The Raritan Blog

The Top Five Data Center Management Challenges

Paula Alves
April 28, 2014

Server Rack

The demand for new on-demand technology services and the cost of deploying and managing them continue to skyrocket.  In order to manage deepening costs, complex deployments, and ensure reliability and uptime, data center managers need access to information and data that isn’t always readily available.  These are the top five challenges data center managers face and how a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution can address those challenges.

Challenge 1: Maintaining Availability and Uptime
If you’re using spreadsheets or homegrown tools to manage your server information, you probably already know the information stored can be outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete.  This can prove challenging when unplanned downtime requires troubleshooting, or when attempting to map the power chain.
A DCIM solution provides a single repository to house your asset information. It enables consistent and accurate record-keeping, and provides instantaneous visual and textual information to reduce the time it takes to locate assets and dependencies, thereby reducing troubleshooting time.
Challenge 2:  Improving Utilization of Capacity (Power, Cooling, Space)
In a dynamic data center it is almost impossible to understand how much space, power, and cooling you have; predict when will you run out, which server is the best for new services, and just how much power is needed to ensure uptime and availability. 
Using a DCIM tool to quickly model and allocate space, manage power and network connectivity are key to discovering hidden capacity while better managing the capacity you do possess.
Challenge 3:  Reporting Reduced Operating Expenses
It’s not enough to implement solutions that reduce operating expenses, you also have to prove it. According to Uptime Institute, “Going forward, enterprise data center managers will need to be able to collect cost and performance data, and articulate their value to the business in order to compete with third party offerings.”
A DCIM solution with dashboard and reporting tools capable of instantly aggregating data across several dimensions allows data center managers to quickly show stakeholders that the data center is moving toward full operational efficiency.
Challenge 4:  Managing Energy Usage & Costs
According to a NY Times article, “Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner…online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock…as a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid.” 
A DCIM solution helps data center managers monitor energy consumption, cycle off servers during off-hours, and identify candidates for consolidation. Environmental sensors can collect information for safely raising temperature set points. It can also help the company to implement an energy billback program that can drive energy-efficient behavior.
Challenge 5:  Improving Staff Productivity
Non-automated or manual systems require facilities and IT staff to spend an extraordinary amount of time logging activities into spreadsheets. This takes away time that can be spent making strategic decisions for the data center and improving service offerings. 
DCIM solutions automate manual processes like workflow approvals and the assignment of technicians to make adds, moves, and changes. This also assists with provisioning and auditing, all while achieving operational savings.