Having a spare

Having a Spare

“2 is 1 and 1 is none.” This is a common phrase heard in the preparation groups, however, can it help you? Most definitely it can help you and here is how to apply it.

There are many devices that can be a single point of failure, which basically means if it goes down, you are down for a duration of time until you get a part to fix it. You would want to look around your environment and figure out what can go wrong, and how would you mediate it? One day, I started thinking about what if a switch went down, how quickly would I get a replacement? If I was lucky, the replacement would arrive next day, if not a day or two. That could be a real problem for people who would not be able to work if their desks were on that patch panel. What would happen, if the fiber patch dies, or the gbic goes out? What would be the downtime to get those replaced, again if I was lucky, overnight? So I started accumulating extra’s, or backups so that way if it did happen, we would be all set. I ordered 2 extra switches, and extra cables, plus some stacking modules in case something broke.

I then started looking around to see if there were other things, I should be stocking up. So I purchased some hard drives and other extras for hot swaps, in case we lost storage disks or cables for the backup system.

If you work in a production environment, what does downtime cost you? For some product lines, many thousands of dollars. How can you stock parts to help facilitate a quicker uptime? What computer parts are used on the line? Do you have an image of the current setup? Can you take a snapshot and load it to another machine so you can swap it out? These are things to think about, that having a backup can save you.

If you haven’t identified what you would need in spares try this:

1. Review the entire environment
2. What single point of failures do you have?
3. Identify cables, parts, equipment that would potentially cause delays if it took longer than a few hours to get back up and running
4. Take your list and start adding some spares
5. Place them in an area that makes sense, and label them.

The only other thing I would warn against here is that it is very easy to forget you have spare parts, if they are not in an area you would think about in case of downtime. I had some parts, for our switches, and ordered more because they weren’t in a spot I remembered we had them. So keep track of what you have, have it labeled very obviously, and make sure it’s in a spot you would know to go to. I would say keep all your extras in one area so you know where to look instantly, and then if you don’t have it go ahead and panic, then order!

As you can see, having a spare can be a way to keep yourself from having to panic! If you haven’t done so, what types of equipment do you think you are going to pick up for spares? What other types of things are you going to look for?

I hope this blog post helped you with the understanding of having spares and why it’s critical. If you would like to see other topics discussed, leave them in the comment section below, or click on the “Contact Us” Link above.

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