When Should You Upgrade Your Data Center Equipment?

Posted by James Stark on May 9, 2018

EEC has been maintaining data center critical infrastructure for over 30 years. Over that period of time we have collected data on equipment longevity and the factors which can contribute to equipment failure.  Since most data center grade equipment is designed to last a decade or more, there is a tendency to take its reliable operation for granted.

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UPS and cooling equipment does however become less reliable over time.  This equipment is built to run 7x24, and we’ve seen systems in operation for 15 to 20 years; however, parts have limited life expectancies and 7x24 operations take a toll on this equipment.  As equipment ages, the cost to maintain and repair it increases.  Parts for older equipment can become difficult to source, which extends the mean time to repair.  More frequent repairs become costly and have an impact data center uptime.

Advances in technology have had a dramatic effect on equipment efficiencies over the last few years.  UPS systems are running much more efficiently than their predecessors, incorporating newer IGBTs and eco-mode options.  The introduction of variable frequency fan motor drives, EC fan motors, digital scroll compressors and systems networking have resulted in increased efficiencies in cooling equipment as well.

So how do you know when your equipment should be replaced?  This can vary depending on the type of system, the frequency of maintenance and the operating conditions.  However, circuit boards within both UPS and CRAC units can become difficult to source for equipment beyond 10 years.  If the UPS or CRAC unit in your facility has been discontinued by the manufacturer, this can present additional challenges and vulnerabilities.  Parts availability, especially for circuit boards, can become scarce and will result in extended repair or replacement time frames.

Significant improvements in efficiency and reliability can be realized through upgrade or replacement of older equipment.  The project cost is likely to be less expensive when compared to the operational cost of continuing to repair and replace parts, and operating the older equipment with poor energy efficiency.  EEC can provide equipment evaluation, efficiency analysis, and cost estimates to upgrade your aging data center infrastructure equipment.  

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