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Data Center Operations: The Last Domain for IT Operational Efficiency 

As organizations continue to strive for higher levels of business performance, many struggle with an IT infrastructure that provides only marginal levels of agility or adaptability. The data center has essentially become the last domain where operational discipline can be achieved. With the increasing complexities and constant changes occurring with the IT environment, organizations can no longer afford to run data center operations without strict disciplines and processes.

Strict process control and documentation are critical and can assist data center operations organizations in immediately preventing many unplanned downtime incidents in existence today. InformationWeek reports that “up to 80 percent of all IT outages are caused by improper changes to the IT environment. In addition, the situation is only going to get worse in increasingly complex IT environments where databases, servers and other systems are managed by different groups within an organization.” Since many data center operations activities continue to require human interactions and cannot be automated (e.g., server installations, network and power cabling, etc.), organizations must instill strict procedures, discipline and documentation for effective data center operations.

 Data Center Operations -- Greater than the Sum of Its Parts
A data center is greater than the sum of its parts, with data center operations being responsible for the day-to-day operations of the equipment, systems and services necessary for the overall business to function. In addition to the needs required to manage explosive data growth, contain rising energy costs and proactively drive the evolution towards virtualization, data center managers face a number of data center operations challenges. In fact, Gartner estimates that more than 70 percent of the world’s Global 1000 organizations will need to modify their data centers significantly during the next five years due to issues related to energy consumption, floor space and/or data center operational costs.

  • Top challenges included consolidating and standardizing enterprise-wide IT infrastructure and improving levels of service to the business.
    More than two-thirds of organizations surveyed reported an increase in sophisticated security attacks.
  • Increased adoption of virtualization technologies will help consolidate complex data center environments, address compliance requirements and enable remote/mobile workers.
    IT executives are now expected to enable business growth, drive innovation and reduce the costs of doing business.

Given the complexity of the data center environment, data center operations must run with standardized tools and disciplines, centralized management of operations (e.g., remote operations) and automation in order to achieve the major goals of improved efficiency, reduced costs and increased availability.

 Improving Data Center Operations with Data Center Service Management™
To meet high levels of business performance requires an optimal, efficient IT infrastructure as well as a new business paradigm - Data Center Service Management™ (DCSM™). DCSM is an extension of the IT Service Management (ITSM) discipline to help organizations evolve to a higher level of process maturity and manage the data center from a service-oriented perspective.

DCSM specifically helps organizations employ an integrated set of systems and disciplined processes to manage the data center as a single entity - including the physical infrastructure - and from a holistic perspective. Only by managing the data center from this holistic perspective - by taking every aspect and responsibility within the data center into account - can organizations truly reach a higher level of data center process maturity and deliver IT services in complete alignment with business objectives.

Key benefits of implementing DCSM within the data center include:

  • Successfully progress from the use of ad hoc tools and limited processes into an integrated entity
  • Ability to manage the data center through a “single pane of glass” to eliminate the potential of errors
  • Access to real-time, actionable information for valuable decision support and key performance indicators across multiple data centers
  • Multi-dimensional perspective to support the needs of both IT and Facilities
  • Ability to sense and proactively respond to events in real-time through monitoring and automation

Increasingly, business performance is dependent upon the strength of a company’s underlying IT infrastructure, whose reliable operation can be vastly improved through improved data center technology and operations.

For more information on how Aperture can improve data center capacity management, click here.

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