Tackling the data centre in 2015

So you’ve made it through New Year – the data centre is still standing and you’ve had a couple of weeks to get back into your routine – good times!

Rather than give you some bland New Years resolutions to break by mid-February, here are some thoughts on the areas every data centre manager should be thinking about in the coming year.

Some are practical and will get the year off to a good start, others simply suggestions to help you start planning early to avoid a panic later.

Clean up your act

Many data centre problems and breakdowns are due to the build up of dust and dirt in the facility. The tiniest particles can cause blockages and overheating in equipment, leading to damage, inefficiencies and worst of all, downtime.

Check when you last had a deep clean of the data centre and if it is more than a year ago, think about bringing in a specialist cleaning company using the latest technology to deep clean equipment and the environment.

A whizz around with a hoover is not good enough!

Maintenance

An early MOT for your data centre is a must. Get your maintenance contracts up to date, ensuring all your key equipment is maintained and replaced if due.

Planned ongoing maintenance helps you avoid costly equipment failures leading to downtime, and can be completed in a live environment without impacting services.

Remember it's all about avoiding downtime.

What does the future hold?

How far into your current data centre strategic plan are you?

It may be that is time for a refresh and to start looking further ahead. Whether there are business expansion plans that require an extension to the data centre or a new build, planning takes time and decisions you take now, could be very costly if you have to tear out equipment in 18 months.

Data Centre’s require investment and time; planning early will ensure that CAPEX is catered for and things are not left to the 11th hour where costs and strategy go out of the window.

Energy efficiency

This year will be no different to the past few in terms of businesses being encouraged to improve their energy efficiency in any way possible.

Starting the year with a PUE audit will measure energy efficiency and enable you to put some goals in place for its improvement. If you already have ambitious efficiency improvement targets, perhaps now is the time to consider how you can achieve them?

Whether it is replacement LED lighting, Retrofitting EC fans or transforming existing cabinets to hot/cold aisle containment, there are lots of quick wins to get you on your way to improving your data centre energy efficiency.

Also, if not already doing so look at the ISO 50001:2011 Energy Management Systems standard.

This gives an organisation a systematic approach to continuous improvement in energy performance. It is well worth investing the time in getting the processes in place to earn the standard and reap savings for the business.

Security

More than ever security is firmly in the minds of those responsible for the operational aspects of a business.

Safeguarding the data centre is not just an IT challenge and should be at the heart of security plans as these rooms hold valuable equipment and data without which most companies would struggle to operate.

Use January to investigate how security in and around your data centre can be improved. It may be as simple as implementation of CCTV or fitting intelligent access control, or perhaps the building in which your DC resides is showing signs of wear and tear and requires attention?

Some businesses may have their computer servers in a storage room, which is neither safe nor fit for purpose.

It may be time to consider the next step such as a Modular DC Pod, or a containerised DC which is safe, secure and can be delivered to site ready to fit.

Chris Wellfair is projects director at Secure I.T. Environments Ltd.