Avoiding Data Center Mishaps

These 10 common mistakes could prove costly if made in the data center.

Many IT mistakes that might go unnoticed elsewhere could lead to real trouble in the data center. This list, from technology trade group TechRepublic, reminds us how to avoid data center disaster.

1.  Cable gaffes. Taking the time to carefully plan and execute your cable layout will help keep things neat and orderly. Better still, avoiding a large tangled mess of colorful cords protects against a costly tripping incident that could bring data loss and personal injury.

2. Drink disasters. A strictly enforced no food or drink rule in the data center is just good policy, for reasons that are self-evident.

3. Electricity failures. 
"Electricity in the data center is your only means of life," reads the blog post from TechRepublic. Design your data center electrical system to insulate the organization from a failure. Cover circuit breakers and other electrical switches.

4. Security blunders. Keep tight control over who has access to the data center. Never prop open the door and don't be tempted to make access exceptions -- not even once.

5. Pigpen foibles. You never know when company might be coming. Keep your data center in tip top shape, and ready for an executive visit at any time.

6. Documentation dereliction. 
Make sure you have air-tight documentation that outlines how your network is mapped, which server does what and details on your domain credentials.

7. Desktop fun. Play it safe and don't use data center computers as desktop PCs. Avoid the black eye that would come when a virus plaguing the organization is traced back to a machine in the data center.

8. Forgotten commitments. Even with remote access to the data center, the facility still needs a physical visit on a regular basis. An on-site check allows you to check temperature, cabling, batteries and other physical conditions you can't monitor from afar.

9. Tourist traps. Be wary of risking your investment by showing off your IT crown jewel to outside groups like the media. Accidents can happen, after all. "You can't risk the prying eyes and fingers of the public to gain access to the tenth wonder of the world."

10. Midnight massacre. Do whatever you can to avoid caffeine-fueled double shifts. A little overtime is one thing, but doubling your shift time to troubleshoot a problem can create bigger headaches. Address the issue in shifts instead.

Photo from Shutterstock

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter. Follow @GovTechNoelle