Testing Computer Suite

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Testing Computer Suite

Postby ansellrk » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:14 am

Good morning Ladies & Gentlemen,

I'm working in a large council that has four main computer suites. The computer suites all have dozens of 42U racks filled to the brim with servers, tape drives, SAN systems, phone systems, etc. Probably about 90% of the stuff is classed as 'critical' and can't be shutdown without arranging serious downtime... especially the phone system which is required 24x7.

So, do I need to PAT test every item within these rooms?! All the servers use IEC connectors into the rack... there are no 'plugs' on the cables just Male to female IEC cables. The racks, in essence only have earth connectivity from the power distribution points (glorified extension leads) but a lot of these plug directly into UPS feeds via 16 AMP commando plugs.

I'm talking about testing over 600 items in a room which is 'mission critical'!

My understanding is the manufacturers testing will cover a server for four years before I need to touch it (IT equipment, office, Class 1 - Table 7.1 IEE code of practice) but these servers are hardly comparable to a desktop PC as they never move. It is also likely that most servers are swapped out in 5-6 years so do I need to bother at all other than a formal visual inspection?

So, in short! :D what are others doing for these critical computer suites?

Thanks

Rob
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Re: Testing Computer Suite

Postby Grizzly » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:19 am

led wrote:Should you put an asset label on? Yes, but not one that states the appliance is electrically safe;


The labels we stick on appliances shouldn't really say that anyway.
'Tested for electrical safety: Pass' isn't the same as stating 'This appliance is electrically safe'.
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Re: Testing Computer Suite

Postby Alan Freeman » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:47 am

ansellrk wrote:... there are no 'plugs' on the cables just Male to female IEC cables.


Just because it has no 13A plug, the leads still need testing. Surely as part of your test kit you have a 13A to IEC lead?? Plug this into the end of the IEC male - IEC female. Now plug the IEC female into your tester and test away.

I personally have converter leads for IEC, 16A commando, 32A commando, 110V 16A commando, powercon & clover leaf. Both 13A to female and male to IEC for most of them.

led wrote:Should you put an asset label on? Yes, but not one that states the appliance is electrically safe


I buy me labels off eBay, and my supplier has "Visual Only" labels. That said, with some testers (Europa Plus) you could also perform an "is-situ" test, which checks the earth continuity between tester and socket, then between tester and equipment. Not sure how vaild this test would be as the racks should be earthed and the equipment bolted in!
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Re: Testing Computer Suite

Postby Alan Freeman » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:43 pm

Just so you can all see the labels I am talking about, check out http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1000-Visual-I ... 51919eb245

For general use with full testing I use his 2000 plug top lables (check out his shop.)

These are personalised if you want to look even more professional. You dictate which details you want added. I don't have the serial number or dates on mine as I don't know how many I am likely to use each year - and for re-test you want to keep the same serial numbers. The quality of the lable is great - I have had comments back that these lables don't seem to wear out like some of the cheap paper ones, and they take perm marker very well.
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Re: Testing Computer Suite

Postby jacksonwilliam456 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:52 am

The Electrical Safety tests not only allow to check, when a product is manufactured (production line or laboratory), whether the protection against electrical shocks is convenient, but, also the components quality, and user safety.

Electrical Safety Testing Sydney
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Re: Testing Computer Suite

Postby ansellrk » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:11 pm

Just because it has no 13A plug, the leads still need testing. Surely as part of your test kit you have a 13A to IEC lead?? Plug this into the end of the IEC male - IEC female. Now plug the IEC female into your tester and test away.

I personally have converter leads for IEC, 16A commando, 32A commando, 110V 16A commando, powercon & clover leaf. Both 13A to female and male to IEC for most of them


I didn't state I couldn't test them but they are cable tied into the rack and onto the back of the servers which means they never move. What is likely to go wrong with a three core wire that never moves other than over heating? Even to visually check would require me to unclip the wire from top to bottom, down the server and then reclip the wire back again... and all that for what? If the wire goes faulty... the server will stop working, all the CABS are earthed and RCD protected. The wires aren't flapping around under desks and they get replaced every 5-6 years.

I was really wondering what other PAT testers are doing for computer suites because I know we wouldn't let anyone outside the council into our computer suite to mess with a PAT tester! Does anyone out there ACTUALLY PAT test computer suites or are you just offering advice about general PAT testing?!

I'm not sure where the 'assest' label bit came from but every device has an assest tag and is on an inventory database, so no issues there.
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Re: Testing Computer Suite

Postby Grizzly » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:56 am

Hmmm. Looks like some posts have been removed from this thread, for whatever reason, such as the post from 'led' I replied to earlier upthread.

As for the server room, I would say leave well alone.
As you say, all of the kit is mounted in racks, all the supply cords are static and cable tied securely, and nothing ever moves.
The risk is very, very low.
Just do a visual check on the whole installation, and report anything amiss you find.

If the council want the whole installation fully inspected and tested, I'd say it would be up to them to get a specialist IT contractor to safely and fully shut down and decommission the whole room, allow the I&T to happen, then reinstall and recommission the systems again.
And I don't think that'll happen anytime soon :)
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Re: Testing Computer Suite

Postby grantsonuk » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:30 pm

Well Said Grizly

Shutting down and fully stripping out a comms Rack would result in hours of downtime, I doubt any organisation would go for that. I always found it hard enough to get half an hour during the day for a reboot of a partially crashed server
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