Facebook data center executive Tom Furlong discusses the company's DCIm software during a session Tuesday at the Open Compute Summit in San Jose. (Photo: Rich Miller)

Facebook Taps CA Technologies for Hyperscale DCIM

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Facebook data center executive Tom Furlong discusses the company's DCIm software during a session Tuesday at the Open Compute Summit in San Jose. (Photo: Rich Miller)

Facebook data center executive Tom Furlong discusses the company’s DCIm software during a session Tuesday at the Open Compute Summit in San Jose. (Photo: Rich Miller)

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Facebook once contemplated building its own software to manage its massive data center infrastructure. But after a lengthy review of its options, the company has opted to use software from CA Technologies to track and manage its data center capacity.

The announcement is a significant win for CA, which beat out a dozen companies for the high-profile deal. Facebook will use CA Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software to bring together millions of energy-related data points from physical and IT resources in its global data centers to improve power efficiency.

DCIM software is seen as a key growth sector, as companies struggle to gain control over increasingly complex data center environments. But many end users have struggled to make sense of the DCIM landscape, which is crowded with more than 70 providers selling software to manage the various aspects of data center operations.

One System to Rule Them All

The hope is to find “one system to rule them all,” according to Tom Furlong, VP, Infrastructure Data Centers at Facebook, who discussed the company’s DCIM selection process Tuesday at the Open Compute Summit. Furlong said

“We are on a mission to help connect the world, and our IT infrastructure is core to our success,” said Furlong. “We are continually looking at ways to optimize our data centers and bringing all of our energy-related information together in one spot was a core requirement.”

CA Technologies is a long-time player in the data center software arena that has repositioned itself for cloud computing workloads through a series of acquisitions. CA DCIM provides a web-based centralized solution for monitoring power, cooling and environmentals across facilities and IT systems in the data center as well as managing the use of space and lifecycle of assets which make up the data center infrastructure.

Intensive Vendor Reviews

Facebook conducted an intensive DCIM vendor review process. CA was one of a dozen considered and completed a proof-of-concept, followed by a more extensive pilot in a 100,000 square foot section of Facebook’s data center in Prineville, Oregon. data center. This type of field test is a critical step in evaluating a DCIM vendor solution, Furlong said.

“You have to figure out a way to try it before you buy it,” he said.

CA then worked with Facebook to create a custom solution.

“Facebook’s IT team can now bring this energy-related data into their broader DCIM system for an even more complete view of overall system status.  said Terrence Clark, senior vice president, Infrastructure Management, CA Technologies. “They can then analyze all of the data in aggregate to make decisions to improve efficiency and reduce costs, while delivering a seamless customer experience and creating new opportunities for innovation.”

Data Quality Matters

Facebook’s overall data center management strategy integrates several in-house tools, including Cluster Planner (used in deploying entire clusters) and Power Path, which provides data on electric consumption at many points within the data center.

Despite its intense focus on data collection and management, the DCIM review process presented challenges and learning experiences, Furlong said.

“We learned how important data quality can be,” said Furlong. “You need to look at every single facility in nauseating detail. At the scale we’re at, you can miss stuff.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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