Five steps to improve data centre performance in 2019

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EkkoSense’s chief technology officer, Stu Redshaw

Much more accessible data centre infrastructure management (DCIM), tighter ‘edge’ integration, fully-sensed data centre environments, ditching subjective optimisation insights and greater input from other sectors are all set to unlock significant bottom line benefits in the next 12 months, according to EkkoSense’s chief technology officer Stu Redshaw.

“We believe there are multiple innovations that are ready to generate real advantages for data centre operators this year – particularly given the fact that even the best run data centres still have considerable cooling and thermal issues,” he says. 

“With cooling now representing around 30% of a data centre’s operating costs, it is more important than ever for IT teams to focus on monitoring, managing and maximising their data centre performance as effectively as possible.” 

The five key data centre optimisation trends identified by EkkoSense for 2019 are:

Availability of DCIM for the rest of us Effective data centre infrastructure management is a key requirement, so why do most traditional DCIM suite solutions seem to make it so hard? This year will see an increased focus on more accessible approaches that are simpler to use and that directly address the requirement to have all the right cooling, power and space strategies in place. So, if you are uncomfortable with over-complex DCIM or consultancy-led CFD approaches, you really do not have to go down the DCIM route when there are equally effective software as a service- (SaaS) powered solutions available that can now give you all the control you need to monitor, manage and maximise your data centres.

Greater focus on ‘edge’ integration Maximising your data centre performance is not truly achievable until you have successfully integrated all your operations – including all your different ‘edge’ micro and modular data centre activities. All too often, advanced M&E capacity planning and simulation capabilities have remained the preserve of the largest data centre halls and facilities. 

There is no excuse for this to remain the case in 2019, particularly as features such as SaaS access, wireless sensing and mobile network access let you apply the same best practice optimisation standards to all your data centre operations.

Fully-sensed data centres become a reality Only when data rooms are carefully mapped with all the appropriate data fields can operations teams gain a real-time understanding of their data centre performance. 

To do this properly, EkkoSense estimates that more than 1,000 sensors are required for the typical data centre, enabling the measurement of a range of previously unknown factors including energy usage, heat outputs and airflow (above and below floors). 

Until recently this used to be a problem, due to the market cost of sensors. However, the introduction of low-cost Internet of Things-enabled wireless devices has changed the cost dynamic making new levels of sensing achievable.

Beyond subjective data centre performance optimisation judgements 

While data centre experts are able to build up a mental picture of the dynamic behaviour of any cooling system over time, the critical nature of today’s data centre operations means that cooling is just too important an issue to leave to the subjective judgement of expensive consultants. 

Having access to increasingly granular rack-level data provides operators with exactly the sort of data platform that is needed for true software-enabled real-time decision-making and scenario planning. 

Learning from other sectors to secure new insights into infrastructure management

Some of the challenges we are facing in the data centre and other built environments can be better addressed if we are smart about using innovations from other sectors. 

At EkkoSense, for example, 3D data centre visualisation, immersive VR/AR engine and room builder capabilities draw directly on the latest gaming technologies. 

It is also learning from the geospatial data sector to help its customers populate their advanced data centre models by using advanced Lidar-enabled spatial mapping equipment. 

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