Exact figures on the cost of downtime, maintenance costs and return on investment in the service will depend on the configuration and the needs of the data center. For example, in a data center, which uses free cooling technology will be requiring less equipment service than in the data center, which mainly uses more traditional methods of cooling, for example, where the use of air power air conditioning is done. But with few exceptions, in the long-term, maintenance can be cheaper than a simple reduction in operational efficiency. But if the service equipment (IT, cooling and power distribution) costs too much, it would be better to replace it, but not to perform its maintenance.

What Requires Maintenance?

In one word – everything. However, one system requires less maintenance, other – more. For example transformers, power distribution units (PDU) and the air distribution system and water require little maintenance, while equipment such as modules CRAC, fire extinguishing systems, chillers and generators require a high level of service. Other equipment, such as uninterruptible power the next generation of uninterruptible power supply (UPS), may require only a medium level of service. But all the systems in the data center requires a certain level of service. It is equally applicable to all systems – dedicated servers, storage, networking and power equipment.

In some data centers there are some areas which usually suffer from a lack of attention to maintenance such as switching equipment, circuit breakers, ATS (automatic transfer switch) and the PDU, as well as critical system, such as UPS, batteries and equipment cooling systems, air conditioning and ventilation.

However, there are some tactics to quickly and easily identify problems in the system before they cause downtime. For example, you can use thermography, based on the methods of infrared scanning, which allows us to localize the sources of a number of problems.

Using the methods of infrared scanning can detect areas with unusually high temperatures, which can cause deterioration of the components, and bad electrical connections due to vibration, improper torque and other hidden problems. This allows data center administrators to find and fix the problem before it becomes a problem of availability of IT equipment.

The Use Of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology allows the administrator of the data center to utilize the appropriate software, or by using a third-party service provider to model air flow and temperature distribution in the existing data center.

With this information, you can do the appropriate adjustment of the cooling system in order to minimize the influence of the “hot spots” and other thermal problems, which over time can cause damage to equipment and cause it to stop. Although the method of CFD can be costly, providers of services and software usually offer various options to operators of data centers, and the CFD does not have to be “everyday” type of service. This method can be considered as a method of optimizing performance.

Simple Maintenance Procedures

Simple maintenance procedures can prevent problems by paying attention to some of the commonly overlooked area. For example, commonly occurring problems such as the lack of free disk space can be easily prevented, but often they cause problems, depending on the location of the problem, it can lead to cardiac applications. In this case, such measures as regular monitoring and periodic checks of disk space may be sufficient to prevent other serious problems. In other words, not all aspects of the maintenance of the data center can be complex and costly, sometimes quite short, regular checks.

Maintenance Priorities

Maintenance should be among the top three priorities for the administrator of the data center. In other words, it must be a high priority. Of course, data center managers face many challenges, from the harmonization of management and technical personnel to the planning and monitoring of equipment upgrades and daily operations. However, despite all these responsibilities, maintenance is one of the tasks that should not suffer – and with a well thought out strategy and schedule maintenance tasks, and will not have to suffer.

Here is a broad definition of the zones, which should draw the attention of the administrator of the data center in the planning and execution of maintenance tasks:

  • Batteries;
  • UPS;
  • Power generators;
  • The cooling system, air conditioning and ventilation;
  • The power switching equipment, circuit breakers, ATS and PDU;
  • Run infrared scanning periodically.

Findings

Given that lack of attention to maintenance is the main cause of one-third or half of downtime in the data center, who can afford to ignore it? Often the maintenance of equipment may seem tedious and sometimes pointless exercise, and perhaps if it is run regularly, you deserve great recognition. Regular comprehensive maintenance can also increase the effectiveness of systems for the data center, and it receives the benefits that are not limited to factors such as stress reduction and cost savings associated with the data center in which there is a smaller number of unplanned outages. The benefits of investing in service is well worth the cost.

ESDS