Many people ask: What Are Data Center Best Practices?
The answer: Data center best practices are policies that build the foundation for an optimized computing infrastructure that is flexible and automated to achieve the business goals of the organization. Many times they are built on the fundamentals of ITIL guidelines and support ITSM solution sets.
With more and more data being created, processed, and stored, there is constant pressure on computing infrastructure to meet changing business needs. At the same time, expenses incurred from data center facilities are being more carefully scrutinized for potential cost savings. Management is caught in the middle, attempting to maintain optimized uptime cost-effectively.
A Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution is the 3rd element along with ITIL and ITSM for constructing and managing a modern data center infrastructure. DCIM software can help meet all these goals both in the short and long-term, first by being the single source of truth across all IT and business systems, then by monitoring and automating management of assets from data center facilities, to colocation, to edge computing.
The first step to data center optimization is full visibility into all assets in the facility. Once a baseline is established it can be determined: what assets are where, what they are doing, how they are connected, their lifecycle and the level of energy used, among other details. A thorough inventory of this information can reveal opportunities for improvement for instance servers and equipment that are not working as efficiently as they might and may be good candidates for retirement or repurposing.
With the real-time monitoring provided by a DCIM solution, data center managers can optimize their power usage by locating where energy is being used and if it could be used more efficiently. Temperature sensors throughout the computing infrastructure make right-sizing cooling possible, so hot and cold spots are corrected. With temperatures normalized, raising ambient temperature safely allows for greater savings.
Most importantly DCIM offers real-time visibility into the availability of space, allowing for more efficient data center consolidation.
Last but not least is optimization of staff time. With a DCIM easy-to-read dashboard showing details about all assets, adding and moving equipment takes a fraction of the time it used to, freeing up staff to spend more time on new projects than wasting time on maintenance. Automated workflow provides a single repository of all the completed tasks and what still needs to be done, reducing errors and duplication of efforts.
The computing infrastructure must be flexible to change quickly and safely with market demands, new opportunities and business needs. Because DCIM provides not only real-time information, but trending over time, forecasting future needs is simplified and infrastructure scalability can be quickly accommodated.
DCIM also makes “what if” testing possible, in a virtual environment, to allow managers to virtually test equipment failure scenarios to ascertain if risk management is fail proof. No facility operator wants to make the headlines for brand-damaging power failures costing in billions of dollars of revenue.
The goal is more predictability, and fewer unpleasant surprises and service disruption.
Automated systems improve service, availability, save time, reduce errors, and free up staff from conducting manual tasks. Automating tasks like temperature monitoring does away with time consuming manual readings. A single-pane-of-glass dashboard providing all the information about where new equipment can be safely deployed saves staff innumerable trips to the data center floor for gathering the information- saving not hours, but days’ worth of time.
Data center best practices demand a holistic approach and the tenacity to constantly improve with the latest technology enablers. Remaining end-user centric means protecting uptime and continually striving for utmost efficiency of optimal computing infrastructure. Once business goals are achieved, it’s time to establish new milestones. With a DCIM solution deployed, data center operators can be confident that their computing journey will not only be optimized for current needs but ready to scale to meet future, long run needs.