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As IT infrastructure professionals, we are fortunate to have encountered businesses in all sectors of industry. When we meet new businesses that express a need for our services, regardless of what their product is, their first and foremost concern is always “uptime”. We hear that down time costs them money and opportunity, productivity and efficiency… yet, when we dig deeper, we find that the infrastructure that these businesses rely on don’t get the TLC that it deserves to meet the expectations of its owners.

Case in point… Logistics companies will ensure their vehicles are regularly maintained and replaced when required. Why? Because they want to avoid the lost revenue if a truck breaks down unexpectedly. Those of us who own our vehicles and expect them to get us to and from work everyday, to carry our families safely from Point A to Point B will ensure the vehicle has regular oil changes, scheduled maintenance appointments, and snow tires when required. So if your business is expecting your IT infrastructure to stay up and running, doesn’t it make sense to give the infrastructure the time and attention it deserves to do its job well?

What can you do to give your infrastructure the TLC it needs?

First and foremost, understand that equipment breaks. It will happen, plan for it by keeping manufacturer’s warranties on every piece of equipment that is critical to your business – that way you will always have access to experts to fix a problem – experts that have been paid via warranties to ensure they have the expertise and the parts to fix your problem

Use professionals or their recommended technicians to perform regular maintenance – follow the manufacturers recommendations for maintenance and upkeep – they are the experts – you’re not going to bring a Toyota to a Volvo dealership, and vice versa! Business IT infrastructure is complicated, with lots of dependencies – Not great as a DIY project

Buy business grade machines and equipment – they are designed to be taxed heavily and designed to last longer than a home machine – know the difference – don’t use a minivan to move furniture…it will work, but not for long and it won’t do the job well

Plan for a refresh of your infrastructure – much like cars, manufacturers will only warranty their product for a certain number of years because they have completed extensive failure testing on the parts – don’t make your infrastructure work beyond its expected lifespan – usually 3 -4 years – like cars, you’ll end up paying way more in your own time and aggravation, and for parts and labour if you keep your infrastructure on extended life support!

Your infrastructure is a critical tool in the day to day operation of your business – make it a priority, not an afterthought.

Keep the infrastructure (especially servers) in a clean, cool, well ventilated area, remember the equipment will generate heat, use a rack if available – liken this to the difference between parking your car in a garage or permanently on the street in wind, rain, sleet and salt

Understand that your infrastructure is a critical tool in the day to day operation of your business – make it a priority, not an afterthought. Priorities get regular attention, afterthoughts only get attention when the situation is critical and costly decisions have to be made in a very short timespan Finally, ask questions! Ask the experts. Reputable consultants invest heavily in education and training with their vendors, they know the products, let them give you advice!