As you are well aware, data center operations are basically a set of systems and workflows which maintain adequate uptime and connectivity. The nature of IT ops relies on steady monitoring and maintenance of these systems and workflows—no matter the events taking place outside the DC doors. With calls to practice social distancing, how must handling servers and carrying out other basic data center work change to ensure operator safety?
COVID-19 and Data Center Operations
At last check, the COVID-19 pandemic is creating disruption for industries and stock markets across the globe. Entire populations are practicing social distancing and sheltering in place, with schools, businesses, and bars/restaurants/entertainment facilities shut down. Current recommendations for U.S. businesses from the CDC are being updated here.
Whenever possible, businesses are moving to digital platforms and encouraging eligible staff to work remotely. As a result, our global IT infrastructure will be taxed more than ever. Keeping it up, running, and robust is critical. Despite coronavirus spread, these data center functions cannot be interrupted suddenly under any circumstances:
- Security monitoring
- Network function
- Cooling and power distribution checks
- Airflow management
- Server refreshes or maintenance
Server life-cycle management ensures that critical systems are always online and available. The switching out and updating of legacy hardware keeps costs low. The physical work of handling servers (transporting, positioning, installing, and removing them) and other rack-mounted IT equipment is paramount. Without the right tools, the only way to do this work is by hand and with multiple people working in close proximity to one another. That’s exactly what we’ve been asked to avoid.
Safety and Social Distancing with Single-Operator Tasks
Here at ServerLIFT, our focus has always been on data center safety. The novel coronavirus creates new implications for that phrase, particularly if your current server management strategy involves heavy lifting which requires multiple operators.
The bottom line is that with a properly designed data center lift, only one operator should be needed for handling servers, allowing technicians to work independently and keep a healthy distance from one another.
We recently received a call at the ServerLIFT offices from an Italian data center operator asking for help. Due to current quarantine conditions, they were searching for a nearby ServerLIFT data center lift so that a single operator could carry out a server transfer. No one else was available to report for work. Another customer echoes that concern: “We do a lot of physical work in the lab, but the difficult part is getting the servers into the racks.”
Thanks to coronavirus quarantines and work restrictions, calling in another person to do the heaviest lifting may not be an option in hundreds of data centers. And, when life gets back to normal, in the best of circumstances, having multiple staff members handling expensive servers that weigh 70 to 500 pounds by hand, is still unsafe and unnecessary.
Another ServerLIFT customer notes: “Some of the new equipment that is being released and being manufactured is unbelievably powerful in its capabilities—and I’m thinking of GPU servers right now—and these GPU servers are huge and heavy.” Without a ServerLIFT-assisted lifting device on hand, a company takes tremendous risk in allowing multiple operators to attempt the manual movement of delicate and expensive equipment.
ServerLIFT Helps to Optimize Workplace Health and Safety Measures
ServerLIFT manufactures data center lifts designed for safe, single-operator use. Our machines meet all relevant international standards and certifications, and remain the gold standard for heavy duty data center tasks. We continue to ship worldwide and maintain business operations while placing the utmost importance on the safety of our own staff.
If you have any questions regarding service appointments and current worldwide distribution and supply, click here to reach our Client Services team.