Data center operations is the role of individuals (data center operators) tasked within a data center to carry out technical and IT responsibilities. This includes the management of infrastructure, services and applications, and massive quantities of data.
While some of these tasks require direct management, many can be automated. Data center automation is becoming more critical for functional data centers and can improve the performance of operations. Having solid operations and management practices in place can minimize risk, lower costs, and increase productivity.
What Are the Key Components of Data Center Operations?
Data center operations covers a wide variety of duties that are necessary to improve uptime and efficiency across the data center infrastructure including power, IT equipment, network, applications software, and applications services.
Data center operations consists of:
- Asset management. Knowing what assets you have and their exact cabinet and U position enables real-time capacity and change management.
- Moves, adds, and changes. The routine upkeep of computing equipment keeps systems up-to-date and in alignment with customer requirements.
- Power, space, and capacity management. The collection and analysis of power, space, and capacity information enables data-driven decision-making to utilize the data center more efficiently.
- Automation. Integrating data center management tools enables automation that reduce swivel chair management and manual effort involved in data center operations.
- Remote visualization. Seeing your data center without having to physically be there increases productivity and collaboration across functional teams.
- Power and environment monitoring. Knowing what is happening in your data center environment provides key information that can improve uptime and efficiency.
- Backup and disaster recovery. In case of failure, documenting and following failover procedures and processes and identifying available space, power, and equipment ensures availability.
What Are the Challenges of Data Center Operations?
- Handling multiple vendors and their associated equipment, applications, and operating systems with different contracts, warranties, licenses, patches, and upgrade processes.
- Managing multiple sites with various maturity levels, equipment, processes, and procedures.
- Maintaining SLAs in complex environments where there are different requirements for application availability, data retention, recovery speed, and network availability.
- Monitoring changes where there is poor or no processes for change control, antiquated equipment, and an inability keep infrastructure up to date.
- Managing data center cost and reduced budget where resources are procured based on “best cost” regardless of whether they are deployed at the edge, virtualized, or housed in a colocation facility.
- Deploying new services and applications quicker with limited knowledge of data center resource capacity such as power, space, cooling, data, and power port connections.
- Remotely managing many complex and distributed sites such as edge data centers and colocation data centers.
What Tools Are Used in Data Center Operations?
To perform successful data center operations, data center professionals leverage many software and hardware tools that can aid in automation via integration and remote data center infrastructure management.
- DCIM software. DCIM software is the main component of a complete data center management tool kit. It provides a centralized view of all data center resources and capacity.
- APIs. APIs enable different applications to integrate and share data.
- CMDBs. A Configuration Management Database (CMDB) such as ServiceNow stores information on the hardware, software, systems, facilities, and personnel within an organization.
- Ticketing systems. Ticketing systems such as Jira are used to process and document service requests such as moves, adds, and changes.
- Dev Ops tools. Dev Ops tools such as Ansible, Chef, Jenkins, and Puppet integrate application development and IT operations. They provide organizations with more control over their IT processes and systems.
- Power meters. Intelligent rack PDUs, busways, remote power panels, floor PDUs, UPSs, and building meters provide critical data about your power utilization and capacity.
- Environmental sensors. Data from temperature, humidity, airflow, pressure, vibration, and water sensors can be leveraged to ensure data center health, mitigate against threats of downtime, and save energy.
- Security. A secure and safe data center can be accomplished via cabinet door access audits, electronic cabinet door lock controls, door contacts, and IP cameras.
Simplify Data Center Operations with DCIM Software
Data center health and efficiency is maximized when data center operators leverage tools and insights that provide a resilient environment where uptime is maximized, risk in minimized, and services and applications can be delivered quickly and affordably.
A modern Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution radically simplifies data center operations by giving data center managers the ability to increase efficiencies and improve data center infrastructure planning and design. DCIM typically replaces Excel, Visio, and homegrown tools.
The benefits of deploying DCIM software include:
- Improved uptime. DCIM software constantly monitors critical facilities infrastructure by polling equipment and collecting, trending, and reporting that data. It monitors for threshold violations and provides built-in alerting, so you can react before failures impact users and services.
- Improved capacity planning and utilization. DCIM allows you to quickly allocate space for new servers, racks, and IT and facilities equipment. Manage relationships between IT equipment and critical facilities infrastructure in just a few clicks with power and network connectivity diagrams.
- Increased data center energy efficiency. DCIM automatically collects data from building feeds, IT loads, and non-IT loads and instantly calculates and trends PUE across all data centers to ensure corporate energy efficiency initiatives.
- Improved people productivity. DCIM with fully integrated and automated workflow management simplifies reservations, moves, adds, and changes. Dramatically increase employee productivity and morale with process assurance, tracking, and audit trails.
Want to see how Sunbird’s second-generation DCIM software dramatically simplifies data center operations? Get your free test drive now!