by Patti Dees

Data center maintenance is a priority. For an industry that functions as a critical part of modern society, reliability and security are key elements. Scheduling inspections and preventive maintenance (PM) establishes the resiliency that data centers need for business.

Importance of Preventative Maintenance for Data Centers

PM for any system improves the longevity of equipment and stabilizes operating and maintenance costs. Aside from the benefits inherent to PM methodologies, data center PM is especially worth the investment. Supporting systems, such as cooling, power and security, are integral to the overall function of the facility. Understanding their significance highlights just how important maintenance is for data centers. 


The electronics in data centers produce significant amounts of heat. The design and types of cooling equipment are essential to avoid equipment failure due to overheating. Research indicates that the failure rate for electronics doubles for every 18 °F outside of the equipment’s recommended temperature range. PM on building HVAC and computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units can head off major disruptions and minimize financial risk.


Data centers are considered mission-critical infrastructure and incorporate power systems with consistent access to the local power grid and equipment to handle interruptions to the main power. The uninterrupted power supply (UPS) includes generators, batteries, transformers and related switches. However, the redundancy built into data centers is moot if the equipment is not regularly monitored, tested and maintained.

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Security and Controls

With data centers handling important and sometimes proprietary information, restricting access physically and electronically keeps servers and data safe. Equipment such as cameras, sensors, lock mechanisms and firewalls each contribute to security. Diligence in maintaining and updating equipment and software is the only way to stay ahead of damaging intrusions and data theft.


2 Types of Data Center Preventative Maintenance

Two types of preventive maintenance can be beneficial for data centers: scheduled maintenance and condition-based maintenance. 

1.  Scheduled Maintenance

Scheduled maintenance includes routine checkups and inspections to ensure that there are no issues before a problem occurs. The schedule depends on manufacturer recommendations or industry best practices for different types of equipment like servers and switches. 

2. Condition-Based Maintenance

Condition-based PM relies on data and formulas to estimate changes in the equipment’s condition over time and the probability of component failure. While similar equipment is expected to operate the same throughout the facility, factors or differences in the immediate environment sometimes contribute to altered operation. Scheduled maintenance can cover the operating norm, but condition-based care is useful in identifying equipment with different requirements.

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Maintenance Safety

All maintenance activities should incorporate safety at every level. Cooling and power systems, as well as the servers themselves, may include hazardous materials. Heat and electricity present unique hazards, such as the potential for burns and arc flash. Best practices include training technicians on these types of hazards, standardizing the schedule and procedures, and using non-invasive techniques when tasks do not require hands-on work.

Some of the tasks to include in maintenance plans for data centers are:

  • identifying potential issues with equipment and procedures
  • looking for corrosion, leaks, excessive vibration, and irregular temperatures and noises
  • tracking and documenting maintenance tasks for auditing and troubleshooting
  • cleaning, replacing and lubricating equipment; and
  • thermal scanning for hot spots.

Data Center Preventive Maintenance

With so much riding on properly maintained equipment, data centers benefit from maintenance management systems and knowledgeable service technicians. Don’t wait to have preventative maintenance checkups. Contact Therma today to help!

Patti draws on her background as a chemical engineer to share information with readers on technology, manufacturing, and construction.


Schneider Electric – Preventive Maintenance Strategy for Data Centers

Data Center Knowledge – 7 Tips for Managing Preventive Maintenance at Data Centers

Data Center Knowledge – Maintenance & Optimization of Cooling Systems