Data center monitoring is critical for tackling many of the most difficult tasks facing modern data center managers. It provides insights and visibility into the health and status of your data centers by tracking specific metrics in real time and sending alerts or notifications when readings exceed or fall below the set thresholds.
Although exactly what you monitor will vary based on your data center environment and objectives, most data center managers typically focus on cabinets and their contents, cooling units, doors and locks, and other facility equipment to address their typical use cases. Given the distributed nature of modern data center environments, you may even be monitoring different enterprise locations or the cabinets you own in colocation data centers.
With the information you collect from data center monitoring, you can decrease downtime, improve capacity utilization, drive productivity across your data center team, and reduce risk. For example, data center power management and energy consumption continue to be common challenges, requiring data center managers to constantly take steps to cut costs and use resources more efficiently. According to Uptime Institute’s annual survey of data center professionals, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), one of the most common energy efficiency metrics used in data centers today, is a key area of continuous improvement, with a record average PUE of 1.58 reported by respondents.
Similarly, data center managers need to operate a safe environment for their IT equipment, without overcooling or creating hotspots. They need to manage environmental conditions in ways that enable them to maximize resource utilization without compromising safety or long-term equipment integrity.
To address many of these concerns and reap the benefits of keeping a closer eye on their environments, many data center managers are turning to modern Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software for advanced monitoring capabilities. Consider just a few of the devices you can monitor in their data centers using DCIM software and the many data center professionals (besides data center managers and operators) who can benefit from effective data center monitoring practices.
What Can Be Monitored in a Data Center?
Most of the conditions and devices in your data center can be monitored using sensors and other instrumentation. These include:
- 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.)
- Doors and locks
Data collected from monitoring these devices can be stored and analyzed using your DCIM software, and the insights can be used to mitigate data center management risks. The aforementioned Uptime Institute survey also found that 80% of respondents reported that their downtime was largely caused by preventable issues, such as human error, power outages, and network failure. A comprehensive data center management tool might not prevent all issues, but it can assist data center teams with reducing unexpected downtime, better planning to avoid running out of capacity, and identifying issues before they become debilitating problems.
Who Can Benefit from Data Center Monitoring with DCIM Software?
At first, it may seem that only data center managers, operators, and engineers experience the most advantages from using DCIM software to monitor the devices in their data centers. Although these roles may see the most immediate gains, others, both internal and external to an organization, can also benefit:
- IT Teams: Data centers support business-critical applications and IT infrastructures. Data center monitoring with DCIM software helps to ensure uptime and availability, faster response times to issues, and more effective disaster recovery efforts.
- Power and Network Teams: Data center monitoring can help teams identify issues related to device connectivity through polling, alerts, and notifications. A comprehensive DCIM solution will allow customization of warning and critical thresholds on different devices for more precise management, so you’ll be alerted immediately if readings fall below or above your desired thresholds.
- Facilities Teams: Data center monitoring can track environmental changes in your data center, which can simplify the management of cooling, airflow, and other facility-level conditions. This can be especially beneficial in large enterprise data centers.
- Finance Teams: Data center monitoring can help to lower operational costs and reduce the need for out-of-cycle maintenance by accurately tracking data center energy consumption and cooling requirements. It can also help to determine which customer applications are the greatest resource hogs, so they can be billed back for usage.
- Data Center Customers: Both internal and external customers benefit from better, more reliable performance of services and applications available from your data center. Data center monitoring can also drive efficiency, leading to energy-efficient behaviors and lower costs to the customer.
Data center monitoring provides the information you need to anticipate and react to changing conditions in your data center before they become problems. Whether you are monitoring the power, energy, or environmental conditions in your data center, DCIM software and other data center monitoring tools can help you maintain availability, reduce unplanned downtime, and keep teams across your organization informed and happy with your data center operations.
Want to experience for yourself the data center monitoring capabilities in Sunbird’s industry-leading second-generation DCIM software? Take a test drive today.