| May 16, 2018

How to Prepare and Respond to Data Center Emergencies

Data center operations and maintenance teams should always be prepared to act swiftly and surely without warning. Unforeseen problems, failures, and dangers can lead to injury or downtime. Good preparation and process, however, can quickly and safely mitigate the impact of emergencies, and help prevent them from happening again.

Business interruptions due to the unplanned downtime of IT systems will always remain a risk. Good preparation is the best defense, and will help ensure responses are timely, effective, and error free. Preparedness begins with developing emergency operating procedures (EOPs) for all identified high-risk failure scenarios, such as the loss of a chiller plant, failure of the generator to start, and so on. Escalation procedures also need to be developed and rehearsed to ensure the chain of command is informed and the appropriate resources are brought to bear as the situation develops. Scenario drills should be regularly conducted to rehearse and evaluate both team and individual emergency response effectiveness. Once an incident has been dealt with and its effects mitigated, an analysis should be conducted to understand what the root causes were and how effective the emergency response was in dealing with the problem. Formal failure analysis for significant facility events is a fundamental part of the overall continuous improvement process that is needed to reduce failures and improve response effectiveness in future events.

The following paper, from our partner APC, describes a framework for an effective emergency preparedness and response strategy for mission critical facilities. This strategy is composed of 7 elements arranged across 3 categories: Emergency Response Procedures, Emergency Drills, and Incident Management. The paper describes each element and offers practical advice to assist in implementing this strategy. How to Prepare and Respond to Data Center Emergencies

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