The Pyramid of Data Center Management Services


A data center, wherever it is, owned by you or owned by a cloud provider, is the foundation upon which any future digital transformation is built. When choosing your IT procurement path, most start with a clear understanding of current and future needs, working with trusted advisors to arrive at the best solution. This is the right way to approach any type of transformation. Businesses today cannot afford to be tied to legacy infrastructure. This is what motivated the migration to the cloud. But performance efficiency starts in the installation itself.

Generally, “software-defined data center” (aka SDDC) is interpreted as “IT”. Data center engineers are used to it, but they would insist that software definition starts in bricks and mortar. Once this is understood, it means that the CIO will be successful in delivering all the capabilities to support the business IT transformation strategy and roadmap.

Data Center Management Services (DCMS), applied to the building, consists of a simple implementation and integration of software suites, processes, procedures and organization that will provide the foundations of software-defined layers.

Having a software-defined data center allows you to measure and manage data across all active components of a data center, end-to-end, including IT, network, applications, and facilities. The real mistake is to consider IT infrastructure or facilities infrastructure as separate elements. Building the bridge between IT and facilities is the answer, and it involves shortening the height of several layers of management.

A suitable DCMS approach is an SDDC foundation. It includes four layers, each addressed through tools, processes, procedures, and organizational components. (Figure 1)

Figure 1. DCMS Integrated Framework

Layer 1 is almost always available: Monitoring and data collection

Even if it is not suitable for DCMS, this layer concerns data center supervision and monitoring tools such as the building management system for installations or IT supervision suites. At this same level is dedicated software that brings intelligence to the distribution layers such as intelligent rack PDU systems or intelligent network cabling systems. This layer also includes the supervision of the middleware composed of virtualization, containerization, network management and database management.

Layer 2: Operations Management

Successful enterprise operations have effectively managed data centers that provide the right level of service and the right capacity at the right time and at a reasonable cost. Without solid knowledge, process, and operational know-how from trained personnel, and with ever-changing processing environments, the large-scale capital that enterprises invest in a data center is unlikely to deliver operational performance. satisfactory.

HPE is unique as a technology provider in that its solutions integrate both technologies and compute and facilities practices. It is positioned to help organizations develop and maintain well-managed data center operations to meet service level objectives. It offers governance rules, operational information and procedures, runbook-based documentation, a staff selection guide and training, and performance metrics for new and existing data centers. HPE takes a systematic, multi-step approach to assess the health of the existing data center, ultimately documenting operations in the DC runbook.

Layer 3: DCIM as key element

The third and main layer is the Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) layer. DCIM systems bridge the gap between IT and facilities management by creating a database of IT assets and facilities that directly relates to space, power and cooling on the power side. installation and computing, storage and networking on the computing side. This enables the system to optimize provisioned infrastructure, accurately and quickly deploy new systems with associated power and network connectivity, and perform accurate capacity planning.

The new paradigm involves managing the data center not only for reliability but also for efficiency. It is difficult to manage what is not measured. Data center reliability and efficiency cannot be maintained without an IT facility integration tool such as DCIM.

DCIM enables energy efficiency because it is a holistic solution that tracks and manages both facilities and IT assets. It also automates the scheduling of new assets and the deletion of old assets. Without it, data center managers must manually query available resources such as rack space, power capacity, network ports, and patch panel ports. This process is labor intensive with real costs. The automatic modeling run analyzes various scenarios to configure the data center and provides real-time results to make intelligent decisions regarding data center optimization.

To enable energy efficiency, static data must be collected, as well as continuous and granular dynamic data from the various data center assets. The DCIM dashboard provides energy benchmarking across multiple data centers. This allows operators to compare energy metrics and understand both challenges and best practices across their different sites. It also enables operators to strategically plan capacity upgrades and IT changes with overall energy parameters in mind, including colocation and cloud deployment decisions.

Layer 4: Data Center Efficiency and Service Portal

This fourth layer will complete the picture of an SDDC-ready system: global data center efficiency is measured, managed, and reported on top of the first three layers of this model.

This includes inventory and asset management, configuration management, capacity management, integration management, smart dashboards and reports, all of which together provide the right information for the right decision at the right stakeholder, as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. Providing the right information to the right person

Having a service portal that will publish data and collect user requests without an integrated DCIM system leads to misuse or “non-use” of the capability of such a system.

better together

Integrating data center infrastructure management into software-defined data center policies has only been commonplace for about 10 years. Previously, IT management and facilities management often clashed, primarily due to disagreement over the domain and the perceived speed of meeting functional needs. DCIM integration has helped facilities and IT teams work together on a common data set so everyone can be better informed.

By connecting DCIM tools to building information systems, data center managers can understand constraints outside the data center itself. Likewise, the facilities team gets a better understanding of what will be required of the facility in terms of power and cooling and can start planning accordingly.

Most organizations still allocate most of the IT budget to “keeping the lights on”. It’s hard to transform your business when you’re struggling to manage and maintain legacy IT architectures, and even harder if you’re not modernizing the data center itself.

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About Munther Salim

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Dr. Munther Salim is a Distinguished Technologist, HPE Pointnext Services Consultant. He focuses on data center green design, energy efficiency and sustainability, as well as data center facility operations consulting. He is an active participant and author in many industry organizations such as Green Grid, 7×24 exchange and ASHRAE. He has also advised a number of governments and government advisory bodies in determining their data center energy efficiency strategies in the context of global goals.

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