Your data center is an important investment in your business, housing all of the equipment and information that keeps your company running from day to day. When you build a new datacenter, it may seem like the project is complete once the construction is over, but ongoing datacenter maintenance for the physical equipment is just as important as the initial build.
Inside your datacenter there are several different physical equipment components—the computers and servers, the racks, furniture, cooling systems, and flooring. All of this equipment is important to include in your regular datacenter maintenance plan. Without regular check-ups in all these areas, your server room can quickly become damaged, and even fail.
First, inspect your datacenter from the ground up. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect the flooring and make it part of your “equipment” maintenance plan, because even if it doesn’t seem like flooring fits in the same category as things like racks and servers, wear and tear on the floor can quickly become a problem for the rest of the things in your datacenter. Check for signs of chipped scratched, or worn areas, and also make sure to regularly clean it to remove dust, rust, and other problems. If you have a cooling system that is tied to the floor (for example, a raised floor that allows proper cooling to take place), inspect that system regularly and make sure that it is still working properly, especially after you have moved items around.
Next, check for dust. Regularly sweeping the floors to keep dust from building up, and also dusting the racks and the equipment, is essential for the long-term viability of the equipment in your datacenter. If your datacenter maintenance plan doesn’t include dusting, add it right away. Also, if your center is off-site and it’s difficult for your IT people to get there regularly, consider hiring a cleaning company to regularly dust and vacuum the entire room.
The equipment racks are not only subject to dust, but also to general wear and tear. Your datacenter maintenance should also include inspection of all racks to be sure there are no loose bolts, cracking, rust, or other damage. If you can spot these things early, you will be able to fix it before the rack collapses and damages all the servers and other equipment in the area. In addition, pay attention to how hot the area around each rack is to be sure all the areas are getting adequate cooling. If it is particularly hot in certain areas, you may need to introduce more cooling systems, or move the racks around until they are properly spaced for adequate cooling.
Finally, check around for stray furniture. Over time you will probably accumulate pieces of furniture—a small table here, a few chairs over there—that people use when they are in the computer room. In order to properly maintain your datacenter, you want to minimize these items and definitely keep them out of the main walkways. This is good practice to ensure a safe environment and avoid workplace accidents or fire hazards as well.
While you may not have thought about all these things as part of your datacenter maintenance plan to keep equipment running in top form, these small details are just as important as the big equipment.