April 13, 2012
Over the past fifteen years or so the Federal government has nearly quadrupled the number of data centers it operates. These centers have been using less than half of their compute power despite the additional costs for infrastructure, real estate and energy which have rapidly become more expensive and unsustainable.
The Federal Data Center Consolidation’s goal is to shut down data centers the government does not need and consolidate and optimize the ones that remain to be more efficient by reducing the overall energy and real estate footprint of government data centers. This initiative also includes increasing the IT security in these data centers given the almost daily reports of cyber-attacks we hear about, let alone the ones we don’t.
Federal CIOs were required to submit final their Data Center Consolidation Plans in 2011. Each agency’s consolidation approach, rationale and timeline were established. Almost every agency has many departments under it and each of these departments has their own IT assets. With this in mind, how does a specific department within an agency track its assets, track power consumption and accurately make additions, moves and deletions to their infrastructure given that now they are in a very large data center with many other departments under the same agency?
A solid Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool is the answer. These tools can track all the data on each data center device or item. This data includes power consumption at the branch circuit, rack or PDU level as well as information on when the equipment was purchased, what version of firmware it’s running, when the warranty expires and, most importantly, what rack it’s in and if it’s really there.
DCIM is an excellent tool given the number of contractors that tend to come and go during the course of a data center support contract. DCIM can also serve as a terrific source of “knowledge transfer” for when a change of management occurs or a new contractor comes on board, so the new team knows what they are inheriting in the data center.