Maintaining Data Center Power & Cooling Equipment (from Processor Magazine)
Release date: 9/19/2008
Timely, Proper Maintenance Makes All The Difference
Electronic Enviroments was recently interviewed for this article on Data Center Power & Cooling Maintenance by Processor Magazine:
When your data center hardware is working as it should, things are good. But when hardware issues arise, that’s another story. Because small to midsized enterprises rely on mission-critical systems, hardware and equipment maintenance is key to optimal data center performance. Neglecting to maintain equipment or implementing improper maintenance procedures are two of the biggest reasons why data center equipment fails. Two of the heaviest hitters in the data center, power and cooling equipment, require regular maintenance to ensure that power, temperature, or humidity fluctuations do not cost a company thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
Sharyn Dunn, marketing manager at Electronic Environments (EEC Net), says typical types of data center power and cooling equipment that require regular maintenance include air-conditioning units, UPSes, batteries, generators, transfer switches, PDUs, and even fire suppression systems. Dunn says all power and cooling equipment that supports the data center should receive regular maintenance in order to keep it running at peak efficiency.
A few important questions that IT and data center managers need to ask themselves to make sure they are on the right track in terms of timely and proper equipment maintenance include: What maintenance needs to be done on the equipment or hardware? When? How often? Dunn says there are different scopes of work for each piece of equipment. “The rule of thumb,” she says, “is to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. There is generally a major inspection and service that occurs on an annual basis, and then on either a quarterly or monthly basis, another smaller service should be provided, again dependent on the type of equipment in question.”
When you’re dealing specifically with data center power equipment maintenance, Dunn says each piece of equipment has its own specialized scope of work (although, she says, there are some consistent themes). She comments, “Maintenance should include a visual inspection where you are looking for dust, leaks, or corrosion. In terms of batteries, you should be checking, measuring, and recording voltage, currents, and conductance readings—looking for anomalies or trends in recordings.” She says outside of regular maintenance, generators should be load tested once per year to verify the ability to run at full rated kilowatt output. Dunn also notes, “In the end, a properly maintained UPS or generator will ensure that when called upon, the system performs according to the manufacturer’s specifications.”