As a major part of their digital transformation efforts, more organizations must learn to leverage and derive more insights from their data. These initiatives impact the data center in two key ways. First, modern data centers need to adapt to the speed of IT and learn to provision resources in ways that reflect the on-demand, cloud-like experience that customers have come to expect.
Second, to achieve this goal, data center managers need to learn to make better use of the data generated by the intelligent instrumentation in their data center environments. This requires the collection of real-time data from the assets in your data center in conjunction with using Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software to simplify both the analysis of the data and its immediate application to your data center management practices.
What Types of Intelligent Instrumentation Are Available for Modern Data Centers?
When considering intelligent instrumentation, you might think immediately of the different types of intelligent PDUs. However, several devices are available to provide real-time data for modern data centers:
- Intelligent Rack PDUs (iPDUs)
- Remote Power Panels (RPPs)
- Floor PDUs
- Branch Circuits
- Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPSs)
- Sensors (temperature, humidity, water, smoke, airflow, air pressure, contact closure, etc.)
- Door Locks
However, collecting the data from these devices is only part of the equation. Data center managers also need to analyze the data, preferably with easy-to-understand analytics that tie in directly to the challenges they face in their own environments. DCIM software works with the devices you already have and reduces the complexity of data center monitoring to help you maintain uptime, effectively utilize capacity, and increase the productivity of your teams.
Benefits of Collecting Data via Intelligent Instrumentation and DCIM Software
When real-time data is collected and leveraged through DCIM software, enterprise data center operators have access to the same technology, tools, and processes that can make cloud providers so agile and responsive for on-demand provisioning. In fact, enterprise data center professionals may have even better transparency and greater access to real-time, raw data than just what is available from third-party cloud providers. Trending and analyzing this data in DCIM software can help their data center operations become faster, more automated, and more efficient through the following:
- Greater transparency down to the rack and outlet levels. Most intelligent PDUs enable power metering at various levels of granularity, but DCIM software can help you track and visualize connectivity at the rack as well as for temperature, humidity, and other sensors associated with the cabinets. Aggregating a large number of real-time data points creates larger data sets and enables smarter systems.
- More granular, accurate, just-in-time capacity management and planning. Real-time data gives you an always-accurate picture of usage in your data center, so that you can identify stranded capacity, forecast when you will run out, ensure that you will have enough in case of a failover situation, and make the most of your existing resources through your data center software.
- Data center health monitoring. DCIM software can communicate with monitored PDUs to check for power and connectivity. Health polling combined with thresholds, alerts, and notifications can help you identify and address potential issues. This also lowers the risk of potential issues before they lead to costly, unplanned downtime.
- Improved data center security and compliance. Electronic door lock control with RFID-enabled cards, user management, and security audit reports help you ensure compliance and reduce the possibility of unauthorized access. DCIM software can help you track user access as well as automatically record access attempts to different areas of your data center.
- Cross-functional data collaboration and sharing. The breadth and granularity of real-time data collected through DCIM software may have additional application for teams beyond the tool’s primary users. For example, a Facilities team that uses basic building information in a BMS may benefit from seeing actual power loads and capacity. A Finance team may be able to streamline and simplify yearly budgeting and auditing efforts with direct access to data center asset management data. Sharing this information with other teams can lead to better, more developed insights by allowing different functions to do their own analysis based on a shared version of the truth.
Today, intelligent instrumentation is faster, easier, and more affordable to deploy than ever. As a result, there’s a wide range of technologies like intelligent PDUs with environmental sensors, smart UPSs, and other devices that make it possible for data center managers to access and analyze the real-time, trendable data that can enhance their decision-making abilities. DCIM software and other data center monitoring tools allow you to not only collect this data but also to analyze it using built-in dashboards and reports designed for data center professionals. The actionable insights from this data can significantly improve your data center management practices so you can take a more service-oriented approach to your data centers – just like a cloud provider.