8 Steps to Reliability During the Pandemic

In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, data center managers are crippled with a never-seen-before workload from remote monitoring to the management of data centers and a lot more. They are having to take care of various critical facilities during the times of COVID-19. Most business operations and maintenance tasks are becoming too overwhelming to handle. 

For instance, when critical equipment is providing good status onboard with limited remote capabilities, the facility manager could generally depend on surging rounds believing that onsite staff could sense anything uncanny like unusual sounds or smells from the facility. But when there isn’t adequate staff, there is an increased risk of crucial issues getting missed.

Problems of working from a remote location

Documentation is another burning example is this. With the passage of time, facility managers are able to realize the link between different equipment. As a result, they don’t even need to refer to construction drawings or equipment manuals when they are faced with any challenges. But it’s a different ball game altogether when a facility manager has to do everything from a remote location where they do not have any access to in-built documents while explaining the issue to any stakeholder.

Here are 8 critical zones where facility managers are working with data centers and other important facilities to make sure optimum reliability during this crisis.

Embracing changes

Implementation of upgrades and other changes could be even more difficult without onsite access. But with reduced disruption of normal onsite personnel and procedures could help in overcoming the impediments. It is obvious that planning, as well as designing, could be performed remotely by vendors, engineers, and other individuals having prior site knowledge. Temporary administration of work at the time of drawn-out construction projects should be implemented in such a way that it lasts for a long span of time. 

Workaround

If facility managers can be proactive regarding reactive workarounds, it could lead to the payment of better dividends in the future. That is why it is important to test backup workarounds such as ports and docking stations for rental generations and chillers. There should be proper planning and rehearsals in terms of airflow intake, adequate ducting of air pipes, and drainage condensation. For the right kind of priority response, agreements with local providers of rental equipment should be kept handy for emergency response. It is advised to have meetings with vendors and be ready with prospective ones so that faster processing can be administered.

Right documentation

Proper organization and maintenance of information, particularly for drawings of construction, submittals, operation procedures, and maintenance logs and others are extremely crucial when facility managers do not have access to outsourced support such as contractors, engineers, and other service providers.

Monitoring from a remote location

As there is a decreased onsite presence of important professionals, remote access to support equipment status has become very important. The advent of new-age equipment has made it possible to push status and notifications along with emergency alarms to the automation system of the buildings in such a manner that it can be accessed via smartphones and computers from a remote location. Many devices offer hordes of information which has to be narrowed down to what is significant at the moment. 

Operational silos

Many important facilities combat with facility management that operates in silos. In such an environment, communication becomes a viable challenge. For instance, facility managers often have difficulty in working with new IT equipment due to the need for space, power, and cooling without much planning. When it is not feasible to conduct in-person conferences, it becomes even more important for the IT department and facility managers to work together and sort out their priorities in terms of work so that everything is conducted smoothly. For materializing this, it is immensely crucial to communicate and share the challenges of different kinds and trying to mitigate them.

Working from remote locations

Empowering the staff members of a business firm to work from home calls for additional IT systems and other prerequisites whether within or without the premise. Workers who are extremely tech-savvy are more prone to be habituated in this work from home structure. When meetings are held online, every important personnel can join the meeting, see each other, and communicate while maintaining physical distancing. As a result of such effectiveness, it is easier to implement a distributed workplace structure where all individuals can work from their own suitable location and also stay connected.

The strategy of data centering

Business facilities with on-site data centering can boost colocation and trends of cloud migration. It is not feasible for businesses to start off in-house data centers while running primary business functions. Most businesses are having to face a wide range of challenges. Therefore, now it is the best time to engage consultants who are able to conduct their duties from remote locations.

Thorough maintenance

As there is a dearth of facility engineers working on-site, facility managers should be able to offer critical support so that spare parts and maintenance are readily available. It is plausible to hire local vendors for the time being as traveling has become difficult at the present. It is worthy to mention the consequences of maintenance for tools like filters, batteries, testing, etc. When the situation was normal, this kind of approach only added to the operational costs. And now with the pandemic making everything very difficult, facility managers could be tempted to change equipment parts and maintenance services but they are well aware of the consequences and risks of doing so.

The durability of cooling equipment can be prolonged with proper maintenance and replacement of the air filter system. But as the maximum number of businesses is operating on data, it is very important to keep it running. This is probably the best time to take inventory of various factors such as capabilities, service providers, documentation, and process of escalation. Facility managers should introspect the small and big changes that are required in the near future. Also, maintaining the right upkeep of different equipment can minimize unplanned downtime to a great extent. 

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