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Top reasons for hardware failure and the best practices to prevent them

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Failing to address common hardware issues like an overheated device or overloaded servers, even for a short amount of time, can lead to huge revenue loss and customer attrition for businesses. According to research, over 45% of network outages faced by organizations are solely due to hardware failures, so it's crucial to monitor hardware 24/7. While hardware failure may happen due to a plethora of factors, some of the most common issues that lead to hardware failure across network infrastructure are listed below

Most common factors of hardware failure 

  • Spikes in temperature: An abnormal spike in temperature is the primary reason for most hardware faults. Network devices process large quantities of data and in order for them to function consistently, an optimal temperature needs to be maintained. Any abnormal heating up or cooling down in devices can lead to hardware systems freezing or shutting down, resulting in hardware failure.
  • Poor ventilation: The inevitable rise in a device's temperature can slow down the device, affect its performance, or break it down. Poor ventilation due to the arrangement of the devices or an ineffective fan setup that fails to beat the extra heat produced by the device can have an adverse effect on the productivity of the network.
  • Overutilization of capacity: Using up the surplus capacity of a device slows it down tremendously, resulting in performance lag. Control the overutilization of a device's capacity by dividing its workload among other devices. Even a minor fault in a single endpoint has the capacity to affect the entire network.
  • Fluctuation in power supply: Corroded connections or other external factors can cause potential fluctuations in power supplies. A sudden surge in power supply can lead to unplanned outages, affecting the performance of a device or causing it to short circuit. 
  • Overuse of battery: Battery tends to lose its efficiency when 80% of its energy is depleted. A complete drain in the battery will result in cache data loss or sudden shutdown of the device or server. Also, low capacity batteries have a bad shelf life and aren't very power efficient, which affects the capability of the device.
Properly strategized hardware monitoring practices can help avoid these issues and ensure an organization's network infrastructure isn't susceptible to the pitfalls of device hardware failures. Here are some ways to leverage hardware monitoring to establish efficient network operations.

Best practices for hardware monitoring
  • Ensuring multi-vendor support: Modern networks have become increasingly heterogeneous. Apart from default vendor-supported systems, organizations are also leveraging custom configured devices to provide business solutions. For this reason, a hardware monitoring strategy must support multi-vendor monitoring and be capable of supporting any device regardless of vendor or configuration barriers. Technicians also need to have unified, real-time visibility into multi-vendor hardware devices.
  • Prioritizing and channelizing critical alerts: Network hardware issues can stem from numerous factors with varying degrees of criticality. Hardware faults should be prioritized based on the criticality of the device and the criticality of the underlying issue. Handling hardware faults can also involve multiple parties spread across different teams or even different geographic regions; it's important to funnel alerts through the right channels to the right teams to create a well-regulated, properly defined fault resolution path that helps resolve hardware faults faster.
  • Proactive monitoring and troubleshooting: Rather than searching for solutions after hardware fails, taking proactive measures to prevent failure in the first place can save an ample amount of resources. Hardware devices should be monitored and managed preemptively to alert technicians in advance, prompting them to address an issue before it gets worse and causes severe damage to the organization. This can be done by leveraging historic performance data in the form of reports to forecast any unprecedented hardware failure. This method of proactive hardware monitoring and troubleshooting helps put an end to the exacerbation of issues ahead of time.
  • Gaining deeper visibility: Issues in hardware may occur due to several factors and require in-depth understanding of their root cause to resolve them efficiently without affecting the overall performance of the network. By gaining deeper visibility into the performance of hardware devices down to their tiniest details, technicians can more easily diagnose the underlying issue in a device and fix it in a snap. This improves hardware efficiency and prevents hardware issues from affecting the network.
  • Automating basic tasks: Basic maintenance tasks and L1 and L2 troubleshooting operations are repetitive and consume a lot of time and resources. Automating these tasks gives technicians more time to focus on high severity hardware alerts, which require immediate remedial measures. At the same time, technicians need to keep an eye out for any interruptions or failures in the automated tasks. Put simply, have a healthy balance between manual work and automation. 
  • Clarity on hardware dependencies and processes: When one hardware device fails, other devices that depend on it will also experience degradation in performance or even total device failure. Keeping track of connectivity among all of the hardware devices in a network is vital in preventing failure from causing a network outage. Hardware failure can also sometimes occur due to issues in internal processes or applications, so it's important to have an effective process, bandwidth, and application management system in place to ensure performance bottlenecks don't result in hardware failure.

Proactive hardware monitoring with ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager, a comprehensive hardware monitoring and management solution, helps over one million IT admins across the globe protect their network from the pitfalls of hardware failure. With support for over 8,000 device types, OpManager enables IT admins to establish a proactive hardware monitoring system for their organization's network, allowing them to identify potential hardware issues, determine the extent of potential hardware failure impact, and fix hardware problems well in advance. To learn how you can gain in-depth visibility into critical hardware metrics and stop hardware issues from throttling your success, download OpManager's free, 30-day trial.

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