Schneider Electric White Paper Describes Framework for Responding to Data Centre Emergencies

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Data centres deliver business critical services and must be able to withstand emergencies that threaten their continuous operations. This requires careful planning to ensure that operators can react quickly to damaging events.

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White Paper 217 by Schneider Electric describes how good preparation and process can quickly and safely mitigate the impact of data centre emergencies, and help prevent them from recurring.

As modern business becomes increasingly reliant on 24 * 7 IT services, data centres are obliged to ensure that they can provide resilience and keep working under all circumstances. This in turn means they must be prepared for exceptional events or emergencies and have plans in place to maintain continuous operation. Despite best practices being observed during site selection, extreme weather events such as Hurricane Sandy have shown that facilities may at any time be exposed to risks above and beyond hazards those from which they are normally protected.

Accordingly, a new White Paper from Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, describes how good preparation and process can quickly and safely mitigate the impact of emergencies, and help prevent them from recurring. White paper #217, How to Prepare and Respond to Data Center Emergencies, describes a framework for an effective strategy arranged across three categories: Emergency Response Procedures, Emergency Drills and Incident Management.

White Paper 217 discusses each of the categories in detail and offers proactive considerations for data centre management during the planning stage. Emergency Response Procedures include: operational measures to deploy in the event of a crisis that safely isolate faults and restore service; a crisis management plan (CMP) which is a detailed step-by-step procedure to follow when emergency strikes; and Escalation Procedures, which are documented, prioritised contact lists outlining internal contact requirements for specific situations related to data centre operations.

Emergency Drills, which should be developed in advance and scheduled to occur regularly, guide operators through what should be done to counter the top 10 identifiable operational risks.

Incident Management includes: incident notification, a process to inform the appropriate people about any safety of mission-critical event; incident identification and reporting ensures that all incidents are reported as soon as the situation is stabilised and a brief summary of the incident prepared for circulation to appropriate staff; and failure analysis, which is a comprehensive program to determine the root cause of any incident that has resulted in system downtime or personal injury, or had the likelihood of doing so.

Communication and speed of response to emergency situations can greatly reduce the risk to operations caused by incidents. The White Paper’s recommendations focus strongly on the need for preparedness to anticipate problems before they arise, take appropriate speedy action when they do and communicate the lessons learned from each incident so that the worst effects are not repeated.

To effectively respond to different kinds of risks and crises in data centres, organisations must act quickly and know what to expect in unexpected situation. Proper operational methodology will avoid common mistakes and a good Emergency Preparedness plan, encompassing people processes and systems, will help operators run their facilities in a more predictable and effective way.

For companies that may not have adequate facilities or expertise internally to respond to risks, there is the option of service offerings from specialist subject-matter experts, such as Schneider Electric, who have the experience of developing and deploying best practices in data centre crisis management over many years.

White Paper, #217 entitled “How to Prepare and Respond to Data Center Emergencies” is available for free download by visiting the Schneider Electric website or clicking here.


About the authors

Leonid Shislov is responsible for establishing Schneider Electric’s Data Center Critical Facility Operations and Managed Services offer globally.

Mark Rentzke is a Senior Manager for Schneider Electric’s Global Data Center Services, responsible for the global development, implementation and deployment of the advanced Data Center Critical Facility Operations Services program.

Zhang Yong Ping is the manager of Global Data Center Services focussing on the Greater China region.

Patrick Donovan is a Senior Research Analyst for the Data Center Science Center at Schneider Electric.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€27 billion in FY2015, our 160,000+ employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.

Media Contact
Schneider Electric
Lavina Dsouza
Tel.: +44 7887 560218

Media Contact
Spa Communications for Schneider Electric
Rory Flashman-Wells
Tel.: +44 1892 511413

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