Nowadays, IT plays a vital role in supporting business functions for many organisations. They depend on their data centres to keep their activities going and to come up with new ideas about how to improve them. However a report by research company IDC (International Data Corporation, 2012) suggests that both business operations and innovation may be compromised in the majority of cases (84 per cent). The issues are mainly data centre power, space, cooling capacity, assets and uptime. The consequences can be degradation in customer service, the need to reverse gears on a key application deployment or other impacts on business continuity.
IDC picks out three main reasons why data centre operations are not as good as they could be. The first is a lack of standard data centre management tools; the second is the geographical dispersion of the IT function (the IT staffers) between different branches of the organisation; and the third is inconsistency in the levels of maturity in the data centre. The solution for this ailment is DCIM or Data Centre Infrastructure Management.
Management starts with measurement, but it can’t end there. CA (Computer Associates) who sponsored the IDC study suggests taking the information available about the operating performance of a data centre to apply analytics to it. This is similar to the way that organisations do business intelligence to identify trends, avoid problems and also exploit opportunities.
The data that is fed into the analysis cover IT resources, efficiency and utilisation, as well as service availability and mean time to failure. The outcome should be information to support decisions to make the data centre more cost-effective and generate greater value to the business. But business continuity isn’t the only thing to get a boost. Career continuity can also benefit. As a CA quote from a customer goes, ‘If our data centre becomes more efficient, then we get a pat on the back. If the data centre goes down, we get fired!.’