6 Steps to Data Center Power Chain Management and Risk Assessment

Fact: Data center power outages cause business disruptions.

Probability: Severe data center power outages can cause a loss of customers.

Let’s face it, there is no silver lining to a power loss; the potential ramifications can be irreversible and can include loss of trust, market share and reputation.

So how can you take a proactive approach to preventing power failure in your data center? Take a look at these 6 Steps to Assessing Power Chain Risk:

1. Is your physical IT infrastructure mapped to your power chain?

Discover what devices actually make up your power chain, their locations, respective dependencies and lifecycle status.  Do you know the last time each asset was serviced and by whom?

2. Do you have a single pane-of-glass view across all data centers/data rooms?

Most data center managers already have some sort of monitoring system with a view into BMS systems and such facility operations as HVAC.  But these data center monitoring systems are often siloed in nature and keep all data locked within their respective databases.  Managers need access to all data, in real-time via a consolidated portal that automatically gathers information from:

  • All data centers
  • Multiple BMS systems
  • Mixed vendor/hardware (IT)
  • Facilities Equipment

3. Do you have the ability to run power failure simulations?

Power failure simulations are a great way to test the resilience of a power chain while identifying the impact of all down streaming devices affected by power loss.

4. Are all incidents in your data center being captured within ITSM service desk?

It’s important to keep track of the small and large issues that impact operations so you can identify patterns and avoid future disruptions. This takes full integration between the data center operations, the IT Service Management (ITSM) Service Desk and facilities information to document problems and make impactful changes.

5. Are you using trend analysis to identify potential risks of failure before they happen?

This is about looking back in order to look forward. By carefully monitoring and documenting what data center capacity is being used, you can detect trends and patterns that occur over time, which will help in future capacity planning needs.

6. How secure is your power chain?

Does your IT security encompass network vulnerabilities and your power chain’s devices? Is the power chain part of IT security protocols, and who has access to your control points?  These are critical questions to address and insulate the entire operation from possible breaches.

What’s the best method to assess the probability of power loss and mitigate the associated risks?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have full transparency into all interconnected devices and systems?
  • Am I monitoring my operations in real time?
  • Have I documented the datacenter’s resiliency?
  • Am I capable of running a stress test to determine the various risk levels associated with power loss?
  • Can I identify the changing trends in my power system and respond accordingly?
  • What is the overall vulnerability of my power chain?

If you do not have answers for all these questions, consider implementing a DCIM solution.  DCIM solutions are a proven means to address all these concerns while enabling both facilities and IT personnel to participate in improving overall operations while lowering capital expenses.  There is no panacea for ensuring a hundred percent uptime and efficiency.  However, there are methods to identify areas of improvement and prepare for service disruption.  You owe it to your company and customers to be aware of the data center management tools that help preserve services.

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