We now live in a world of cloud, hybrid, and edge computing. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others have massive data centers scattered across the globe with thousands of customers migrating data there on a daily basis.
With that said, you may think the days of the mom and pop shop broom closet or basement “server rooms” are dead. Well, not quite. There are still thousands of those in existence. Whether your data lives in a converted mall, a broom closet, or a basement, it is still your data and you want it protected as well as possible.
How do I protect my data?
One of the best ways to help protect your data is to have a professional data center assessment. An assessment will provide you with a clear view of your risk level, capacity, and operating efficiency. It will also assist you in developing an IT roadmap, a business continuity plan, and help define a recovery point objective.
Assessments can be broad in nature and encompass several areas such as power, cooling, infrastructure, and redundancy. They can also be more specific in nature based on your needs or budget, with a deeper dive into critical areas such as data flow and security. A data center assessment will leave you with a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses with a focused path to improving and optimizing any deficiencies. It will also provide an understanding of your current usable capacity and requirements for future growth.
Common data center issues
Some of the more common problems found in broad data center assessments are power and cooling. You may have balanced UPS units running at 55% capacity. If one fails, will the others handle the load? Do you have the capacity to add additional systems? These things, while seemingly obvious, are often overlooked or ignored. Efficient cooling and moisture control are crucial components of your data center. Systems run much more efficiently with cool air supplied to the front and exhaust in the rear. Opening the door when the room gets hot is not a viable cooling solution, nor is placing plastic wrap on the top of the rack to block water from a leaky roof. I have seen both of these on several occasions.
Other common problems found are redundancy and capacity. Do you have secondary power, connectivity, and cooling? A data center assessment will verify that your systems are properly configured and balanced. Do you have the capacity to add more systems? An assessment can help with capacity and growth planning to align the organizational budget with the long-term business plan.
When to get an assessment
If your needs are more specific in nature, such as security or data flow optimization, a focused assessment may be more beneficial. An assessment can provide valuable information such as rogue devices, data bottleneck, or simply put, a poor design. It will check for vulnerabilities in your systems and processes and will provide recommendations for reducing those risks. An in-depth security assessment can also help identify questionable human actions and recommend training programs for handling data and dealing with social media.
A data center assessment provides the business with a launching point for reducing risk, improving efficiency, and creating long-term business plans. It will provide a clear definition of your existing environment and an understanding of the steps necessary to upgrade and maintain alignment with your business goals.
If you are interested in talking to RSM’s consulting professionals about a data center assessment, email us or call 800-274-3978.