Many organizations build small on-premises infrastructure solutions inside a small data center like facility or room.
On the first hand, this might seem like the right solution because the environment is fully controlled and operated by the organization's staff. Over time, as the organization grows and develops, it becomes increasingly harder to maintain the availability, quality, and performance of these systems. There are many factors involved, like proper staffing, having the right hardware, incident management, facility management, etc.
In this article, we will focus on some of the facility management challenges and risks that companies face developing their on-premises solutions.
Every data center facility contains electrical, chemical, and mechanical safety hazards that can cause severe injuries if they are not accurately identified and mitigated. It's essential to have a proper safety program to prevent possible injuries. This program protects the employees, eliminates potential fines by government authorities, and reduces equipment damage and system interruptions caused by the incident.
Human errors are the number one cause of system interruptions in data centers. For the proper functioning of your infrastructure solution, you don't need only a good system administrator; there are also other roles involved like electrical, mechanical, fire detection/suppression, quality management, etc. Facility teams require extensive initial and continuous training to properly run the facility for your infrastructure solution.
One more crucial thing is to develop a working model based on your system's operational requirements. There are critical factors such as emergency response requirements, maintenance activity workload, project supervision needs, and the operations budget.
Lastly, it is also essential to clearly define roles and responsibilities for each individual position. Well defined position descriptions provide a benchmark for evaluating skills and setting goals for growth and training needs.
No matter how good your solution is designed and how capable is your staff, it is virtually impossible to eliminate all risks of an unexpected system interruption.
Good preparation is critical; it helps you respond fast and effectively when an incident occurs. Datacenters usually develop emergency operating procedures (EOPs) for all high-risk failure scenarios.
Once the incident occurs and the team has effectively solved the problem, it is essential to conduct an extensive analysis of the root cause. This incident analysis helps adequately address issues that caused the failure and mitigate risks in the future.
The facility maintenance programs help run critical facility resources like power and cooling systems throughout the expected data center's life cycle.
Maintenance management encompasses two key areas: asset management and work order management.
Accurate and consistent tracking of all critical facility assets is the foundation of a good maintenance program. A well-maintained asset database provides the building blocks for adequate maintenance, while an inaccurate one will result in inefficiency or possible equipment failures. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) should be used to record, track, and manage asset data and maintenance history to track your facility assets accurately.
Work orders are a tool for service process management. They are essential to track the process, from work initiation through planning, scheduling, execution, and completion. This allows work to be prioritized correctly, assigned the right resources, and completed on schedule. If poorly managed, maintenance may be missed, go unfinished, or result in wasted staff effort.
An infrastructure management system is necessary to match the facility's resources with changing IT requirements efficiently. An infrastructure management system can prevent downtime, improve resiliency and response, reduce operating expenses, and provide a sound basis for capacity planning decisions.
There are three essential tasks to focus on within an infrastructure management program: monitoring, capacity management, and IT/ Facilities integration. The ideal platform to address these requirements is a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software suite. It provides centralized, real-time monitoring of all facility assets, visually mapping dependencies of the IT workloads to the physical infrastructure, as well as showing current, historical, and future power consumption trends are all typical functions of modern DCIM suites.
To properly run the facility for your on-premises solutions, your company needs to invest a lot of resources into understanding its needs and staff required to satisfy these needs. Over time, due to a lack of dedicated team, things can get out of hand, resulting in a severe incident for your company, sometimes causing substantial financial losses. As your company grows, you need to assess your needs and consider moving your solutions to the cloud. There are many benefits of cloud solutions; elimination of facility management complexities and risks for your company is undoubtedly one of them. Your company does not need to think about proper infrastructure and maintenance management and about staff required to run your facility.
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