Increased Visibility and Risk Planning Are Life Savers for Data Center Management

23 May, 2019
Kim Povlsen
Schneider Electric

One thing you can count on when you are in charge of data center management: the demand for data will keep growing. Thanks to cloud computing and mobile applications, data centers expanded substantially in recent years. Now, as the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge deployments get under way, you can expect even more growth.

“Excellent,” you might say. “Growth is good.” And it sure is, but there is also a potential downside. Unplanned, unsupervised growth creates complexity. If you cannot reduce the complexity of data centers, it’s bound to give you a headache no amount of aspirin will cure.

data center management

So, what do you do? You need a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution that gives you a global view of the data center environment down to each single asset, simplifies management in the cloud and at the edge, and increases overall operational efficiency. Ideally, this tool helps you plan capacity, track inventory, and assess risk — so you can run your data center without the fear you’ll run out of power, or end up with damaged equipment as a result of poor air flow and cooling.

Data centers by nature are complex spaces, brimming with racks of equipment and data and power cables, so it’s imperative managers get their arms around management and operations to avoid downtime.

If you’re managing a colocation facility, with multiple tenants sharing common resources, you face a similar situation. Downtime can be especially punitive if it affects multiple tenants. And, as tenants’ needs scale up, you need the agility to adapt to their demands. Another challenge for colocation providers is managing tenant growth rate while new tenants are coming in and others are leaving. Providers need the ability to scale adeptly to variations in demand. To face these challenges, colocation providers can leverage DCIM to manage demand, increase efficiencies, and remain profitable.

Balancing the Ecosystem with Data Center Management

A data center is a balanced ecosystem of interacting components — or at least it should be. Move one component and you’re bound to affect several others, potentially upsetting the entire equilibrium.

Let’s say you need to add a rack or a server. Where will it go? At first glance, the obvious answer might be an empty corner or unpopulated aisle. But is there enough airflow in the area? Is the cooling system powerful enough to keep temperatures at the optimal levels in that space? What about power? Is there enough UPS capacity?

The same questions come up when you are moving a server or storage unit. Like Jenga pieces, as soon as you move one piece of equipment, you may be putting other components at risk. To avoid all that, a DCIM solution will guide you through the planning and management of your data center or colocation facility through modeling and analytics insights. When integrated into existing systems, it will provide you with one tool that consolidates data for enhanced end-to-end visibility. With additional cloud-based monitoring, you’ll get real-time data that will make your modeling and planning even more precise when it comes to power consumption.

This approach provides critical insights before implementing data center infrastructure changes, which lowers risk and increases ROI. You can model to optimize space and capacity, analyze business impact, automate workflows, and control utility costs. Here’s how:

Asset management and planning —An inventory management tool provides an overview of data center operations as well as details of all assets in the environment, including servers and racks.

Risk planning —This capability helps you determine how a change, such as shutting down a device, impacts the environment by, for instance, adding too much heat or overburdening the power supply.

Change management —Workflow automation helps reduce human error and leverages best practices with all moves, additions, and changes.

Capacity planning —This capability lets you analyze the infrastructure to determine the optimal location for the next server or rack.

Why Cloud-based DCIM for Data Center Management?

It’s clear why DCIM with visibility and risk planning capabilities is a real lifesaver, but why have it in the cloud? A cloud-based solution not only helps you shift from reactive to predictive mode; it also spares you from all maintenance and management of the solution itself. All the software updates and security patches are applied automatically, so you don’t have to bother with any of that. Instead, your staff can focus on running the data center in the most streamlined, efficient manner possible.

Get Started with Cloud-based DCIM

The increasing market appetite for data will not change anytime soon, but you can successfully manage this growth with the right tools. Explore how to optimize the management of your data center or colocation facility with a cloud-based DCIM approach.

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