All technology, no matter how advanced, needs regular maintenance in order to continue functioning properly. The importance of maintenance obviously increases with the importance of the hardware in question. As such, for something as critical as a data center, a thorough maintenance strategy is essential.
Technology Connection, a specialist in airflow management for critical IT environments, recently offered a number of tips for creating and implementing an effective maintenance strategy.
As is the case when crafting any plan, goals must first be defined or else it won't be possible to judge the effectiveness of the plan. It is also important to keep thorough documentation as anything less will likely lead to problems down the line. Examples of this include keeping a reference of procedures, data and metrics, as well as creating an inventory of all pieces of equipment in the data center. Since it is also vital to make maintenance a routine, it's a good idea to make documentation a part of that routine.
It's also a good idea to include more than just the data center manager in the creation of a maintenance strategy. Having him or her work closely with support teams will lead to fewer oversights, while making it easier to determine who should do what. Likewise, it's important to keep management up to date in order to stay sensitive to budget fluctuations.
Lastly, sometimes it's a better idea to simply outsource maintenance. For example, XS International offers an IT maintenance service that might end up being a better fit than an internal maintenance strategy.
An inexpensive alternative to Cisco (News - Alert) SMARTnet maintenance, XSi's all-in-one solution covers hardware from a number of vendors, including Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, HP, IBM (News - Alert), Dell and many more. It also promises a cost savings of 20 to 40 percent.
The benefits of third-party maintenance include contract flexibility, customized payment solutions, and service and support for end of life equipment.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey