As we cosy by the tree covered in lights with a warm glass full of spicy mulled wine, the first thought might not be what the top gifts data centre teams could give to the business might be. However, with the demand of online shopping and as the strain on assets flurry like a snowstorm, data centre teams need a full stocking get the business through this busy period without services tipping over.
The Christmas period can bring joy, however, there are a lot of pressures from businesses to end the year on a high and ensure that all ongoing activity is prepped for the New Year - particularly if the company financial year ends at the same time or in March. IT teams are not immune to this stress so to keep the business at ease (and to ensure the team get to enjoy a well deserved time off!) they must deliver impactful results during the rush before the holidays.
The data centre is like tangled bunch of fairy lights, full of blown bulbs and knots. Although this can seem like an impossible challenge to detangle, IT teams can shine like a star by making the centre more efficient (both in time and money), through the automation of routine administrative jobs to make the process more accurate, effective, efficient, and secure.
The data centre whiteout
With the massive expansion of IoT devices, data centres have been experiencing ‘whiteouts’ in visibility with the mass of assets and devices creeping their way down the network ‘chimney’. The only way to clear the ‘snow’ is to endeavour to have full visibility over all assets, software and hardware interacting with the network. To even attempt this manually would make old Chris Cringle chuckle. A modern enterprise network is festooned with sensors, devices, endpoints, and assets.
Data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) is a guiding light for those lost in the storm as it seeks out and reports on the state of all assets and devices connected to the network. This level of visibility can be the north star for the wise men, or IT Managers, as it directs them towards a more efficient way of working and frees up time for higher value activities.
A holistic overview of the network can help teams predict usage and outage trends and plan appropriately. This will fill business leaders with Christmas joy as overspending on workloads or assets and forking out overtime to employees trying to facilitate spikes can become a ghost of Christmas past. An advanced DCIM solution automates this and ensures that capacity is available to satisfy those spiky needs.
Efficiency is the big red bow
There was a time when the data centre mantra was ‘high service levels at any cost’. This attitude has completely changed as budgets are pinched and pressures to stay efficient became data centre managers’ top priority.
Businesses are making a list of naughty and nice data centre managers as they now ask them to report on their approaches and evaluate whether those practices still make sense in the big data and IoT world. Most teams find that existing strategies need improvement resulting in a lump of coal being left at the end of their bed. DCIM can set a baseline for efficiency and then data centre manager can deploy ‘what if’ scenarios and ensure operations are optimised.
Surprise your secret Santa with security
Secret Santa is usually full of comical mugs, inappropriately patterned socks and coffee vouchers. This year, data centre managers should invest in enhanced security to wrap up and give a warm feeling to the business. With the cyberthreat landscape becoming an even more treacherous place, data centres need to improve their security strategies accordingly.
Automation again takes the pressure off of the data centre manager. The visibility provided means there will be no infected or outdated assets lurking underneath the shadows of the Christmas tree. The Grinch (bad actors) won’t ruin the business’ Christmas by stealing all the presents (by which I mean valuable data).
Angels of automation
Looking to 2020, it's clear that automation should be a business priority, and those data centre managers have the opportunity to sparkle by showing off how they’ve already incorporated automation into the data centre, if they’ve opened their presents early.
Tracking and monitoring assets is a never-ending job which could easily take up an entire workday every week for the data centre manager. A good modern solution can automate these types of admin jobs leaving the team to be able to impact the business by using their creativity and innovation on other projects. Any fear of automation stems from the worry of being replaced, but data centre managers can show that are irreplaceable by innovating operations rather than just keeping it running.
The next present beyond this which businesses could eagerly unwrap will be Augmented Reality (AR). AR is making its way into the workplace and the data centre should embrace this technology. It will be the IT team’s little elf assisting them in locating and interacting with the physical management of data centre assets. It could be a massive training boost in a world fighting for small numbers of skilled staff.
The Christmas cracker
DCIM can turn any old Ebenezer Scrooge into a jolly elf as the network is secure, more efficient and helps ensure that business goals are met quickly. As more snowstorms of assets and IoT devices hit the data centre, DCIM offers a beacon of visibility to guide managers through peak times and keep costs low so that the business can stay sustainable.
Mark Gaydos, CMO, Nlyte Software