General Maintenance Inspections
In addition to the maintenance requirements for critical infrastructure systems, there are other important aspects of a server room facility that also require regular inspection and potential work plans:
- Access and Space Usage Reviews: an inspection to compare the layout to the design floor plan to ensure all racks and equipment are where they should be, with no additions or use of the space for storage; good access is essential for safe preventative maintenance and to ensure airflow into and around server racks and hot/cold-aisles is as planned for.
- Building and Rooms Usage: an inspection covering the general condition of the floors, ceilings and walls, windows/seals (if present), leak or water damage, damp or heat marks, exit and entry signs, and pest presence.
- Cleanliness, Dust, Particles and Rubbish Removal: dust and particulates will build up in within the servers, IT devices, electronic and electrical devices, floor tiles, walls, server racks and cooling systems and will require regular removal and potentially a deep clean to avoid a harmful build-up. It is also important to ensure any rubbish is removed from the room which could present a potential fire hazard or help to fuel one of it were to break out.
- IT Network Servers, Cables and Connectivity: to ensure servers and network devices are clean with unobstructed air flow, and that there are no loose, bare connections or unlabelled cables, that could lead to a short-circuit, trip-hazard or accidental disconnection.
Within any maintenance plan, one of the most important aspects is visual inspection. This can identify potential issues that are not automatically or immediately captured via monitoring systems. The person responsible for the inspection should be suitably trained and from time to time it can be advantageous for them to be accompanied by a third-party consultant who can challenge accepted practices and thinking.
Visual inspections can also be assisted using technologies such as thermal camera imaging. The hand-held devices can be used to identify both hot and cold areas within the room and within targeted systems and components and should be operated by suitably trained personnel.
A ‘hot-spot’ within a server rack can help to identify a need for additional cooling and/or a rearrangement of the equipment in the rack. High thermal temperatures elsewhere can identify a failing battery, overloaded electrical conductor and electrical inefficiencies that should be investigated. Variable temperatures from too cold to to hot within a server room or datacentre can also indicate a poorly functioning cooling strategy.
Additional information could also be available from any local monitoring software including a central DCIM software platform, and especially where local sensors have been utilised for specific issues including temperature and humidity.