10 Rules for the Data Center

By this point in December, almost all of your major projects for the year should be done.  You’re starting to plan next year’s expansion, but there are some important corners that can’t be cut. Below, Zenoss shares 10 rules for data center maintenance and management.

10. A rack without cable management equipment is a sad site.  Yes, your entire site is ruined by one rack that’s not properly cabled, and one day it will cost you in an outage.  The job isn’t done until all the doors on your rack close properly, and all your cable is managed.

9. Enough is never enough, have spares of everything.  I’m not talking about spare hard drives, or ram, here        though.  Have two more labelmakers than you think you need, have extra label tape, and zip ties, and spare cable  management.

8. Your data center may have 2n redundant power, on fully redundant equipment, and a billion watt diesel generator, but one day the power will go down and the generator won’t start.  Plan accordingly. 

7. 220VAC two phase is 110VAC if one phase is disconnected.  This cost me a rack of servers once.  Test everything you’re provided, and monitor it to protect your equipment.

6. Air conditioners die, especially in the early summer, have a plan in place for a heat emergency, install environmental monitoring, even in someone else’s data center, and make sure it’s monitored!

5. Out of band management is crucial.  A 28.8 kilobaud modem plugged into the aux jack of a console server can save your life.  Remember, this requires a phone line.  Remember the phone line and console server need to be monitored!

4. Prepare a bill of materials before you start an installation or maintenance project.  Don’t get to the end of a maintenance window and find out you’re missing 6’ of fiber patch.

 3. Keep a variety of colors and sizes of pre made category 7 cable on hand.  Cables should be available in 1’ 3’ 5’ 7’ 10’ 15’ 20’ 25’ 50’ lengths, and two spools of cable (one full) should be on hand at all times.  Make sure that your documentation covers what each color of cable is for.

2. Label any cable that leaves a rack.  Label what it does, where it goes, and where it plugs in in the rack.

1.Data centers have sharp edges, rough corners, and all the problems that come with an auto repair shop.  They wear special protective clothing and so should you.  Khakis shred.  Wear ripstop clothing and/or denim, and long sleeves.