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Intelligent Infrastructure Management: The Best-Practice Platform for Data Centers

Although Intelligent Infrastructure Management (IIM) systems are proven solutions for enhancing visibility and efficiency, the data center industry has been slow to embrace them, writes Tal Harel of RiT Technologies. She gives an overview of why IIM is best practice for the data center.

Tal Harel, Director of Marketing, RiT Technologies Ltd. Tal has over 10 years of international marketing experience helping high tech companies, including RDT Group and Jacada Ltd, to improve pipelines, shorten sales cycles and increase earnings.

Tal-Harel-tnTAL HAREL
RiT Technologies

The complexity and scale of today’s data centers are creating tough management and budgetary challenges for every IT team. Tight space and power constraints, combined with manual tracking methods, are making MACs harder to plan and to execute, assets more difficult to track and documentation all but impossible to maintain; leaving many data centers wondering when – not if - costly errors will occur.

Although Intelligent Infrastructure Management (IIM) systems are proven solutions for enhancing visibility and efficiency, the data center industry has been slow to embrace them. In many cases, this reluctance was due to the fact that prior-generation IIMs could not be deployed without converting the data center from inter-connect topology to a cross-connect topology – a disruptive, costly and potentially risky undertaking.

The availability of next-generation IIMs, such as RiT Technologies’ PatchView+, has however eliminated this concern by working equally well in cross-connect, inter-connect and “mixed” environments, as well as with copper, fiber or “mixed” cabling.

As a result, all data centers can now deploy IIMs in existing data center environments, enabling enterprises to cut operational costs by 20-30% or more, decrease downtime, optimize power and space utilization, accelerate service deployment and enhance security.

This is why many in the data center industry have become advocates of IIM as a best practice platform for bringing manageability, security and controllability to all data centers.

IIM in Brief

The IIM concept is both simple and elegant: it means the continuous monitoring of a “self-aware” network, and power and environmental apparatuses, which together determine network status in real time; used with a central data repository and intelligent processes to streamline and error-proof operations.

These components of next-generation IIM bring efficiency and automation to a broad range of previously-manual tasks, including:

  • Provisioning and Service Deployment: When an IIM takes over provisioning, you can be sure that regional power and cooling limits will never be compromised. The IIM can independently decide where to locate a new blade server, create multi-team work orders, monitor their execution and test the result. With correct and efficient provisioning, human error is slashed, downtime is reduced, productivity is increased and resources are utilized optimally.
  • Fault Management: IIM systems continuously monitor all connections at the patching level, and provide immediate alerts when faults or disconnections are sensed, enabling immediate correction of the problem.
  • IT Asset Management: IT asset management systems continually track each and every device, and can even re-discover lost or “orphaned” equipment. The resulting savings can often more than justify the entire IIM investment.
  • Security: IIMs continuously scan all connections, looking for “suspicious” activities and sending out immediate alerts when irregularities are sensed.
  • Environment and Power Management: IIMs help organizations reduce their power usage, generating significant savings while complying with tough legislation.

Bringing IIM to the Mixed Environment

In the past, IIM technologies required multiple IIM components to be “embedded” into an existing infrastructure: a model that required a transition to a cross-connect topology.

Recent technological advances, however, enable next-generation IIM technologies to uniquely identify every piece of network equipment by means of their existing connectivity components (whether RJ45/copper or LC/fiber) with no need for the addition of extra identification components or layers.

As such, state-of-the-art IIMs, such as RiT Technologies’ PatchView+, are able to provide full monitoring and other capabilities on all types of networks: whether inter-connect, cross-connect or mixed; fiber or cable; with a hierarchical or flat topology; and independent of data transfer rates.

As a system that is separate from any underlying network, the IIM “future proofs” the data center, delivering uninterrupted value as the data center upgrades and evolves its infrastructure.

To further ease the burden of deploying an IIM in a resource-constrained environment, today’s advanced IIMs combine previously-separate scanners, expanders and masters into a single cabinet-mountable box that requires no u-space.

As a result, all data centers, no matter what their current infrastructure or their upgrade plans, can now enjoy the full range of IIM benefits, including improved visibility, streamlined management, automated daily operations, improved planning, enhanced security and optimized overall performance.

IIM Has Multiple Benefits

IIMs are best-practice platforms that reduce operational costs significantly by enhancing ongoing operations, security and scalability. Now that they work equally well in all types of topologies, their usage should be explored by data centers of all sizes and complexities, to maximize visibility, controllability and security, and to enable the full range of DCIM applications.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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