4 Common Data Center Maintenance Issues DCIM Software Can Fix
July 28, 2017

Data center maintenance is key to keeping your business-critical systems up and running smoothly. Yet, despite the ever-present threat of disasters and the financial implications of unplanned downtime, many data center managers struggle to ensure that their facilities and equipment are maintained regularly.   

Given the versatility of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software and the variety of problems it can solve, it’s no wonder why today’s data center managers are increasingly looking to data center software as a tool to help them manage maintenance. Consider just a few of the common maintenance headaches data center managers face and how DCIM can help.

1. Knowing when to conduct preventive data center maintenance

Preventative maintenance can help to prolong your equipment’s lifecycle through conducting regular inspections and manufacturer-recommended updates.  Remembering to conduct such maintenance, however, can be difficult when you don’t have easy access to records of when the equipment was installed or last maintained. It’s even more difficult in enterprise data centers, which often contain a miscellany of intelligent rack PDUs, floor PDUs, rack transfer switches, servers, and other devices that may have been purchased and installed at different times. (Colocation data centers typically have more standard equipment and maintenance schedules.)

Most DCIM software can help keep track of the install date and age of your equipment so you can easily determine when maintenance is required. Moreover, this information gives you the opportunity to plan your maintenance during the weekend or other times of low usage to minimize its negative impact.  

2. Knowing when to conduct predictive data center maintenance

In contrast to preventive maintenance, predictive data center maintenance is a proactive approach that leverages metrics, data analysis, and trends to address maintenance issues before they become problems. However, gathering the information required to gain insights into which equipment can benefit from predictive maintenance is difficult without an accurate way to collect the data.

Real-time reporting and analytics for data centers are key features for many data center software solutions. Interactive dashboards and visualizations within DCIM software provide at-a-glance data center business intelligence on average temperature, active power, and other metrics that can indicate whether equipment is close to failing so you can take steps to repair or replace it. As a bonus, DCIM software can run simulations without impacting equipment in use to help you ensure that you have enough power capacity to continue operating your equipment in case of a failover situation.

3. Maintaining equipment without compromising data integrity

Most DCIM software solutions rely on connectivity with the iPDUs and other devices for the purposes of accurate data center monitoring. However, conducting maintenance on these items requires that they become temporarily unavailable to the software. As a result, maintenance can create instances where the software will poll the devices and generate “loss of connectivity” notifications, which can falsely indicate health problems in your data center.

A comprehensive DCIM solution will provide a feature to set facility items like iPDUs into “maintenance mode,” or otherwise indicate that the device is out of service (or removed) within the software. This allows the data center software to continue to use the device’s historical data for analytics and reports without throwing events that create false positives.

4. Ensuring that requests and work orders are completed correctly

Validating that work orders have been completed properly is one of the biggest headaches for a data center manager, especially for colocation data centers, lights-out data centers, and other environments where you and your team are not on site. Aside from this physical disconnection, you also need to contend with limited visibility into the status of your requests and the effectiveness of the technicians doing the work.

With DCIM software, you can maintain efficient data center change management with streamlined workflow validation and an audit trail, if necessary, for compliance. Generating work orders within your data center software ensures that you only need to go to one system to see all the details of your changes, including deadlines and special instructions. Work orders including cabinet elevation diagrams can be printed from the DCIM software and physically attached to equipment for increased clarity during the actual change. Real-time status notifications mean that you don’t need to worry about missing important updates as each step in the workflow is completed.

Maintenance is a necessary part of managing your data center, but it doesn’t have to be painful or difficult. Leverage DCIM software as a single source of truth for data that helps you streamline your maintenance tasks and decrease unplanned downtime in your data center.

See how easy managing your data center maintenance can be with DCIM software that’s easy, fast, and complete. Test drive Sunbird’s DCIM software today.

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