Data center asset management is a critical yet often neglected task. There are all of those boxes, serial numbers and software versions to track and organize. Who has the time or energy?
Yet failing to coordinate and control data center assets inevitably erodes efficiency and performance. Without proper management, hardware and software product lifecycles gradually fall out of sync, important fixes and updates are missed and equipment losses and thefts may go unnoticed for days, weeks or even months.
Besides ensuring operational performance and efficiency, a data center asset management strategy will also enable you to streamline inventory processes to comply with legal and financial auditing and reporting requirements, enhancing your ability to comply with government and accounting mandates.
Fortunately, creating and sticking to a comprehensive asset management plan isn’t at all difficult. The process is certainly much easier than coping with the chaos created by an unorganized data center. Here are some suggestions to help you get you started:
Start With Your Inventory. Too many data centers are haphazardly organized. Assets come and go and their roles are never adequately catalogued or defined. This oversight can lead to gaps in key systems and processes as well as the possibility of multiple assets handling identical tasks. If you haven’t already done so, your first step toward developing an assert management strategy should be to create a detailed inventory of your data center’s assets.
Consider Software. Besides being a data center asset, software can also help you develop and maintain an effective management blueprint and strategy. Various vendors offer data center asset management tools. Take a close at the different offerings and find the one that mostly matches your needs. Data center management software can also help you increase inventory accuracy while reducing the time and manpower needed to create inventory and audit processes.
Don’t Overlook Facility Assets. Data center floor plans, rack space and cabinets are some of your easily overlooked “invisible assets.” Make sure that you’ve identified and configured these items to meet your exact needs. Your data center facility operator can help you design and organize an efficient and productive infrastructure.
Network Service is an Asset, Too. You can’t touch it or even see it, but network service is one of your data center’s most important assets. Yet network service can also be a pain to manage, since their are so many different technical and financial attributes to set and monitor. That’s why it’s always a good idea to locate your data center with a facility provider that offers built-in network connections and streamlines the network service procurement process by giving you access to multiple carriers via a single contract.
Remember Your Support Assets. Power and cooling services may not be assets in the conventional sense of the term, but they are certainly vital to data center operation and performance. The easiest and most efficient way of supervising these assets is to locate your data center in a facility that folds managed support services into your overall data center package.
Hold on to What You Have. While an asset management system can monitor losses, it can’t prevent them. To keep your assets safe, base your data center in a facility that offers state of the art physical access controls.
Don’t Get Lost in the Details. Be careful not to cross the line that divides a comprehensive asset management system from inventory fanaticism. In other words, it’s not necessary to inventory and track every nut and bolt in your data center. Organize smaller assets like cables and physical tools into easy to manage larger groups. Set a minimize value threshold (e.g. $1 or $10) for the items you track.