iStock_000037217352_SmallData center maintenance is commonly thought of as an internal process. While a large number of a data center’s success happens indoors, there are certain external events that can deter a data center’s operation. Here are two environmental threats to data centers:

  1. Temperature changes
    • During the summer months or other unusually hot times of the year, data centers can come to a halt. Data centers already generate heat without help from the outside environment, so in hotter months, the combination of heat can be fatal towards center operations. Temperature related using an environmental monitoring system that issues alarms or warnings when a sudden temperature change poses a threat. Another issue of monitoring temperature changes is monitoring airflow. Although diligent air conditioning keeps the center cool, it does not always guarantee proper airflow. Using fans for airflow decreases any static electricity or dust buildup between devices.
  2. Moisture
    • Humidity and water accumulation are often overlooked when thinking of external threats, but can be the most deadly. Even when a center seems secure from any external water, water can accumulate through condensation or humidity in warmer climates. Water accumulation leads to overall corrosion and degradation of devices and their corresponding cables. Conversely, a data center with too little humidity has higher levels of electrostatic discharge. For this reason, it’s encouraged to heavily monitor centers’ humidity and to maintain the area’s humidity between 20 and 80 percent. Properly monitoring water build up near air conditioning units, pipes and underneath floorboards can save time, money and potential device loss. To monitor any potential water build up, sensors should be placed low to the ground in vulnerable areas.

Monitoring all aspects of a data center may be time consuming, but with diligence and patience external threats can be eliminated. The main key to protection from external threats is to focus on the big picture. When data center managers become too focused on internal threats, external threats can sneak up and wreak havoc on a successful system.