When asked how powerful the engine under the bonnet of its cars is, Rolls-Royce used to say only that it was “adequate”. And if you could afford to buy the car then the cost of filling it up should be of no consequence to you because, after all, it is not when you arrive but how you arrive that is important! But even a car like that has a speedometer, a rev counter and a fuel gauge on the dashboard.
The same cannot be said for many data centres and server rooms. Speedometers were optional extras on cars in the early days of the auto industry before becoming standard equipment. I don’t envisage a law being passed anytime soon that stipulates data centres must be fitted with a DCIM “speedometer”. Yet the consequences of not having real-time monitoring are expensive and laden with risk. For example, over provisioning of power is a big problem in many facilities – they are designed according to equipment face-plate power ratings and then a bit more is added on just in case. The end result is a serious amount of stranded power – provisioned but not used. The theory is that there is plenty of safety margin built-in and perhaps monitoring is not really needed. That way lies the route to out-of-control spending, poor capacity planning, increased operating risks and, most expensive of all, building more, un-needed data centre space. Real-time monitoring of actual consumption data to a granular level provides the basis for benchmarking and for driving efficiencies. Put simply, knowing what is going on in real-time in your data centre just makes good business sense.
To be in control of your data centre you need real-time access to real-time data otherwise you cannot get the most out of the control systems you have. Monitoring the meters, sensors and other devices in the data centre and capturing real-time data is the necessary starting point to taking control. It puts the data centre manager in a much better position to be able to prioritise potential problems and benefits – energy savings and increased data centre resilience being chief among them. Best of all – use a vendor-independent software solution that interoperates with multi-vendor systems, typical in most facilities.