03/01/2008

Preventive Maintenance is Vital to Data Center Health

When correctly implemented, preventive maintenance programs ensure maximum reliability of data center equipment

 

Data Center Assessments
Growing business demands are forcing data center managers to support more equipment, resulting in increased heat loads. A data center assessment will help identify, evaluate, and resolve cooling vulnerabilities that could adversely affect the data center's operational performance or energy efficiency. The assessment will determine whether heat is being removed from sensitive heat-generating computer equipment and examine the capacity of existing electrical systems and the quality of power provided to the facility.

Taking a proactive approach will also help prevent costly downtime of business-critical equipment. According to a 2006 Emerson business continuity survey, 38 percent of large businesses estimate that 1 day of downtime could cost more than $500,000 in lost revenue.

As organizations become increasingly dependent on data center systems, there is a need for greater reliability in the critical power system. For many organizations, the IT infrastructure has evolved into an interdependent, business-critical network that includes data, applications, storage, servers, and networking. A power failure at any point along the network can affect the entire operation and have serious consequences on the business.

To minimize unit-related failures, comprehensive preventive maintenance (PM) programs with OEM-trained and -certified technicians are recommended. When correctly implemented, PM programs ensure maximum reliability of data center equipment by providing systematic inspections that can lead to detection and correction of initial failures (either before they occur or before they develop into major defects that can result in costly downtime). Typical PM programs include inspections, tests, measurements, adjustments, parts replacement, and housekeeping practices.

To better address the importance of regular, skilled preventive maintenance, in-depth analyses have been conducted; bottom-line-driven organizations can use this information to help shape their PM policies and practices.

Research was based on the mean time between failures (MTBF) evaluation, which is an industry-recognized measure of system behavior. In general, a higher MTBF number, stated in hours, indicates a more reliable unit. The analysis began by tabulating data covering more than 185 million operating hours for more than 5,000 three-phase UPS units. The sample was broken into groups according to the number of PM visits written into the contract.


An increase in the number of annual preventive maintenance visits increases the mean time between failures (MTBF).
COURTESY OF LIEBERT SERVICE

The outcome of the model can be seen in the figure shown above, which depicts the expected MTBF figures projected up to six PM events per year. The MTBF estimate for the "no PM" group is substantially lower than the observed MTBF for units with emergency-service-only contracts, but is in line with the lifespan of components that must be replaced.

There is a substantial increase in MTBF from zero to six PM visits per year. When projected further out than six PM visits, the MTBF begins to level off at around 19 PM visits per year and then slowly declines at higher levels of maintenance. This decline after a large number of PM visits can be attributed to the fact that every service event introduces the possibility of service-related human error.

The study also found that UPS reliability increases when a factory-trained and -certified engineer handles the equipment (effective service engineers are trained on new procedures, equipment, designs, and changes to systems).

The number of preventive maintenance visits and the service engineer's level of training both have substantial impact on system reliability. Research further supports the need for at least two PM visits per year, but also makes the case for more PM visits for facilities where downtime is unacceptable. Depending on the cost of downtime for a particular application, a high return on investment can be realized in many cases by increasing PM frequency.

Jeff Powers is a senior product manager at Liebert Service, a part of Emerson Network Power, Columbus, OH.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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