5 Tips to Better Data Centre Management
Data has become a highly-prized asset in today’s business environment, and the data centres that store all the valuable information have thus, moved far past being mere storage facilities to becoming key business resources. Managing and maintaining a data centre however, is a multifaceted process that requires the right people, skills, and tools.
What makes managing a data centre more complex is the fact that the modern version of it is no longer just the rows of neatly-stacked on-premise IT infrastructure as they are often represented in stock images. Instead, the data centre now has extended beyond traditional boundaries and could be spread across multiple physical sites, colocations, and the cloud.
In this post, we discuss five key best practices that data centre administrators can implement to ensure that their IT infrastructure is operating at peak efficiency.
Know Your Assets
Having full awareness of what assets you own and having these documented is an essential part of managing your data centre. Documentation is vital to asset management, and all the more so if you have multiple pieces of IT hardware of various types and sizes.
Getting all this information on paper (or an application for that matter) then allows you to evaluate what design changes you can make in terms of optimising your data floor space. When you know how one equipment interacts with the rest, it will help you better improve your floor layout and ensure that the facility’s power and cooling needs are effectively managed. Proper documentation will also make it easier for you to identify which hardware pieces have reached or are nearing their end-of-life for appropriate action.
Clean Up Your Workspace
This may sound like a fundamental practice that should be implemented regularly, but there are still organisations who leave a part of their data centres looking like electronic scrap yards with an assortment of unusable equipment. While it’s understandable that responsibly disposing of decommissioned IT equipment may not be high up on the to-do list (though it should be), you’d be surprised at how much more efficient your data centre can be with an organised space.
An important part of tidying up your storage facility is sorting out your cabling system. Getting the various cables on hand—regardless of their weight and size—can cause quite a bit of chaos if they are not properly managed. Poorly structured cabling not only puts these cables physically in the way potentially causing accidents, but also limits air flow, contributing to the inefficiency of the data centre’s cooling infrastructure.
Practice Good Data Hygiene
Given the storage capacity available these days, most enterprises put little thought into the volume and quality of data they store, and more importantly, keep stored. Massive amounts of data from various sources continue to be collected on a daily basis and still, the latest versions of magnetic disc storage can save all these, plus more. While powerful analytics programs make use of this data to generate trends from which informed decisions can be made, it’s worthy to note that not all data can be utilised.
Even with the increased adoption of data-driven systems, processes, and marketing campaigns, a Gartner study revealed that up to 40% of business initiatives fail to achieve their targeted goals due to poor, inaccurate data. Implementing best practices for data hygiene can help organisations discard redundant, outdated, and trivial content, and in the process, free up valuable storage space and computing resources.
Manage Your Equipment’s Lifecycle
The ability to manage the lifecycle of equipment is a huge part of the data centre professional’s job. And there is a lot of hardware to keep track of: servers, power supply equipment, cooling systems, and more. It’s easy to neglect the upkeep of any one of them until they run into problems or just simply stop running. Now that is one scenario that you would want to avoid at all costs.
With the shift to digitalization in this ongoing pandemic, added workload and stress has been placed on existing IT infrastructure in data storage facilities everywhere. But while equipment would go through the inevitable wear and tear, a prudent asset lifecycle management policy maximizes the hardware’s efficiency and prolongs its usefulness.
Utilise DCIM Tools
Proper implementation of the best practices discussed above would entail complexity and costs even the most experienced IT teams would find overwhelming. It’s a good thing that there are now tools that can help simplify the complex process that is managing the data centre. A Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool is software solution that helps in managing and optimising infrastructure such as servers, storage, cooling, and power systems.
DCIM applications also assist data centre administrators in measuring and monitoring the utilisation and energy consumption of all these IT hardware. Having been initially designed as a component of building information modeling (BIM) software, DCIM tools even allow operators to create schematic diagrams of buildings and print these out, making them very useful for physical maintenance of equipment and installation of new hardware.
Ensuring Business Continuity with Data Center Management
Ultimately, the goal with improving data centre operations is to ensure that all data-dependent processes perform as expected. After all, these facilities not only store mission-critical information, but also data that can spur innovation for new products and services. Start implementing these practices then because being able to successfully apply all these brings great rewards—IT infrastructure that promises optimised performance and reduced downtime.