Ensuring hardware is protected from unexpected physical consequences is an essential and often overlooked part of maintaining a data center. The strategies below will reduce the risk of downtime and potential damage to hardware.
The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) provides power when utility services fail, keeping essential equipment functional at all times. In order to guarantee uptime and adequate power needs in a prolonged outage backup UPS systems should also be installed on essential systems. Any remote monitoring equipment should also be fitted with a UPS to allow for continued monitoring of data center operations. A Power Distribution Unit (PDU) should also be installed to the main power source to protect against critical loads. Power distribution to all systems should run through a UPS, connected to a PDU. Together the UPS and PDU ensure equipment is protected and active throughout any power fluctuations.
Cooling equipment needs are dependent on the particular environment at hand, although equipment may handle a large range of temperatures such fluctuation should be avoided. To ensure components are adequately cooled or heated keep temperatures in a range of high 60’s to low 70’s. Finding and eliminating hotspots in racks with tray fans is a great way to cut down on unnecessary use of air conditioning, but with proper organization and management of equipment this should not be needed. Airflow considerations should be made around all equipment, but particular devices such as the UPS are more prone to potential degradation if exposed to excess heat. If the room is too compact to allow for cool airflow to the UPS it should be kept outside the area.
Organization and setup is an essential part of protecting critical equipment and avoiding long term problems. If pressed for time and proper organization during setup isn’t possible, then arrangements should be made for a fully configured system. Poorly arranged systems can lead to over cooling situations in which spot fans are unable to maintain ideal temperatures and over usage of air conditioning is needed. Considerations should also be made in regards to the potential for water damage from the environment. Avoiding any room with water pipes or any areas that could potentially flood, such as basements, is a must. If in a rainy climate having an umbrella installed over server racks can protect from any unexpected leaks from the roof.
In short, well prepared power management and cooling systems are the best insurance against any unexpected downtime.