Most data center experts agree that data center maintenance strategy has a dramatic effect on the overall operating costs and operational efficiencies of a data center.
At the same time, data center maintenance rarely receives the attention it deserves. This forces data centers into a variety of situations which could be avoided.
Why is Data Center Maintenance Important?
The primary reason data center maintenance is often overlooked is because it is not perceived to be as important as day-to-day tasks. From an operational and financial perspective, data center maintenance may be one of the most important regularly performed activities in data centers.
Some estimates state that a lack of regular data center maintenance is responsible for 30% to 40% of all downtime experienced in the United States. Sometimes the issue or failure causing the downtime can be quickly remedied; however it often lasts several hours.
Another reason regular data center maintenance and data centers is important is because it minimizes equipment degradation. Equipment degradation can significantly decrease operational efficiency in both capacity and performance. Without regular data center maintenance, equipment degradation can take place across the entire data center.
In terms of performance, over a 10 hour period a system which has degraded by 10% operates at the same level as a fully functioning system which operates 49 hours and suffers one hour of downtime. Looking at system degradation in terms of downtime highlights the importance of regular maintenance and maintaining the highest levels of system operations throughout a data center.
What Are the Common Barriers to an Effective Maintenance Strategy?
In data centers there are two primary barriers to carrying out an effective data center maintenance strategy. They are time and resources.
Daily demands of IT staff throughout data centers are already incredibly high. As a result, if data center maintenance is not a high priority then it will consistently be put off in favor of other tasks.
Another problem is that data center maintenance costs money and many companies are not providing a large enough maintenance budget to successfully carry out their maintenance strategy.
By taking a look at the true costs of poor maintenance, it quickly becomes clear that allocating more upfront money to maintenance significantly reduces long-term costs associated with poorly maintained equipment.
How Much Is Regular Data Center Maintenance Really Worth?
The easiest way to determine the real value of regular data center maintenance is by comparing the cost of maintenance to the cost of downtime. Several studies have estimated the average cost of downtime and data centers is approximately $5600 per minute.
This means after an hour and a half of downtime, the company has accrued a net loss of $505,500. This doesn’t include paying a premium for emergency data center maintenance services which become expensive if the downtime happens during off hours. Companies are also forced to pay a premium for the expedited delivery of replacement parts.
While the return on regular maintenance will vary from one data center to the next, there is no doubt it consistently provides a positive ROI. If there is a piece of equipment which begins creating a negative ROI, even with regular data center maintenance, then there is no other option but to replace it.