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Report: Closer Bond Between IT and Facilities Needed in Data Center Management

According to an IDC white page, data cent managers should deploy infrastructure management software that ties together the IT and facilities factors for a smoother operation.

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 Broderick.

"Datacenter Infrastructure Management: Bringing Together the World of Facilities and Cloud Computing," was sponsored by CA Technologies, a developer of DCIM software.

"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 For instance, due to outdated, proprietary protocols, many DCIM products cannot monitor, manage or control cooling in the data center.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.

 

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is the senior technology editor of Government Computer News (GCN.com).

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