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The Raritan Blog

5 Reasons to Prioritize Rack-Level Management Now

Posted on April 18, 2018 by Rick Gonedes

If you’re an IT leader, you’ve probably made significant investments in data center management over the past few years. That’s because the success of the organization you serve depends heavily on the technical and economic performance of your data center. So the more digital your organization becomes, the smarter you have to be about how you manage your data center infrastructure.

Chances are, though, that you’ve focused on aggregate management of your data center as a whole. That’s good – but it will only get you so far. To fully optimize the value your business derives from its data center capex and opex, you must aggressively pursue operational excellence at the rack level.

Here’s why:

1. Efficiency pressures. Virtualization, analytics/AI, and other forces are intensifying infrastructure workloads and data center density. At the same time, budget constraints and a limited talent supply prevent you from increasing headcount. So you must increase the efficiency with which you allocate your resources – including rack space, power, cooling, and people-hours.

You can’t achieve that increased across-the-board efficiency with aggregate management alone. You need to quickly see which racks are hot and which are not. You need to pinpoint the root cause of PUE fluctuations. And you need to be able to correlate your data center resource consumption with the underlying business workloads. In other words, you need granular control at the rack level.

2. Economic payoffs. Rack-level data center management delivers significant ROI in multiple ways. Some of the economic payoff comes through the efficiency gains outlined above. Some can come in the form of financial incentives from local electric utilities. There are also quantifiable economic benefits that derive from the downtime and/or stranded capacity you’ll be able to avoid through better rack-level visibility and control.

Cumulatively, these payoffs make investment rack-level excellence more than worthwhile. They can also help fund other worthwhile data center infrastructure initiatives that might otherwise have to be postponed due to capex or opex budget constraints.

3. Security & compliance. Aggregated access controls and audit trails can’t satisfy the intensifying requirements of industry regulators. Whether you’re in financial services, healthcare, retail, or any other business that deals in regulated data, you must be able to demonstrate to auditors highly granular controls over infrastructure access based on the type of data associated with that infrastructure – as well as credibly documented access histories.

You can’t do that with anything more than a log of pass-swipes at your data center’s main door. You must implement rules-based access controls at the rack level. You may also need to deploy video capture at the rack for credible compliance and security forensics.

4. Future-readiness. It may be an over-used business aphorism, but it’s nonetheless true: In a fast-moving game like IT, you must constantly “skate to where the puck is going to be.” Your investment in superior rack-level management should therefore not be driven by current conditions in your data center – but by the future conditions, you can expect in 2019 and beyond. So you’ll want to deploy solutions that can you can count on even as pressures on the datacenter escalate and as you move through multiple future generations of hardware refresh.

Of course, you can put off your rack-level investments until the pain gets great enough. But that would be unwise. Upgraded rack-level management capabilities aren’t especially complex to deploy, but they do require some planning. And you need to complement your investments in rack-level technology with the appropriate integrations and process changes. So the time to get started is now.

5. The ready availability of practical solutions. None of the points above would be relevant to your job if you couldn’t act on them. But you can. Raritan now delivers the solution set you need to quickly and easily implement rack-level power distribution, environmental monitoring, access control/audit, and asset management capabilities that will empower you to improve efficiency, more rigorously secure your environment, and prepare for an ever-more operationally demanding digital future.

For more information about Raritan’s latest rack-level data center offerings, visit here.