Preventing Human Error in a Data Center

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Gento  |  Comments (2)

Many people don't realize that the most significant cause of data center downtime, to the tune of an incredible 70% by most estimates, actually has to do with your employees, more specifically, human error. It's a very serious problem that will only get worse if not corrected upfront, but luckily there are a few key steps that you can start taking today to help mitigate risk from these types of issues moving forward. 

The Myth of "Malicious Intentions"

The vast majority of the time, human error has absolutely nothing to do with a person's "malicious intentions" but is the product of someone being in the "wrong place at the wrong time." Think about it - data centers, in particular, are highly specialized environments, filled with room after room of sensitive (read: fragile) equipment. All it takes is one person getting in a situation they're not equipped to handle, making a choice perhaps they think will help the team but in reality, it’s the wrong decision and next thing you know, you’re looking at a major issue.

Combatting Human Error

Human error is not something that can ever fully be eradicated.  We're all human beings and humans make mistakes. It is, however, something that you can plan for.

Color-coded power cord plugs and plug inserts, for example, are a perfect visual way to help quickly identify which resources are essential and which ones are less important. Even by someone who isn't necessarily familiar with the equipment, they are still able to recognize the proper importance.

A device that has been connected with a RED power cord, for example, might be one that is absolutely mission-critical and should never, under any circumstances, be unplugged. Any equipment that CAN be unplugged with management confirmation, on the other hand, might be connected with a YELLOW plug. GREEN power cords might be used to identify assets that are not mission-critical and therefore can be unplugged temporarily on an as-needed basis.

This is just one example of a system that you may implement and stick with, along with mandatory training for all employees, regardless of job title, to help eliminate human error. These actions will go a long way towards preventing employees who make an “educated guess” that, unfortunately, turns out to be wrong, thus taking some of your assets offline resulting in an unforeseen outage.

Another perfect opportunity to mitigate risk from human error would involve utilizing rack PDU locking power cords and outlets. Even going beyond human error, IEC outlets can oftentimes fail to hold plugs as securely as employees and data center managers would like. All it takes is one person who doesn't triple check a plug to make it secure, and you're a few hours away from an accidental disconnection.

With Raritan’s SecureLock power cords and outlets, however, this isn't something you would need to worry about anymore. All of Raritan's PX intelligent rack power distribution units are equipped with SecureLock outlets from the time of purchase, and when connected with SecureLock power cords it prevents cables from becoming accidentally unplugged, ensuring data center managers a peace of mind.

Another important area to focus on is physical data center security. Being able to limit access to only authorized personnel in a data center goes a long way towards reducing conditions where human error can take effect WITHOUT impacting the mission-critical functions of the rest of your organization. One simple solution that adds a layer of physical security to the cabinet is intelligent door locks. Raritan offers intelligent door locks called the SmartLock System which provides users an easy to deploy, economical, networked door locking solution for all types of data center enclosures. The optional USB webcam allows for even more security in highly sensitive environments with proximity sensors, which provides real-time images and video to be viewed remotely. 

These are just a small sample of the different methods of preventing human error. These steps combined with employee education, process and procedure go a long way towards greatly reducing the risk from the number one cause of data center unplanned outages today, human error.

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What Are the Top Concerns for Data Center Managers?

Posted on May 22, 2018 by Gento  |  Comments (4)

Top Four Concerns for Data Center Managers
Preparedness is often the first step for resolving potential challenges and devising solutions. As such, in order to properly prepare for the future of data centers, it is important to first understand the top concerns for data center managers.

1. Climate Change. -- In a recent 2018 study, more than 50 percent of participating organizations were concerned about the potential for climate change disruptions to existing data centers. Throughout the globe, organizations need to take into consideration the potentially negative impacts of rising temperatures, growing floodplains, and an increase in violent storms. All three types of climate change coincide with the increase in region-wide disasters. In order to prepare for this potential challenge, data centers need to include disaster and emergency planning efforts into the broader business continuity plans for the entire organization.

