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Server room standards and best practices tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonApril 19, 2015


Question: 
I have inherited a small server room and it does not have any of the "standard" best practices such as an elevated floor, temperature control and uninterruptable power supply.  What are the minimum standards for a machine room for servers:?

Answer: As server have dropped in price from millions of dollars to thousands of dollars, many IT managers have lost tough with the basic best practices standards for server environments.  In general, the minimum best practices and standards for server rooms includes physical location standards, hardware standards and software best practices and standards:

Physical machine room standards:

  • Waterproof location:  The room should be watertight, and the fire control should not use water, because it will ruin the hardware.
  • Elevated floor:  Tangles of system cables are a nightmare and an elevated floor is an absolute necessity for a machine room standard.
  • Fire Control:  Non-water-based fire extinguishers should be implemented, but they must not remove all oxygen from the room for health reasons.
  • Temperature control:  Expensive servers can overheat and you need a A/C system to keep the machine room at a constant temperature between 60-70 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Pest Control:  Ideally, a server room should be built on a concrete slab with brick walls and a sealed roof.  Even the smallest insects can ruin an expensive server.
  • Uninterruptable power supply:  Power losses cause a "hard crash" of the servers which can damage an application.  A UPS should include a surge protector and enough power to exceed the MTTR (historical Mean Time to Recovery).

Hardware component standards and best practices:

  • Planned Redundancy:  Any server should have duplicate CPU and mirrored disks, such that a failure will not cause an unplanned outage.
  • Hardware alerts:  The server should be configured to send a page/e-mail alert whenever a server components has failed (Disk, CPU, RAM, Network).  This is often achieved by a daemon process that inspects the syslog for failure messages.
  • Backup & Recovery:  It is a best practice for servers to be backed-up on a regular basis for immediate recovery in case of irrecoverable hardware failkure. 
  • Disaster Recovery:  Off-site repositories for backups should be implemented, with "safe site" options for resurrecting a failed database in case of natural disasters.

Software standards and best practices:

           See my related notes on Oracle software best practice standards

 
 
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