Data center management needs to tie IT and facilities, report states
Managing a data center includes more than just the IT aspect of
it, and managers should deploy data center infrastructure management
software that ties together the IT and facilities factors, according to a
white paper released by market researcher IDC.
The advent of technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing
and modular computing requires IT managers to think about the data
center more strategically. The need for on-demand computing and shorter
deployment times requires more advanced capacity analysis and
longer-term planning. These strategies need to incorporate concerns
around power and cooling, traditionally the domain of facilities
managers, according to the paper, written by IDC analyst Katherine
“Datacenter Infrastructure Management: Bringing Together the World of Facilities and Cloud Computing,” was sponsored by CA Technologies, a developer of DCIM software.
Complexity could jeopardize data center consolidation
“DCIM software brings together various IT and facilities systems,
including generators and servers, to perform power usage effectiveness
reporting, data center visualization, dashboard reporting, what-if
scenarios, and, ultimately, control to improve the data center's
performance and efficiency,” the white paper states.
DCIM includes planning, management, and optimization software and
services for space, power and cooling within the data center. The
software and services typically focus on the intersection of facilities
and IT systems to create a view of the entire data center.
A real DCIM product must be able to monitor at least one component on
the IT side — virtual machine, server, storage or network equipment —
and one component on the facilities side — cooling, power distribution
unit, uninterruptible power supply, sensors or generators — although it may see many more than one on each side.
“Data centers are very complex buildings or giant computers,
depending on how one thinks about them,” the report states. So for one
solution to effectively integrate power, cooling and IT, the software
must be capable of integrating across old and new vendor technology and
business groups, the report states.
Some roadblocks to integration of IT and facilities revolve around
cooling and monitoring across different vendors' platforms. For
instance, due to outdated, proprietary protocols, many DCIM products
cannot monitor, manage or control cooling in the data center. Cooling is
very important to a well-functioning data center.
Additionally, some DCIM vendors can see only certain vendors' cooling
or virtualization management platforms. Data center managers need to be
sure that the solution monitors the vendors' equipment they want to
monitor. They have to choose software that touches all the integration
points across people, processes, and tools and has overcome many of the
roadblocks to integration in the data center, the IDC paper states.
Because DCIM is relatively new software — about 1 to 2 years old —
deploying and using the software could require additional services.
“These services include data center audits, installing supporting
sensors and software, or work creating custom reports. As time goes on,
IDC sees this problem diminishing as services templates and experience
increase,” the paper states.