If you’ve got business computer repair and network problems, take a look at your server room. Isn’t what’s inside more important than how things look on the outside? Yes, when it comes to judging books and people. But when you’re a small business trying to decide if your computer technician is doing a good job, the outside of your server can be an excellent indicator of what’s going on inside.

The Dream Server Room

What do I.T. support companies and computer repair geeks dream about?

  • Gleaming banks of servers,
  • Aligned on sturdy racks,
  • Occupying a special room with controlled temperature and humidity,
  • All of the components are clearly labeled,
  • Each wire is connected with no extra loops, twists or turns,
  • And access is a simple matter of finding what you need, up front and without blockage.

That’s what we briefly imagine when we take on a new managed services client. We fantasize that their old computer repair or I.T. support guy cared as much as we do and managed the physical environment of the server as carefully as the inner workings. But if that was the case they wouldn’t be talking to us. Harsh reality intrudes on our first site visit and this is usually what we find.
Apparently cleaning up the server room ranks right up there with cleaning out the office refrigerator. But your staff shouldn’t have to maintain the server. Maybe a little light dusting or vacuuming – but ask us first! There are special ways to take care of a server room. Your I.T. department or your computer repair guy should make the server and server environment as tidy, well-organized and maintained as the inside because it shows attention to detail and a thorough understand of how an entire system works.

Why Does a Neat Server Matter?

Most server room nightmares have to do with cabling, crowding, and piling things up. New equipment may be stacked on top of old pieces of equipment which may or may not be used for anything more than a sedimentary layer. Cables often look like something out of a spaghetti factory explosion, but as long as it all works, who cares? You should.

  • It costs you in equipment wear and tear. Heat kills electronics. When you take excess cables and extra equipment and cram it all together in a closet with no airflow, you shorten the life of all that equipment, including your very expensive server.
  • It costs you time and money. Things get buried. There’s a loose cable. Or a part needs to be replaced. It’s going to take a computer repair technician an hour to fix the problem. And an hour to dig through the server mess. You’re paying for disorganization every time they come back.
  • It could cost you in safety and fines. We’ve seen a lot of servers stuck in a supply closet. What if that whole stack came down on someone who just needed a new stack of sticky notes? Your employee could be hurt. OSHA would have a fit of apoplexy – and happiness. Their fines are expensive. So are HIPAA’s. Their requirements include physical security of equipment which includes damage from environmental hazards.

What To Do If Your Server Looks Like This

Look in your server closet. If it looks like a rat’s nest, a plate of spaghetti or an Intel 486 graveyard, you probably have serious problems on the inside too. Ask your computer repair technician or I.T. support guy some hard questions to find a way bring order to the chaos … on the inside and outside. If you’re not happy with what they tell you, give me a call and I’ll bring my VP of Technology to take a look.

I promise, we won’t judge. We’ve seen worse and we’ve cleaned that up, too.

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of
Server room at CERN