How to Prevent Your Data Center Costs From Getting Driven Up

Posted by RFC

A big and constant challenge facing data center operators is how to minimize costs and risks while maximizing operational efficiency. Data center costs are in no way limited to the initial layout upfront. There are other major considerations that involve maintenance, power consumption, and deployment of new technology and systems.

The data center is a dynamic environment where nothing stays the same for long. Every upgrade, repair, and service – no matter how small – adds to overall running costs. Regardless of whether a data center estate is in-house, in a colocation facility or delivers cloud services to customers, the focus is on resource optimization, and where better to realize raised efficiencies and lower costs.

The average yearly cost to operate a large data center ranges from $10-$25 million. according to Breaking it down, just under half is spent on hardware, software, disaster recovery, continuous power supplies, and networking. A huge chunk goes to ongoing maintenance of applications and infrastructure, with the rest spent on heating, air conditioning, property, taxes, and, of course, labor costs.

Data center operators are always looking for ways to slash costs without sacrificing services. Here, asset lifecycle management represents one of the quickest ways to deliver cost savings in the data center. Real-time monitoring of assets from the loading bay right through to retirement enables organizations to measure and track data center assets, curbing costs and ensuring financial sustainability.

With spending on data center systems expected to hit $226 billion this year, operators and IT managers need to be able to monitor a dynamic data center environment and have full visibility into the lifecycle of valuable assets, wherever they may be, to control costs.

Use Automated Asset Tracking To Drive Down Data Center Costs

Data Center Costs

Organizations that upgrade to RF Code automatic asset tracking derive value from three core advantages: asset utilization, operational efficiency, and risk mitigation.

When assets are tagged at the receiving area you get smart procurement and more efficient utilization. RF Code helps you buy fewer assets and spend less when you do. Over-investing in hardware to compensate for lost and stolen equipment is a big cost driver for data centers. With real-time data center asset management systems, you get detailed device information including exact locations, specifications, purchase, and maintenance history so you have in-depth information on all your assets and prevent overbuying.

You can achieve better operational efficiency through automated inventory control and reduction of capital at rest. RF Code improves the allocation of resources and eliminates excess expenses. Hiring experienced IT staff is expensive. But very often, valuable data center staff time is wasted on inventory checks, locating missing equipment, or other tasks that have little or nothing to do with their areas of expertise.

Fully automating your inventory and asset tracking systems by leveraging RF Code’s active RFID-powered solutions effectively eliminates the tedious and error-prone manual processes involved in tracking assets in the data center. This way, staff are freed to provide the vital technical support they are trained and hired for.

When it comes to risk mitigation, RF Code ensures asset chain of custody and helps guarantee SLA compliance. The solution protects against loss by securing locations with asset tamper, door access, and live site video.

With RF Code's CenterScape platform, IT asset managers can keep track of what really matters, including location, temperature, and much more. Our continuous asset tracking solution enables IT managers to drastically improve asset management processes, delivering 99+% asset location accuracy across the entire lifecycle of each and every IT asset.

Automatic asset management is a smart and cost-effective solution to get the mission-critical asset tracking information a data center needs to:

  • Maintain audit and regulatory compliance
  • Have 100% inventory accuracy and visibility
  • Ensure optimal use of IT resources
  • Reduce CapEx and OpEx by automating the ability to have accurate asset visibility without incurring manual costs.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth review of the ways in which automated asset management processes directly impact the overall efficiency and profitability of your data center, then our white paper, "Achieving ROI through Automated Physical IT Asset Tracking," is essential reading.

Have Real-Time Data On Your Assets And Their Environmental Conditions

asset management

If you have outdated information on your assets, that’ll cost you... quite a lot, in fact. If leakages and overheating, for example, are not detected in time, or worse, go undetected, it could trigger a disastrous domino effect that leads to costly downtime – over $17,000 a minute according to a recent report from the Ponemon Institute.

In addition to preventing costly downtime, real-time environmental monitoring enables data center managers to raise operating temperatures with confidence, resulting in lower PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) and significant energy savings.

Let’s say that a data center lacks real-time monitoring of its assets. In this scenario, traditional monitoring systems may recommend more cooling – one of the main costs for a data center. On the other hand, had they used a real-time environmental monitoring solution, staff would have been able to see the server temperatures more precisely. Then they could operate the data center with less cooling and less expense.

It’s not only temperature. Other critical data you need to have readily available include oversight on maintenance schedules and dependencies of systems along with humidity and pressure. IT employees should be able to pull up this information instantly. These and additional data enable smarter choices for maintenance and planning.

RF Code’s solutions give you real-time oversight throughout your assets’ entire lifecycle. You can quickly detect leaks and other issues before they morph into full-blown crises. Armed with this information, you can continually trim the fat instead of having your data center costs spiral out of control. Plus, the accurate information that real-time environmental monitoring provides on a facility’s performance enables you to raise efficiencies in regular operational areas so you can drive down costs even further.

As data centers become increasingly critical components of the global economy, they must become more manageable through instant insights into operating conditions and costs. Out-of-date information can insidiously cost data centers millions of dollars. You want to have real-time insights into your assets and environmental conditions to avoid your data center costs escalating.

Measurements Are Key

Measuring data is key to monitoring and managing assets. Data centers on average blow nearly half of their total cost of ownership (TCO) on cooling, much of which is unnecessary. Power use is intensifying as more computationally intensive workloads like artificial intelligence become more widespread. To rein in this booming energy demand without degrading services will require more intelligent asset tracking, plain and simple.

