Trends in Automation: The Lights Out Data Center

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of going "Lights Out" in your data center? You might want to attend the session led by data center artchitect Jamie Fogal, of CareTech Solutions, at Orlando Data Center World next month, to find out more about the benefits and risks involved in becoming fully automated.

Colleen Miller

September 18, 2014

3 Min Read
Trends in Automation: The Lights Out Data Center

The "Lights Out" data center concept has been around for quite some time, with Data Center Knowledge reporting HP's plans to move to "Lights Out" in 2006 and AOL's launch of "Lights Out" facilities in 2011.

However, the practice has not filtered out to the smaller data center or colo space in a widespread fashion. Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of "Lights Out"? You might want to attend data center architect, Jamie Fogal, of CareTech Solutions, session at Orlando Data Center World next month.

Data Center Knowledge asked Fogal about his thoughts about the trend.

"I think that as we look at trends, many of the “lights out” goals of colo providers and data center organizations revolve around becoming more green and managing power utilization," he said.

Speaking personally, he added, "Our goals in the “lights out” spectrum are two-fold. The first is an obvious opportunity to decrease our consumption of power. The second is the improved experience for our clients. It’s not just coincidental that the two goals can be achieved with one initiative. As a colo provider in the healthcare space, we are always facing the challenge of adding more value to our current offerings.

"As part of our data center services portfolio, we wanted to offer a colocation service that returns control to our clients in a way that provides the insight and functionality of an on-site facility, while employing our best practices in infrastructure design and environmental controls. In this way, our DCIM monitoring solution allowed us to deliver greater visibility and control than our clients had previously experienced. At the same time, we are able to bill them based only on their actual power usage rather than billing for the complete circuit."

Like all slightly different approaches to the traditional data center set up, there are risks and opportunities to consider.

Fogal said, "I think there are unique advantages in the space of colocation providers to create a data center experience that is more of an extension to the client’s in-house operations rather than creating a separation of the control they would otherwise be accustomed to."

However there could be risk in complacency or over-reliance on automation, he noted. "The risks in creating a true “lights out” facility lie partially in the fact that people eventually become reliant autonomy of the data center. After all, most of the time everything runs very smoothly without any cause for alarm," he said.

"This consistent reliability can result in employment of a scaled back workforce or one that has a lesser skill set in data center management. In some cases, I’ve seen the afternoon and midnight shifts of a 24/7 data center left to a security guard with no real knowledge of the facility other than the ingress and egress processes he/she is expected to enforce."

Discuss Trends in Automation

Want to explore this topic more? Attend the session on “Flip the Switch on Your Lights-Out Colo Facility with DCIM Real- Time” or dive into any of the other 20 trends topical sessions curated by Data Center Knowledge at the event. Visit our previous post, Future Data Center Trends.

Check out the conference details and register at Orlando Data Center World conference page.

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