Preventive Maintenance Strategy for Data Centers

Posted by on April 1, 2012

White Paper 124

This white paper highlights data center power and cooling systems preventive maintenance (PM) best practices. Hands-on PM methods (i.e., component replacement, recalibration) and non-invasive PM techniques (i.e., thermal scanning, software monitoring) are reviewed. The industry trend towards more holistic and less component-based PM is also discussed.

The term preventive maintenance (also known as preventative maintenance) implies the systematic inspection and detection of potential failures before they occur. PM is a broad term and involves varying approaches to problem avoidance and prevention depending upon the criticality of the data center. Condition-based maintenance, for example, is a type of PM that estimates and projects equipment condition over time, utilizing probability formulas to assess downtime risks.

PM should not be confused with unplanned maintenance, which is a response to an unanticipated problem or emergency. Most of the time, PM includes the replacement of parts, the thermal scanning of breaker panels, component / system adjustments, cleaning of air or water filters, lubrication, or the updating of physical infrastructure firmware.

At the basic level, PM can be deployed as a strategy to improve the availability performance of a particular data center component. At a more advanced level, PM can be leveraged as the primary approach to ensuring the availability of the entire data center power train (generators, transfer switches, transformers, breakers and switches, PDUs, UPSs) and cooling train ACs, CRAHs, humidifiers, condensers, chillers).

A data center power and cooling systems preventive maintenance (PM) strategy ensures that procedures for calendar-based scheduled maintenance inspections are established and, if appropriate, that condition-based maintenance practices are considered. The PM strategy should provide protection against downtime risk and should avoid the problem of postponed or forgotten inspection and maintenance. The maintenance plan must also assure that fully trained and qualified maintenance experts observe the physical infrastructure equipment (i.e., look for changes in equipment appearance and performance and also listen for changes in the sounds produced by the equipment) and perform the necessary work.

“Preventative Maintenance Strategy for Data Centers” Full White Paper 124 (Click Here)

Executive Summary:

In the broadening data center cost-saving and energy efficiency discussion, data center physical infrastructure preventive maintenance (PM) is sometimes neglected as an important tool for controlling TCO and downtime. PM is performed specifically to prevent faults from occurring. IT and facilities managers can improve systems uptime through a better understanding of PM best practices. This white paper describes the types of PM services that can help safeguard the uptime of data centers and IT equipment rooms. Various PM methodologies and approaches are discussed. Recommended practices are suggested.


  • Introduction
  • PM Outcomes
  • Evolution of PM
  • Evidence of PM progress
  • Why Physical Infrastructure Components Fail
  • Recommended Practices
  • PM Options


PM is a key lifeline for a fully functioning data center. Maintenance contracts should include a clause for PM coverage so that the data center owner can rest assured that comprehensive support is available when required. The current PM process must expand to incorporate a “holistic” approach. The value add that PM services provide to common components today (such as a UPS) should be expanded to the entire data center power train (generators, transfer switches, transformers, breakers and switches, PDUs, UPSs) and cooling train (CRACs, CRAHs, humidifiers, condensers, chillers).

As of today, the PM provider in the strongest position to provide such a level of support is the global manufacturer of data center physical infrastructure. An integrated approach to PM allows the data center owner to hold one partner accountable for scheduling, execution, documentation, risk management, and follow up. This simplifies the process, cuts costs, and enhances overall systems availability levels.

White Paper 124 Written By:

Thierry Bayle

Find out how Universal Networking Services can help your organization incorporate a preventative maintenance program that will keep your APC by Schneider Electric systems running at maximum efficiency.  Our service policy is to prevent problems before they occur. Advance power and cooling systems contain components and parts that will wear out over time. Proper care and regular maintenance will help you avoid unnecessary downtime, saving you time and money. To be sure your system is receiving the care it needs, you need specially trained staff, who are familiar with the inner workings of the APC by Schneider Electric products. Preventive Maintenance services give your system the level of service it needs and you the peace of mind you deserve.

Please feel free to contact us to learn more.

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