Regardless of the degree of virtualization a computing environment employs, eventually it all gets down to the hardware. Companies need to have the right hardware components configured efficiently to provide the computing resources they need to run their businesses. Hardware is more difficult and expensive to replace than software, making it critical that the equipment is kept in optimal condition.
Keeping this hardware maintained is your responsibility if your company has an on-premises data center or a hybrid environment that includes onsite equipment. Unless the IT personnel in your organization have extensive experience maintaining and repairing the diverse types of equipment in the environment, you will need professional help when problems occur.
Obtaining timely hardware service can be an expensive proposition. Organizations should look into the advantages of having a hardware maintenance plan in place before problems occur. Before scoffing at that idea, consider some of the things that can happen to your computing hardware.
Issues That May Affect Your IT Environment’s Hardware
There is a tendency to leave things alone when they are working. Even when there may be indications that performance is starting to be negatively impacted, many companies limp along until an outage forces their hand. The following are some of the issues that may already be affecting your hardware and eventually result in a serious outage.
Many hardware components generate heat during normal operations. This should not pose a problem as long as the equipment is placed properly so the heat does not accumulate and become excessive. This can result in degraded component performance or failure.
Hardware should be kept out of direct sunlight and components should not be placed too close together to avoid overheating. Investing in climate control to moderate temperatures can be an extra business expense that turns out to be far less than the cost of an outage.
Dust is a common cause of hardware failures. Accumulated dust can clog cooling fans and limit ventilation, contributing to the problem of overheating. All employees should be encouraged to perform regularly scheduled cleaning of their computers and peripherals. Professionals should also be engaged to clean the interiors of components where applicable.
Companies tend to refrain from making changes to their IT environments when things appear to be operating smoothly. Unfortunately, old and outdated components pose a risk to the infrastructure’s ability to meet business objectives. The risk takes several forms that include:
- Unexpected system crashes or outages;
- Degraded performance that impacts productivity;
- The inability to comply with regulatory requirements.
An effective policy of hardware management should include periodic evaluations of the existing infrastructure to determine if any components are nearing the end of their useful lifetimes. Companies should be looking to upgrade and replace hardware before it fails and impacts the business.
Human error in many different forms can negatively affect a company’s IT hardware. Examples of human error impacting hardware components include:
- Accidentally spilling liquid and damaging a device;
- Inadvertently allowing hardware to be infected with malware;
- Inattention to increases in temperature that may indicate overheating components.
These issues can be addressed to a point with employee training. Unfortunately, as long as people are involved, there is always the potential for human error.
Lack of preventative maintenance
Preventative maintenance is often the key to avoiding hardware that fails or exhibits degraded performance. Some of the steps required in an effective preventative maintenance program include:
- Running diagnostics on hardware components as a health check;
- Scanning for malware or viruses;
- Verifying appropriate temperatures are set to prevent overheating;
- Cleaning hardware inside and out to ensure performance is not affected;
- Ensuring the latest firmware is installed to obtain optimal performance and security.
Ineffective capacity management
Managing hardware capacity can be important in extending a component’s lifetime and ensuring its performance meets expectations. Using a limited number of hard drives or other mechanical components excessively can contribute to overheating and slowly degrade performance.
The Benefits of Having a Hardware Maintenance Plan
Multiple benefits are available to companies that have invested in a hardware maintenance plan. Obtaining hardware maintenance from experienced professionals provides companies with the following advantages.
- Having the necessary preventative maintenance performed is one of the most important benefits of a hardware maintenance plan. Trained technicians can perform the cleaning and tuning required to extend the life of a computing environment’s hardware components. Companies can enjoy peak performance without worrying about failed hardware. They can concentrate on maintaining business operations and keeping their customers satisfied.
- A hardware maintenance plan ensures timely repairs or replacement if a component fails. A single call to the plan provider is all that’s necessary, eliminating the headache of directly initiating contact with the hardware manufacturer. A maintenance plan provider will have the required parts on hand or have a relationship with hardware manufacturers and distributors that expedites the process of obtaining them.
- Access to experienced personnel is important in all aspects of maintaining an IT environment. Technicians from a maintenance plan provider can draw on their experience to suggest the most efficient ways to relocate hardware components to avoid generating excessive heat. They can also guide an organization on other critical hardware placement factors that can cause inordinate vibrations and damage disk drives and other components.
VAST Has Your Hardware Covered
VAST IT Services understands the importance your on-premises hardware has to your business. The failure of even one mission-critical component at the wrong time can spell the difference between a successful quarter and a dismal failure. VAST offers multi-vendor hardware support that handles problems from the initial report through its resolution so you can concentrate on running your business.
VAST leverages its manufacturer relationships to ensure fast and effective hardware support. Their team will perform the preventative maintenance necessary to maintain optimal system performance. VAST’s dedicated experts will keep your hardware running and recommend when obsolete equipment should be replaced. Get in touch with VAST and find out how affordable a professional hardware maintenance plan can be when compared to the costs of an unexpected outage.