Six things a data center operations manager shouldn't do

A data center operations manager has a tough job, as the experienced will readily admit—a not-to-do list for the person that every data center depends on.

The data center operations manager is responsible for a lot of things. These include setting-up, maintenance and management of the data center (which consists of servers, networks, switches, as well as assorted services like cooling and power). Each and every decision of the manager is critical for the data center's smooth operation. Keeping this in mind, there are at least six things which a data center operations manager should not do.

1. Do not design data centers in confined spaces: Setting up a data center in a congested place is a big no-no. A data center needs place to grow and keep pace with the ever-growing business. While the data center's design itself, the data center operations manager should design for scalability and expansion.

2. Do not overspend: A data center operations manager needs to understand business trends and anticipate the requirements for new technologies. However, he also needs to ensure frugality, and not spend on equipment that might never be used.
3. Do not be lax about compliance and security policies: A data center operations manager needs to understand compliance and security policies followed by the industry, and observe strict adherence. Many in-house data center operations managers tend to take these policies lightly. This can have severe implications for the company's business.

4. Do not buy equipment from different vendors: It's easier to troubleshoot, when all the equipment comes from the same vendor. Many a time, buying different components from different vendors can give rise to integration issues. For example, a data center operations manager who buys switches, hubs and routers from different vendors may find it difficult to solve problems.

5. Do not rely on central air-conditioning: Because temperature control is a vital function at a data center, a data center operations manager should make sure that the room has its own dedicated air-conditioning. Relying on a central AC which has a single thermostat can cause issues.
6. Do not be negligent about physical security: The physical security of a data center is very important, yet more often than not, it is ignored by most data center operations managers. Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors need to be installed strategically in and around the data center. The data center should also have restricted entry.

About the author: Shailesh Joshi is the CIO of Godrej Properties Ltd.

(As told to Anuradha Ramamirtham)

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