Datacenters are getting more and more complex. Growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is only going to aggravate the situation. Thankfully, there are applications such as DCIM tools that can help you cut through all the complexity and enable you to get the most out of your datacenters.
The days of simple datacenters are long gone. In their place, we will have datacenters that are used for big data that call for complex data management and manipulation. No longer is the datacenter just a mere repository of files. They now have to make sure that they are able to both gather and store data and are able to convert the data into something that can be analyzed and used for decision making.
But growing complexity is not the only challenge that datacenters of today face. Here are some additional key issues:
- Energy efficiency — As far back as 2010 estimates indicated that datacenters all over the world were responsible for as much as 1.5% of the world’s total energy use, and growing. Not only do the computer systems consume substantial power, they need to be cooled through air conditioning. While the amount of growth in energy consumed is an open question, the general sense is that datacenters are power hogs and represent a significant energy expense for a company.
- Availability — A datacenter is only productive if users are able to access the data stored on it. But the more complex the datacenter becomes, the greater the likelihood that something in it will fail. So keeping the datacenter up, running, and accessible is a growing challenge as well.
- Capacity — A lot of IT personnel are overprovisioning their datacenters to make room for error and make sure that they have utmost availability. The downside to this is that it costs thousands of dollars a year to have under-used equipment simply sitting in reserve. Further, the redundant capacity means spending more on power and cooling expenses. Finding an optimum balance among these conflicting demands is a continual challenge.
- Reporting — Datacenters store information companies need to make decisions on operations, marketing, and other aspects of their business. But to get the most accurate and most relevant data to support their decisions, they need the latest and even real-time information. Stale data will just not cut it. Making sure the most relevant data is readily available is essential.
With the IoT growing the number of data sources, platforms, and applications, the datacenter has started to become unpredictable. One thing is for sure, though: It will continue to grow bigger. As the data stored explodes, the datacenter will need more processing power and eat up more energy as well as aggravating these other challenges.
The good news is that there are tools available to help deal with these challenges.
Enter datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) tools. DCIM tools help datacenter managers to get a real-time view of their datacenters that allow them to cut down on costs. It also helps them monitor the different components of the datacenter.
First, these tools give an accurate measure of just how much power the datacenter is consuming, and what part of the datacenter is consuming how much energy. DCIM tools give both current and historical power usage (daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly).
DCIM tools also provide a way to easily monitor the datacenter. If something happens, your IT department can get an alert via mobile phone, computer, or even via email. And the tool can give a handy view of what’s going on with the datacenter on a very specific detail. For example, it can alert you to temperature fluctuations, generators, and power outputs. You get to know the problem early on so that you could attend to it before it becomes a real headache.
DCIM tools can also help you know if you are operating at optimum capacity. Instead of overprovisioning, with all its attendant redundancy and high costs, you can rely on DCIM tools to tell you where you have unused capacity that you can deploy for new data to be stored. So you do not have to contend with blindly adding physical capacity — you can make efficient use of the resources you already have. In effect, you are making sure that you are making use of your datacenter’s full potential without risking overloading your cooling, space, and power capacities.
Lastly, DCIM tools can help you get real-time reports, including up to the minute information on workloads, temperatures, power consumptions, and other important metrics that you need to make decisions about your datacenter.