When talking about data centers we tend to talk a lot about the importance of uptime and the measures to take to avoid dreaded downtime. This is for good reason. Clients and their employees and customers want uptime and downtime can lead to not only a lot of frustration but significant financial loss. Data center managers must carefully assess the current needs of their data center as well as attempt to forecast future needs to properly prepare their data center and prevent downtime. Good preparation is often the key to success. Even if things in a data center are running relatively smoothly, downtime is minimal or non-existent and you feel pretty confident in how things are running. But, it is usually soon after you start to get a little too comfortable and confident that vigilance begins to become less of a priority and problems arise.
To begin preventing problems in a data center, data center managers must have a firm grasp on exactly what infrastructure and equipment there is in the data center. Additionally, they must understand current power and data usage. By knowing this, and having a proper DCIM plan in place a data center manager will be ready to anticipate future needs. When you assess your needs you will see if there is wasted power and be able to devise a plan to better use power. Many data center problems are directly related power issues. Server racks wasting power or not having an adequate backup supply of power in place. In addition to taking a good preliminary assessment, it is important to schedule routine assessments often for your data center. How often may depend on your specific data centers and its needs but it may need to be as often as once per year and as infrequent as every few years. Routine assessment should check in on everything from infrastructure to the human side of data centers. So often, when we think about data centers all we see are racks upon racks but there is still a human side to data centers and, in fact, human error can often be the source of a data center problem. Data Center Knowledge points out just how significant a risk human error is in data centers, “But one of the leading causes of data center downtime is human error, as ComputerWorld reminds us in Stupid Data Center Tricks, which relays anecdotes of data center mishaps. The story notes a study by The Uptime Institute, which estimates that human error causes roughly 70 percent of the problems that plague data centers today.” By identifying potential human error risks and dealing with them before they arise you will save yourself a lot of headaches. Once you are in the habit of completing routine assessments you will begin to see patterns and be able to anticipate needs, make adjustments ahead of time and maximize uptime by minimizing data center problems.