You wouldn’t overlook the protection of any other form of capital investment, so why should telecommunication technology be any different? Carl Webb, from Andrews Sykes, outlines the crushing impact of avoidable negligence
There are very few issues that can affect a business as quickly as server failure – where the effects are often immediate. Put simply, when servers break down, the smooth operation of your company is instantly put in jeopardy, which can be very difficult to recover from if you are not sufficiently prepared.
Protecting your business’s critical assets should not be left to chance, which means formulating a set protocol to follow if something goes wrong. Depending on the severity of disruption, your data centre or server room’s overall integrity may be completely destroyed. Whether that is the case, or a far more minor issue develops, you will still need a plan of action.
The presence of air conditioning should be a mandatory feature of any application where vital electronic hardware is stored. Data centres and computer rooms use a significant quantity of energy, producing large volumes of heat which must be safely counteracted. For this reason, the presence of a reliable cooling source is essential and should be replaced with urgency if it falters at any stage.
A survey of 128 data centres last year, carried out by EkkoSense, revealed that temperature-related issues account for approximately one in three data centre outages. This worrying statistic reinforces the point that thermal factors continue to cause interference on a large scale, with UK businesses being caught out on a daily basis.
Facilities managers or those responsible for the upkeep of your servers should be able to spot the many warning signs that suggest trouble might be just around the corner.
If you have noticed a steady increase in the cost of maintaining your data centre, then you should heed that as a potential indicator that something is awry. Rising costs probably denote that your systems are operating below full capacity due to the equipment’s age or it needing to overcompensate for deficiencies elsewhere.
Ineffective cooling, as already touched upon, is one of the most common causes of server failure but is often difficult to diagnose. As time passes, the density of electronic framework designed to house networking devices and other hardware will naturally increase. This gradual rise will eventually reach a point where the concentration of electronics slowly negates the impact of your air conditioning arrangement, leading to the emergence of hot spots.
The ramifications of a data centre malfunctioning are as varied as they are far-reaching, which is why it is imperative that anticipatory measures are taken at the earliest available opportunity.
When breakdown strikes, there is a cost associated with detecting the original problem including a preliminary investigation into how and why it arose. At this juncture, it is likely you will also need to undertake a process of containment to prevent an outage from worsening or affecting other parts of your business.
Once offline, the immediate priority will be restoring networks and key systems as quickly as possible. This is easier said than done and the financial expense of this phase can be difficult to quantify, although it is normally significant.
Replacement equipment, reduced productivity and lost revenue are all additional variables that constitute a cost and that’s without considering any third-party expenditure where contractors or consultants are required on site.
Not all losses can be measured in monetary terms, however. There is no doubt that a major data centre collapse would affect the way in which an operator is perceived by clients, and that can have long-term repercussions. Trivial everyday complications can normally be rectified but a damaged reputation is far more difficult to repair.
Data centre failure is a daunting prospect for any company that depends on the continued functionality of all technology contained within. The good news is that devising a back-up plan is straightforward when you review your options with an industry expert – and frankly, there really is no excuse for not doing so.
By acknowledging the sensitive nature of data centres and related applications, dedicated technicians can quickly propose and commission a short-term cooling arrangement that can either supersede or supplement whatever you have in place. In some cases, installing additional air conditioning units to support an existing system will be more than adequate for preventing a breakdown caused by electrical components overheating.
A reliable contingency service significantly increases the chances of daily output targets being preserved – even during a crisis – with business continuity very much the primary objective. By constantly developing and improving the technology used in their modern air conditioners and chillers, a trusted supplier will be able to provide superior replacement equipment should your own cooling system falter without warning. Your preferred provider should be capable of responding to emergencies promptly and have genuine experience of working within one of the world’s most temperamental and sensitive sectors.
Understanding the potential impact of failed IT systems enables engineers to react quickly, take preventative measures and install the necessary cooling apparatus before any damage is done.
The round-the-clock availability of high capacity air conditioning units should be coupled with an offer of no obligation assessments before a project is undertaken. If something goes wrong on site, clients will reap the benefits of technical guidance before any hired cooling solution is implemented.
If you are not sufficiently prepared for overcoming warm server room temperatures and the multitude of complications this can bring, then now is the time to act.
The absence of a preordained response plan is unforgivable and leaves your business vulnerable. With the stakes so high, why risk suffering a decreased level of output, sky-high expenses and a vastly reduced budget when sourcing a hired air conditioning arrangement – and as a result peace of mind – is so simple?