On the Road to Data Center Infrastructure Management
As a former CIO of Emerson and now president of the Avocent business of Emerson Network Power, my perspective has been shaped by some unique experiences—not the least of which was the design and construction of a new 35,000-square-foot Emerson global data center in St. Louis, MO. While the project was an overwhelming success, our team came away from the experience knowing the facility—state-of-the-art in so many ways—was not truly optimized. The technology needed for truly integrated, optimized operations was not available. Which led to a simple question: Why not? The answer, it turns out, is not so simple.
Simply Manage Your Physical Infrastructure
Implementing data center best practices and taking a holistic perspective to your data center infrastructure operations is imperative to an organization’s ability to meet its business goals. A critical component is the availability of data.
Efficiency Without Compromise
In the data center, efficiency has traditionally has been used to refer to energy. But in reality, energy is just one of the resources consumed by a data center. And energy efficiency, while important, is just one chapter in the larger data center lifecycle story. For example, is a system that offers excellent operating efficiency but can’t accommodate growth or change really that efficient? How about a system that offers small energy efficiency gains but exposes critical IT systems to greater risk?
Achieving Peak Utilization
The concept of virtualization and the new focus on cloud computing become a pivot point to the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and ROI of the business. In addition, with a truly virtualized environment, resource pools can be leveraged; therefore, a dedicated resource would no longer be as critical. However, the overall data center and facilities become increasingly important to the successful operation of the business.
Contribution to Organizational Health
Maintaining that value to the business comes amid rising costs of infrastructure, power, and cooling, and the mantra of doing more with less. In a 2008 report, McKinsey & Company states, “Today’s data centers account for approximately 25% of the total corporate IT budget, when you take in account facilities, servers, storage and the labor to manage them.”(McKinsey & Company, 2008).
Impact of Change on Data Center Evolution
Over the previous decade, new advances in IT technologies have placed new and additional pressures on the traditional methods of facilities planning and management. Demands driven by economic and market conditions, as well as new initiatives that are energy efficient or “green,” have necessitated building and IT management tool adoption. However, with the advent of technologies such as virtualization and the move to high density or cloud computing strategies, new challenges emerged, broadening the “information gap” between logical and physical infrastructures and masking critical interdependencies.
Evolution’s Impact on Data Center Optimization
The collision of static infrastructure with dynamic IT operations has hindered progress. This has been compounded by the inability to achieve end-to-end visibility of true performance, let alone lend to predictive performance. Accounting for data center costs is often split across multiple organizations, forcing a compartmentalized decision-making process without consideration of upstream or downstream ramifications, increasing risks of data center and business application failures.