2. Data Center Infrastructure Security Threats. -- Due to the nature of the sensitive business and personal information that they hold, data centers need to remain vigilant for potential infrastructure security threats. Recent studies show that these attacks are more frequently being conducted on an IP-basis. As such, organizations need to effectively control how machines are connected to their data centers. Through private networks, a limited number of access points, and stringent monitoring systems, data centers can remain prepared to effectively combat infrastructure security threats.

3. Emerging Edge Computing Capacity. -- Edge computing is set to be one of the emerging technologies that disrupt the data center sector. This type of technology is a direct response for the need to process data closer to where it is generated, consumed, integrated, and computed. As with any emerging data center technology, the concern for many managers lies in security and data sovereignty. However, as organizations require access to data at the "edge," these solutions will continue to be implemented for a variety of purposes. From "store and forward," to data consolidation and backup, self-contained micro-modular data centers will play a key role in deploying a viable solution for edge computing.

4. DCIM Strategies. -- Data center complexity is on the rise. As a response to this increased complexity, the requirements for control, management, and visibility from DCIM software has also grown. Fortunately, DCIM products have recently matured to now offer rich, scalable, and stable management solutions to increase the forecasting, agility, and efficiencies of data centers. While it is still an under-deployed technology, it is expected that as it continues to mature, so too will it become a more widely adopted solution. The challenge for data center managers will be creating and implementing the operational changes needed to support DCIM software.

The Bottom Line: Be Prepared for Upcoming Challenges
Climate change, data center infrastructure security threats, edge computing, and DCIM strategies are all concerning areas for data center managers. As these emerging technologies continue to be adopted, data centers will need to take a proactive approach. Through a state of preparedness, data centers can more readily adopt the technologies needed to meet the growing needs of organizations. Finally, with the right knowledge and preparation, data centers can continue to grow and evolve as they adopt new technologies, address the concerns of data center managers, and meet the evolving needs of organizations.

Find out how Raritan can help solve your power data center concerns. Visit our website here

Why Easy to Use PDUs will Help Your Data Center

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Gento  |  Comments (4)

With the rapid expansion of data centers creating highly complex IT infrastructures, it’s becoming more important than ever to find ways to increase the efficiency of day-to day operations.  One of the most practical ways to achieve improved efficiency is through devices that are easy to use and easy to deploy.

Cost Savings with Micro Data Centers

Posted on May 4, 2018 by Gento  |  Comments (2)

Major changes in data centers operations have historically involved the location of data processing. At one time, this function was moved off-site to mainframes, but the advent of microcomputers, now known as desktops or PCs, brought data processing back to the customer’s own data center. Cloud servers and collocated data centers resulted in data processing being performed off-site once again.

Today, some organizations are using micro data centers to process data on their own premises. This solution can provide performance improvements that justify the initial expense of a data center and has the potential to gain wide acceptance in the near future.

5 Reasons to Prioritize Rack-Level Management Now

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Gento  |  Comments (17)

If you’re an IT leader, you’ve probably made significant investments in data center management over the past few years. That’s because the success of the organization you serve depends heavily on the technical and economic performance of your data center. So the more digital your organization becomes, the smarter you have to be about how you manage your data center infrastructure.

Chances are, though, that you’ve focused on aggregate management of your data center as a whole. That’s good – but it will only get you so far. To fully optimize the value your business derives from its data center capex and opex, you must aggressively pursue operational excellence at the rack level.

What is an intelligent PDU?

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Gento  |  Comments (16)

An Intelligent Power Distribution Unit (iPDU) is a networked power distribution unit that increases the efficiencies of data centers with real-time remote power monitoring, environmental monitoring, and data center infrastructure integration. Intelligent rack PDUs deliver technologies which enables a smarter IT infrastructure so you can stay ahead of problems before they occur. They help achieve the ultimate goal of any data center manager, maintaining uptime while reducing cost.

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Other Blog Posts

What Are the Top Concerns for Data Center Managers?
Posted on May 22, 2018
Why Easy to Use PDUs will Help Your Data Center
Posted on May 17, 2018
Cost Savings with Micro Data Centers
Posted on May 4, 2018
5 Reasons to Prioritize Rack-Level Management Now
Posted on April 25, 2018
What is an intelligent PDU?
Posted on April 25, 2018

View all Blog Posts




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