November 20, 2012
By - Khaled Nassoura, PE, General Manager, DCIM Software of Raritan
As we meet with companies around the world - from small, to midsize, to large enterprises - we’re struck by the similarities of the difficulties they share in managing their data centers.
If we had to pick one, over-arching description of the common problem, it’s this:
Knowing the physical, logical relationships that tie all their data center assets together as well as how these assets are tied to the infrastructure that supports them.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you would like to know the impact an infrastructure element such as a circuit breaker or a network switch port may have, upstream, on the servers that are connected to it. Furthermore, you’d like to know what applications are running on these servers and what departments or business units are being supported by these applications. These are the questions that become very difficult to answer “on the fly” when you have an urgent need to understand those dependency mappings.
Many of these data centers especially in the financial sector simply cannot afford to have any downtime. They must resolve any problems very quickly. This requires complete visibility into their systems and the infrastructure that supports their systems. For a data center manager, understanding the relationships between the assets and the infrastructure – dependency mapping – is extremely important.
A very important topic in data centers today is capacity management and capacity planning.
Capacity planning is a simple as arithmetic. It is the total provisioned infrastructure minus the consumed resources and infrastructure. The total provisioned infrastructure in the data center is usually very static can be documented relatively easily by the architects and engineers who designed and built your data center. That’s the total size of your data center – how much power you have available; how many network switches and ports you have; how many power strips you have; how much power you have available to every rack; all of this is static information.
What’s very difficult to get a handle on is the number of resources that are in use at any point in time. That is a very dynamic set of information, and you can only get a handle on it if you have a system that can look at your data center from a holistic point of view and keep track of what goes in and out, what resources are in use, what’s connected and what’s disconnected.
So for data center managers to know the available data center capacity at any point in time, they must know the total provisioned infrastructure, which is relatively static, minus what’s in use at any point in time, which is very dynamic.
Without a DCIM solution, it’s impossible to get an immediate handle on these dynamic changes in the data center. Data center mangers don’t have the tools to easily track network and power connectivity. And if they don’t track the connectivity that means they don’t track those infrastructure resources that are in use at any point in time. Manual tools such as spreadsheets and Visio cannot keep track of this very dynamic set of information. Even data center management software tools that do not incorporate good connectivity management practices do not enable data center managers to accurately calculate their data centers’ capacity.
Raritan can help. Raritan’s DCIM solution is unlike any other and offers: