The (Business) Intelligent Data Center
Business Intelligence (BI), or the process of taking raw data and producing meaningful information, has been applied to many areas of business to increase efficiencies, anticipate failures, and model “what if” scenarios. The data center has been slow to adopt this technology but no other area of technology needs it more. Most data center personnel cannot tell you how much storage capacity IT has used or when it would be time to add more. There may be limited understanding about which applications are consuming the most power and which servers are sitting mostly idle. The challenges that data centers and enterprises face are considerable, with mandates to store more data, reduce energy costs, and provide continuous availability.
In many companies the cost of the data center consumes a considerable amount of the IT budget. Controlling costs is an important consideration as data centers continue to consume more energy and applications are driving enormous expansion. The first step to managing energy costs is to understand the source of those costs in fine grained detail. This requires new tools that go well beyond traditional monitoring, to a BI solution that can store and analyze vast amounts of data points in real time regarding the systems in the data center. Accounting departments have cast their eyes upon the data center and they want detailed and specific answers.
Businesses are looking to improve cost reporting and charge-backs by line of business in the data center and need greater visibility and business intelligence processes to help them achieve this goal. Business intelligence and its associated data can be used to illustrate which department is consuming the most power on a per month basis, for example. Comparisons between departments can be made and peak power usage can be tracked so that the data center can operate more efficiently. A data center’s capacity can be closely monitored and steps can be taken in advance to add more capacity if needed. In other words, business intelligence can be applied to the data center with startling results.
Combined with business intelligence processes, real-time data can shine a new light on all departments and how they consume a company’s IT and power resources within the data center. By showing each LOB and their power usage, steps can be taken to reduce consumption, decommission servers, or make expansions where needed. In some cases, departments can be billed for their consumption of data center resources. Applications can be tested against power consumption and modifications made to make them more efficient.
Role of the DCIM
A data center operating system such as the IO.OS couples continuous, comprehensive energy monitoring software with strong analytics to help data centers make smart decisions regarding capacity planning and optimization. IO.OS provides a business intelligence feature set that compares, contrasts, and trends critical data center stats including PUE, power and cooling usage by day and hour, utilization such as customer and module usage and capacity summaries.
Data Center Age of Enlightenment
It’s time to bring the data center out of the dark ages, and into the benefits that continuous monitoring and business intelligence can provide. You can’t change what you can’t measure, and the data center is front and center in the war against escalating costs.
Data centers can no longer escape the scrutiny of the corner office.