Dr. Peter Vancorenland is Chief Technology Officer for RF Code.
Moving a data center from one location to another is nothing short of a daunting task. Even the relatively “simple” undertaking of relocating or replacing equipment within a facility can be fraught with error. When hundreds or even thousands of components begin their journey during a push/pull migration or across the raised floor, a multitude of potential crises have to be managed: assets might break as they’re disassembled or installed at the new location incorrectly, critical elements might get lost or stolen, or unexpected delays can cause additional downtime in violation of SLA’s. There are a wealth of variables to account for.
The only good news is that these are challenges that every data center operator has had to face and there are a variety of best practices to help minimize costly mistakes, most notably the utilization of real-time asset management solutions.
Ideally, prior to the move or replacement of any data center equipment, the facility will have a reliable and responsive asset management system in place. After all, if you’re swapping out damaged electronics, it’s critical to have a solid grasp on the inventory available when a fix on the fly has to be made. Alternatively, when there’s time to plan an equipment upgrade or data center migration, the ability to know exactly where all of the deployed and stored assets are will make the process a great deal faster and smoother, which is good in terms of staff workload and payroll as well as keeping your customers happy with uninterrupted uptime.
While asset tracking strategies and technologies have evolved with the rest of the data center industry, there are still operators that employ manual auditing procedures as part of their ongoing operations. As noted in a recent study by Intel and Siemens, “…..1 in 5 data center managers are still relying on manual processes to perform jobs that could be minimized or automated through innovative software solutions…….with more than half still using a hybrid of software and manual checking when assessing data center health.” This causes a host of problems when moving data center assets within the facility or to a new one, among them:
- The systems are difficult to maintain
- They are so error-prone that a certain level of inaccuracy is simply accepted
- The lack of real-time data makes the information on asset locations a suggestion instead of a certainty
- Manual auditing is a time intensive and monotonous task, which means that it is often not made a priority, further compromising accuracy
In a data center that utilizes a real-time asset management solution, the same benefits apply to the owner/operator whether installing a new server to replace one that just went down or conducting a larger migration:
- Reductions in time of deployment because the location of assets are always known with confidence
- Increases in uptime as fixes can be made faster and migrations smoother
- Greater asset utilization
- Decrease in rates of repair as modifications to equipment are well-documented
- Faster and more accurate audits, which frees staff for other maintenance and projects
- Reductions in missing or stolen assets
Ultimately, all of these advantages equate to happier customers, whose information and applications are readily available on your servers, have the confidence that you’ll be able to scale quickly with them if need be, know that their critical information is secure, and enjoy your competitive rates as your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) has decreased with the use of a real-time automated asset management system.
The modern data center is only as useful as the speed at which it operates. There simply isn’t room for delays and downtime when making a repair or migration due to the use of outdated asset tracking methodologies. In an increasingly data-driven world, solutions that provide real-time information benefit us all, from the data center, its customers, and ultimately the consumers at the end of the chain.
Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.
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