The sun is shining and the summer holidays are becoming more and more real by the day. So how can system and RAID administrators ensure that their holidays won’t turn into a nightmare? Following the checklist below prepared by Alex Young, director of technical and marketing at Infortrend is a good starting point:

1. Print detailed configuration reports: A hard copy, up-to-date, detailed configuration report for each RAID subsystem is essential. Keep these reports in a location accessible by whomever will be responsible for the systems during your holiday.

2. Save configurations to disk and files: Use the RAID subsystem’s built-in function to save the configurations in the disks in the array as this will save time if and when needed. Save it as a RAID management software file. In an emergency simply reload this configuration file to recover all the settings.

3. Test the event notifications: If while you are away your organisation does not have RAID or system staff onsite, sending the event notification to the offsite administrators is key. Many will choose to send these notifications by e-mail or SMS or even by an instant messenger program. If you haven’t received an event notification for a while, generate a test event through the RAID management software to ensure that the notification settings are still valid.

4. Secure the equipments physically: If the RAID subsystems and servers are located in a lockable room, or lockable rack cabinet, secure them and keep the keys (or passwords) in a location to which only authorised or backup staff have access.

5. Prepare an emergency action plan chart for any backup staff: Write down the contact names and telephone numbers of relevant staff, the location of any spare parts and prepare an easy-to-follow list of instructions for the backup staff so they can deal any situations that might arise while you are away.

6. Prepare the spare parts: If you are going to be away at the height of summer when obtaining a spare part might take longer than usual (especially in those countries where most people go on holiday in August for example), order spare parts in advance and place them in a location accessible by the backup staff. Information on this location and how to install the spares should be included in your emergency action plan.

7. Assign spare drives: Double check that you have spare drives assigned in the RAID configuration. Should there be a disk drive failure while you are absent the RAID system will use a spare drive to rebuild the data and keep the system operational without the need for you to intervene.

8. Check and resolve any outstanding faults: Any outstanding faults such as a faulty PSU or FAN should be addressed before you leave for your break. If the installation environment is dusty, clear out the dust on the visible exterior by using vacuum cleaner carefully. Do not try to use wet/damp clothes to clean PCB boards. Always note the anti-static measurement, to ensure there is no static damage to the electronics when cleaning.

9. Double check and plan scheduled tasks: Check that the scheduled data backups or media scans of the disk drives are configured and can be performed automatically without user intervention while you are away.

10. Carry out a full data backup: Perform a complete data backup before going on holiday and keep the backup at a secure location. For vital information, at least one copy should be stored in a separate physical location from the installation site.

You can now enjoy your summer holiday safe in the knowledge that your RAID systems will protect your data!

Alex Young is technical and marketing director at Infortrend,