9 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Data Center

Data centers are starting to revolutionize the IT industry and there are more start-ups today than ever before, with more coming onto the scene every day. Whether you’re one that’s just starting out or you’ve been operating a data center for a while, you might be making some of the most common mistakes found in data centers. Find out what the top nine are, and how you can avoid them.

1.) Not having a high-quality pocket flashlight on you at all times
Your fluorescent lights do a fine enough job lighting the office, right? And in case of a power outage, your generators will kick in and provide enough light for you to get around. So why would you need a pocket flashlight? Because you’ll need to be crawling into racks, checking for serial numbers and ports on the backs of servers, and do your fair share of searching in the dark. Don’t rely on your phone that’s awkward, will get scratched, and won’t provide sufficient light anyway. Spend a couple of bucks to get a pocket flashlight and have it on you at all times.

2.) Not knowing your cables
You’ll be having equipment delivered to your office on a regular basis and not every cable, wire, or cord is the same. Make sure you know what cables come with it, and if it will fit into your standard rack power strips, because not all of them do. If you can fix this problem at the time of delivery, you’ll save yourself some grief in the long run.

3.) Failing to keep a copy of all documents
This is common sense, right? Right, but not everyone does it. Your diagrams and reference sheets will already be on the fileserver, but if you can’t access them when it goes down, they do you no good. Keep a copy on your laptop, Google Drive, or SharePoint Workspace so they’ll be accessible when you need them.

4.) Messy racks and server space
Neat cabling, with wires all nicely running parallel in cable management attachments, don’t just like phenomenal (because they do), they also make it easier to trace cables, install new ones, and remove the old. They’re a must. You should never have cables knotted into nests beside or behind racks.

5.) Neglecting to check things out for yourself
You’re the expert so if something goes wrong you’ll be the person that’s called. When you are, take the time to check the problem out for yourself. Otherwise you might waste a lot of time trying to fix a “faulty” printer that’s really just had the network cable accidentally knocked out of it.

6.) Failing to double-connect everything
Double-connecting everything to the network is valuable insurance that your servers will remain accessible even if something goes wrong. Pair the adaptors with LACP/EtherChannel, or use teaming software to run the ports as a team in active/passive mode. Also remember to have two NICs to prevent the server from being disconnected from the network.

7.) Making changes without thinking it through
Decisions will need to be made about certain changes that the data center may need, or that may just enhance the data center, hardware or software. But making changes without considering things like dependencies can be dangerous. Always know if one change will affect anything else and then consider whether or not you should make the change after all.

8.) Assuming things will always go the way they should
It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming complacent about things because you’ve done them a hundred times and things have always gone smoothly. However, complacency breeds mistakes so always take as much caution the hundredth (or thousandth) time you do something as you did the first.

9.) Not keeping the vendors happy
The relationship with your vendors is important. Not only must you make sure you’re always very professional and courteous with them, but you should try and go one step further. Schedule them to come in around lunch time and then offer them some pizza you ordered for the office. Or, hold off on non-urgent issues when you know your vendors are swamped. Going the extra distance will reap valuable benefits in the free advice that’s given while you’re chatting up the vendors.

Avoid these most common mistakes and your data center will run much more smoothly, and you’ll run into far fewer issues.