With RF Code’s monitoring tags, you simply peel off the protective layer then stick the sensor on equipment. It transmits real-time information to the CenterScape platform allowing for accurate assessment of environmental conditions. Then you can tune your data center and start saving.

Instant information and trend reporting let data centers adjust their power use for cooling, a major expense that can double or even triple a server’s TCO. Organizations can safely extract the most computation out of a given amount of electricity, spending less money per operation.

As additional benefits, a more refined measurement of the data center environment can assist in handling hot spots, power failures, overheating servers, and other infrastructure problems. It’s like having a team working around the clock to test and measure the execution of IT operations. And since these functions are automated, you don’t have to pay their salaries!

And for those disasters where entire systems go down, be it from natural disasters, equipment malfunction, or other causes, real-time monitoring saves the day. Technicians may be able to quickly switch to an alternative power source, for instance, to prevent the servers from going offline. Outages can cost over a million dollars, so, it goes without saying that any preventive measures help.

IBM, HP, and other tech giants have already harvested huge savings from real-time environmental monitoring, and the consensus is unanimous... real-time asset management is essential if you want to drive down data center costs. And indications are that we’re only going to see more data centers get onboard.

Real-Time Data Cuts Operating Costs

A substantial amount goes into maintaining the electricity and other resources at a data center. Real-time monitoring lowers data center power and operating costs, with active RFID tags generating live data on temperature, power, and other metrics. This allows you to rein-in spending by adjusting conditions.

For example, with precise information on temperature, you can decrease your spending on unnecessary cooling. Power is a big operational expense for data centers, and cooling represents a huge portion of that power consumption. By eliminating unnecessary cooling costs, data centers stand to save millions.

With real-time monitoring, you can also maintain a handle on humidity more efficiently, and buy new equipment only when absolutely necessary. You can detect things like coolant or water leaks before they ruin equipment, preventive measures that render some purchases downright unnecessary.

Moreover, if a server or any other hardware fails and you’re tracking things manually, you won’t know about it until a technician notices or a customer complains. That costs a lot more, in time, money, and reputation than having an instant alert that lets you replace the equipment with minimal downtime.

Even if a piece of equipment hasn’t failed yet but isn’t performing optimally, real-time monitoring will alert you about this unused capacity. You can then rearrange the data center to reduce unnecessary expenses such as real estate and replacement hardware. You’ll have the information to break through these difficult-to-see situations and make your operations more mean and lean.

Use Active Instead of Passive RFID

Active RFID

While any upgrade to radio frequency identification (RFID) automated asset tracking marks an improvement over manual methods, it’s perhaps useful to point out the differences between the two categories of RFID: active versus passive.

Active RFID tags include their own power on each asset tag, unlike passive RFID. This adds some upfront cost but yields long-term savings. The onboard functionality allows active RFID to produce an ongoing series of status reports, thus automating the process of asset tracking. Automation is the secret sauce that enhances asset utilization, risk mitigation, and operational efficiency.

The initial investment may put off some organizations until they see the lower TCO of active technology. While the active tags cost several dollars more than passive tags, which can total tens of thousands of dollars for a large data center, the active tags’ far greater accuracy more than compensates by enabling nearly a million dollars of savings per year on audits and reconciliation. How does this work? Active has an astounding 99.8% accuracy and offers instant reporting on all assets, unlike passive RFID.

RF Code's active RFID asset sensors are attached to each IT asset and enable automated IT asset management throughout the asset's entire lifespan, from the loading dock to deployment, to asset disposal. RF Code’s wire-free, easy to deploy environmental sensors provide the visibility and granularity you need to fine-tune the data center environment.

Passive RFID requires workers to scan the tags, so it isn’t as efficient. The automation of active RFID unlocks cost savings compared to passive, with greater savings for larger data centers. Huge enterprises like Cisco favor active tags for their reduction of unnecessary work. Any size business can benefit, however.

When you install active RFID, you suddenly have complete and real-time recon on all your assets. The system can report to you instantaneously on any modifications. You can have alerts sent to IT staff, or even feed the information directly into your other data center management software. This streamlines infrastructure management, and again, prevents costs from creeping up.

Active RFID quickly surpasses passive in terms of return on investment (ROI). The more functional active technology easily outperforms the passive version with superior accuracy and consistency. You’ll spend far less on replacement servers with active tracking. Additionally, passive tags require handheld readers, and more importantly, the costly time of employees. The goal is automation, and active RFID easily achieves this goal by producing detailed, valuable, real-time asset management data. Passive tags don’t.

Keep Costs Down With RF Code

For enterprise data centers, co-lo, and edge locations, you can keep IT asset costs under control by using RF Code solutions. Save potentially millions by improving asset utilization, risk mitigation, and operational efficiency.

RF Code’s asset management and environmental monitoring solutions combine powerful data center management software, tightly integrated with a dedicated reader infrastructure and active RFID asset location and environmental sensors into a complete, end-to-end solution.

This efficient combination of sensors, readers, and software delivers the accurate and instant operational data you need to make the decisions that safeguard your data centers while saving time and money.

Our CenterScape platform ties it all together. Designed with an emphasis on flexibility, CenterScape is an open platform, featuring APIs that facilitate easy integration with many other solutions utilized in the data center space, including DCIM, ITSM, and BMS services. And as your data center needs grow, CenterScape’s architecture allows for rapid scaling, particularly in global deployments.

With real-time information on your data center, you can predict and prevent mishaps, raise efficiencies, drive down costs. To discover how RF Code’s asset management and environmental monitoring solutions can save you time and money while ensuring accountability and compliance, schedule a demo today.