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The Importance of Preventative Maintenance

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami in Japan serve as heartbreaking reminders that – despite all our technological advances – there remain events we are powerless to prevent. Rather, natural disasters require us to focus our efforts on preparedness and recovery.

The situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant offers a different lesson. As the crisis continues, some media outlets are beginning to examine the plant’s preventive maintenance records. An article published by MSNBC seems to question the operator’s safety record in light of what appears to be missed inspections on 33 pieces of equipment.

As our prayers go out to the people of Japan, let all of us in the data center industry renew our commitment to better prepare for those events we can’t control, and to prevent those which we can. After all, the data centers in our charge are often responsible for providing – either directly or indirectly – essential support for mission-critical public services.

A recent Uptime Institute study indicates that 70% of data center downtime is caused by human error. Another study on behalf of Emerson reveals that 65% of downtime was the result of UPS battery failure. Training, procedures, and a strict commitment to preventive maintenance can greatly reduce unnecessary service outages, and can also result in faster restoration and recovery when the truly unavoidable occurs.

Take a look at your equipment logs, SOPs and MOPs. When was the last time that you replaced your UPS batteries? How about the air filter in your cooling system? Has the recent recession caused delays in upgrades and crucial procedures that could lead to failure if not addressed?

Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you’re unsure which issues are most critical, or would like an unbiased assessment of your maintenance procedures, please give us a call.

Compu Dynamics is a proud supporter of the American Red Cross. We encourage our fellow data center professionals to contribute to the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund at the Red Cross.

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