Data centers are complex facilities that house computing infrastructure like servers, storage, networking equipment, and more.
Effective data center management is crucial for organizations that rely on data center operations for business-critical applications and services.
Data center management refers to the people, processes, and technologies involved in operating, monitoring, and optimizing data center environments.
Importance of Data Center Management
With the growth of cloud computing, internet usage, and big data, organizations are increasingly dependent on always-on connectivity and information systems. Any disruption to data center operations can result in significant financial losses, operational inefficiencies, and reputational damage. As such, solid data center management practices are essential for:
- Maximizing data center uptime and availability
- Ensuring efficient use of resources like power, cooling, and space
- Meeting service level agreements (SLAs) for performance and reliability
- Managing costs through improved asset utilization and energy efficiency
- Maintaining regulatory and industry compliance
- Enabling scalability to accommodate growth and change
- Reducing risk of outages through preventive maintenance and monitoring
Data Center Management Responsibilities
Data center management encompasses a wide range of responsibilities including:
Continuously monitoring infrastructure health – like power usage, temperature, humidification, air flow – to identify anomalies and prevent outages.
Analyzing current and projected compute, storage, network capacity to anticipate and prepare for future growth.
Routine maintenance, testing, and break-fix support to maintain uptime.
Data Backup and Recovery
Ensuring data is properly backed up and can be rapidly recovered in the event of failures or disasters.
Managing relationships with vendors that provide data center equipment, software, and managed services.
Implementing controls, procedures, audits to adhere to industry regulations.
Hiring, training, and organizing qualified personnel to execute data center operations and procedures.
Establishing physical access controls and cybersecurity measures to protect infrastructure and data.
Data Center Management Solutions
There are various tools and solutions available to assist with different aspects of data center management:
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Software
DCIM software centrally monitors infrastructure and environments. It provides visibility into resource use and health to enable better planning and maintenance. Leading options include NetZoom, Sunbird, Schneider Electric EcoStruxure IT.
Data Center Facility Management Companies
Outsourced facility management provides on-site resources to handle daily operations – including monitoring, maintenance, troubleshooting. Top providers include Infotera, CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle, Siemens, ABM.
Managed IT Services
Managed service providers (MSPs) offer around-the-clock remote monitoring, management of IT infrastructure and applications based on SLAs. This can augment lean in-house IT teams. Top MSPs include Rackspace, Datapipe, and Navisite.
Cloud Managed Data Center Services
Public cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer comprehensive suites of data center infrastructure management services. These include options for monitoring, security, backup, optimization, and hybrid cloud management.
Effective data center management requires balancing priorities like cost, performance, risk, and business objectives. Organizations should consider their staffing expertise, budget, compliance needs and appetite for outsourcing when developing a data center management strategy.
A hybrid approach combining in-house resources and outsourced services often provides the greatest flexibility and cost-efficiency. As infrastructures scale and technologies evolve, organizations must continuously assess and adapt their data center management practices.