DCN July 2016 - Page 34

asset management CLOSE CONTROL Adrian Barker of RF Code discusses the importance of accurate, real time asset management in the data centre. D ata centres underpin the digital world in which we live. They are the engines of commerce and the demands put upon them means it is essential facilities are constantly available. The majority of data centre managers who are responsible for multi-million pound facilities recognise the value of monitoring and management to ensure availability for their customers – after all, no one wants to risk an outage. But how can managers ensure adequate protection against that risk? With a combination of best practice and the use of precise management initiatives to protect critical assets. Most organisations monitor power and environmental conditions within the facility due to the relationship between increased availability and efficiency. Thermal monitoring can lead to considerable cost savings and delivers details of the relationship between compute demand and power to enable decisions to be made about exactly how much power is needed in relation to capacity. 34 Despite the value asset management presents to operational teams, asset management has seen slower adoption. The reason typically offered is that many operators don’t consider their data centres to be highly dynamic environments. However, a data centre is not as static as the majority of people think, and total asset lifecycles don’t begin and end with asset deployment. Take a server’s lifespan as an example assets change location a significant number of times. Delivery bays, storage rooms, maintenance areas, in the rack, in decommissioning sites and eventually out of the facility for safe disposal. A life of its own During their lifespan, assets will be moved from location to location and in some instances data centre managers would have nothing more than a spreadsheet detailing an asset’s last shown whereabouts. Manual methods are prone to human error and to have a detailed, up to date audit of all assets would be near impossible and labour intensive. Thankfully, there are now solutions that offer continuous, real time asset data on equipment location, specification and historical interactions with employees. What this means is data centre managers can identify each device and its location with power paths, network connections and dependencie s clearly mapped out. In addition, real time environmental monitoring data can be correlated with asset management information to detect stranded capacity, identify overprovisioning and reduce operational costs. Where capacity does exist, the system will provide details, which is vital when you consider the expense involved in building extra capacity. With Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) now a major objective for data centre operators, gaining visibility over assets and capacity will become a key factor in achieving this aim. Assets working together Real time monitoring, asset management and capacity planning offer substantial benefits, but the true potential of these technologies lies in the insight that can be