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The Dos and Don’ts of Data Centers

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Companies and organizations that are using data centers to store vital data should make sure that they are well aware of the best practices for making sure that their data and the actual data center are both well protected from any digital mishaps, financial pitfalls and maintenance issues that might arise. You never know how much time and money you could potentially be wasting by neglecting to make sure that your data center and your data center strategy are in good shape. Brush up on the latest dos and don’ts of data centers before you find yourself in the middle of a data center disaster.


DO Understand the Importance of Data Center Maintenance


Much like automobile maintenance, data center maintenance is one of those things that’s very tempting to put off until a more convenient time. Unfortunately, disaster seems to strike at the most inconvenient time. Think of how much time and money you can potentially lose should your data center ever incur downtime. Without keeping a close eye on them and performing regular maintenance, your servers, cooling systems and other vital components of your data center can suddenly fail, bringing your entire operation to a standstill. You should also keep a close eye on performance degradation since it can lead to a system wide crash if your system isn’t kept in peak condition.


DON’T Forget About Water


While you might think that water is the last thing that you need in a roomful of sensitive electronics, it’s actually vitally important for the proper operation of data centers. The reason for this is that data centers generate a lot of heat and need to be kept cool so that they can operate smoothly. Some of the largest data centers utilize evaporative cooling in order to keep the center from overheating.


That being said, you also want to do what you can to conserve water and money on cooling costs. Remember that every single watt of power that’s used in your data center is converted into heat that has to go somewhere. Only use as much energy as your data center needs so that you only use as much water as you need.


DO Take a Close and Realistic Look at Your Consolidation Plan


If you’ve got a data center consolidation project in the works, you’ll want to make sure that you have a realistic plan in place rather than a plan that’s a little too well thought out. What this means is that you want to have a sound project plan, funding perspective and staffing projections, but you don’t want to over-plan so much that you wind up crippling your progress.


An abundance of checkpoints, refining processes and controls can lead to several roadblocks. When consolidating your data center, plan from the lessons that you’ve learned in the past as well as the most effective and current data center practices. Sometimes it’s best to simply jump in and see what happens.


DON’T Neglect the Best Tools


There are certain tools that you can put to good use when it comes to making sure that your data center is operating at a hundred percent. For instance, infrared scans are a good way to pinpoint high temperatures and several other data center problems. You should also consider implementing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) so that you have a way to model the proper distribution of heat and air flow, both of which allow you to make adjustments to your IT infrastructure. One of the more basic tools that will serve you well is disc space. The right amount of disc space can go a long way in helping you to avoid some of the more major data center issues.


DO Consider “Free” Cooling


Running a data center isn’t exactly the least expensive business operation, which means that you’ll want to save money and utilize free resources where you can, even if they aren’t exactly as free as you might hope. Updated humidity and temperature guidelines make it possible for data centers to operate at greater temperatures, which means that they won’t need as much cooling as they did before. Something else that this means is that data centers are one step closer to having free cooling in the future. With free cooling, centers won’t need as large of a cooling infrastructure, which means that their capital costs as well as their energy consumption will be lower. Keep in mind that free cooling won’t be completely free, but it will most certainly be less expensive than some of the more traditional cooling methods.


DON’T Over or Under Utilize Tools


Some clients love using as many data center tools as they can, but more often than not this does them more harm than good because of the duplicate data, a lack of a formal support infrastructure and various interfaces. By using several tools, you increase your risk of data center error since any underlying data you have is no longer viable.   


On the other hand, you don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that data center tools are overrated and unnecessary. Even though the basic tools will most certainly get the job done, they aren’t optimized for a large scale or specially designed data center. In this case, it’s best that you find a well-balanced middle ground where you only have two or three tools that complement each other.


Taking good care of your data center all starts with setting a good foundation. Figure out what the basic demands of your particular data center are and work your way up and out from there from the root of your data center to the fruit of your data center.



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