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Wednesday, 24 June 2015 01:47

Business Analytics for Data Centers: Part 2

In the first part of this blog on Business Analytics for Data Centers, we explored why Analytics has become critical for Data Center operations . In this second part, we will explore how DCIM fulfills this role as a Business Analytic tool for Data Center operations.

While DCIM in its early days was largely seen as a bridge between Facilities and the IT Infrastructure Groups, it is now being recognized as an analytic tool for data center operations. Maturity in DCIM technology has meant that huge amounts of data from different devices are captured on a real time basis. Data Center Managers rightly expect that DCIM must now be more than just a monitoring tool and deliver meaningful insights from the data lake of power and environment monitoring, server utilization and threshold breaches.

At configuration stage, DCIM is mapped with the critical relationships and dependencies between all the assets, applications and business units in the data center. This makes it possible to identify cascading impacts of an impending failure. DCIM Analytics however goes deeper. Over a period of time, data patterns emerge which lend themselves to modern predictive and prescriptive analytics. Predictive analytics gives the data center team enough time to take measures to either avoid or reduce the impact of the failure when it happens.  Prescriptive analytics, on the other hand, provides suggestions on how to achieve or improve benchmark levels on each of the metrics specified in advance.

DCIM works with environment probes that measure rack, row and room temperatures and humidity levels. Analytics can help to determine which areas in the data center need more cooling than others and even which PAC unit may be turned off in the data center at certain times of the day or month. Advanced DCIM, through analytics, recommends ways to reduce power consumption in the data center by raising temperature in zones that do not need extra cooling.

Other Benefits Using DCIM

There is a frequent Move-Add-Change (MAC) in data centers. DCIM has the capacity to deal with these MACs, as well as sudden surges in demand for data center resources. This works especially well with multiple virtual servers in the cloud. Most businesses today do not own just one data center housed in a single location – their data centers are spread around the world. Some are in-house and others are hosted by third-parties. DCIM is the only technology that lets business users control all their data center assets and resources from a single platform.

Data centers are notorious for their high power consumption. Advanced DCIM provides business and operational intelligence to maximize rack space use, minimize power distribution losses and optimize cooling while ensuring the data center meets SLA standards for temperature, availability and energy efficiency metrics like PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness).

Most businesses are finding it hard to make most of the existing space in their data centers, and the use of DCIM software mitigates this problem to a great extent. DCIM can help with reduced rack and floor space utilization, by providing detailed real-time reports on server utilization and capacity. Server utilization reports provide suggestions which of them can be decommissioned or virtualized and therefore overcome space constraints in the data center. 

Finally, the most important function of DCIM is to prevent data center failures which can permanently damage the reputation of a business.  In an age when a major data center failure can prove fatal for a business, DCIM provides monitoring as well as predictive analytic capability to prevent such a disaster.

Published in DCIM

A new breed of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is now emerging out of the shadows of being just a monitoring and tracking tool. Advanced DCIM are now providing the much needed Business Analytics for data centers. This can be a boon for both C-level executives and data center managers looking to cut costs while meeting demands for High Availability. This is a two-part blog. In this first part, we explore why Analytics has become critical for Data Center operations in the new world order of Internet of Things.

As data centers are growing in complexity, the need to keep them functioning at an optimum level, while cutting down on costs, is a challenge facing both the CIO as well as the CFO. Large businesses are spending millions to keep their data centers up and running and it is directly affecting their bottom line and ROI. Companies can no longer afford to let their data centers run under-utilized, nor can they afford failures. Sadly, most organizations are struggling to make the most of their data center investments.

Business Analytics and DCIM – An Introduction

Business Analytics software provides a broad set of capabilities for gathering and processing business data, and includes functions such as reporting, analysis, modeling and forecasting - all of which give business users the ability to make informed decisions and initiate actions directly from their dashboards.

In order to understand how a few of the advanced Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software provides similar capabilities for data centers, we have to first look at the challenge of running data centers effectively and at minimal cost. While the foremost responsibility of the Data Center Manager is maintaining High Availability, the challenge, somewhat ironical, can be summed up in one sentence:

Extreme redundancies with lots of assets increase the vulnerable points!

Not to mention, they also consume large amount of resources, and typically remain under-utilized.

Data center assets comprise both physical as well as IT infrastructure. The resources to keep them running include space and networks and also power and cooling without which the assets would not be able to function.

Advanced DCIM gives data center operators the ability to manage all their data center assets and resources from a single dashboard. Through real-time monitoring of all assets and resources, they can determine correlations between different parameters, thereby making their DCIM a powerful platform for deep analytics and business intelligence. DCIM Analytics ensures that all data center assets are in good health while consuming the least amount of resources and provides complete visibility to the power chain, enabling tracking and eliminating potential vulnerable points of failures.

In the second part, we will explore "How DCIM Business Analytics Works."

Published in DCIM

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