Landing a helicopter on a beer mat

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Talking to a friend this week about how he was handling a challenging situation in his business, he described it as feeling like he was trying to land a helicopter on a beer mat.  I am not a pilot but that sounds difficult!  And it got me thinking about data centre managers and the challenges they describe to us when we discuss InSite with them.  Just like a helicopter pilot, the data centre manager – or ‘pilot’ – has a lot to keep an eye on and control if he is going to operate his facility as efficiently and effectively as possible.  I want to focus on a couple of recurring themes we come across – let us know if they are familiar.

In particular, I am thinking about (1) achieving targets and (2) managing the data centre through multiple monitoring systems.  There is nothing new about using targets to measure progress towards achieving specific business goals.  Data centre managers may be targeted on reducing OpEx or energy consumption or on improving PUE.  At first glance, there is nothing out of the ordinary with these targets but to measure progress against them implies that you know where you are starting from.  And this is the surprising thing – we speak to many data centre managers who do not have access to this base data because they do not have a capable monitoring system in place.  That makes landing their helicopter pretty difficult!

Another cause of real difficulty for the hard pressed data centre manager is coping with the accumulation of multiple point solutions, each of which only provides information on one of the systems he or she is responsible for.  For example, one application is monitoring the rack PDUs, another is monitoring the environmental sensors, yet another is monitoring the UPS and then there is the BMS.  Most data centres are multi-vendor sites; whilst many of these equipment vendors now offer software to manage their own products, and claim it can also manage the rest, although that seldom works in practice.  To make matters potentially worse, some of these systems might have been built in-house.  If developing data centre management systems is not your core business then this is extremely unlikely to be a good use of your scare resources – money, time and people.  And it does not stop there – maintaining such a system becomes burdensome and expensive, especially when the developer has left the company.

The data centre ‘pilot’ wants to go to one system to see, in real-time, what is going on in his or her facility.  What is required is a solution that is vendor independent and which can integrate with all the core infrastructure equipment and 3rd party systems, aggregating and consolidating the data in one place.  That sets the stage for providing dashboards for operations people and reports for business people through a single browser-based user interface.  And this is what InSite is designed to do.

If you have targets to hit then you need InSite’s interactive reporting tool to show you the time-based trends and analysis you need to make informed business decisions about how your data centre is run.  If you want to get a purview of your data centre and its critical metrics – cost, energy, PUE, capacity, etc – together with the ability to drill down into the detail at the device level, then you will appreciate the capability and ease of use of InSite’s real-time dashboards.  If managing your data centre sometimes feels like trying to land a helicopter on a beer mat then get in touch.  InSite gives you the intrumentation you need to take control.

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