A data center is a complex building. It houses IT and facilities equipment along with office and amenity accommodations. Because of this, its operations touch many categories of areas, and different automated tools and operation techniques are required to manage and run it effectively. It would be great if we had a handful of standards that applied to most components for their management. In reality, it is not so. In general, there are IT and facilities views of data centers and having one single view has been hard. Because of this, IT and facilities have been managed separately, although some attempts have been made to manage them together.
It is necessary to understand the infrastructure of a data center before you can manage it effectively. There are a few classifications given in the area of how data center infrastructure is managed. One informal categorization might be inventory, change, capacity, simulation, and efficiency modeling, although some analysts use more comprehensive categories.
One basic aspect of data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is to measure and monitor what’s happening in a data center. To run a data center effectively, we need to know what’s in the data center (asset management) and how each component is functioning, including its status and consumption of energy (measuring and monitoring). It sounds trivial to add a sensor to each component and poll its condition regularly. We can interrogate and manage each component as well as the aggregate to grasp the entire status of a data center from a dashboard. Describing it at a high level is straightforward and simple, but the devil is in the details.
Recently, I had a chance to speak to Richard Jenkins, VP Marketing of RF Code. RF Code manufactures RF tags and sensors as well as the software to process the data they collect, and markets them as an integrated system. Their solution tracks assets, and monitors the environment around the assets in a data center.