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Do you want your data centre to be more ‘Rick’, or ‘Morty’?

(Image credit: Image Credit: Scanrail1 / Shutterstock)

It’s the smash cartoon for adults with cutting-edge technology, computing, and data crunching - even though it's all in the background to Rick’s madcap schemes. Surprisingly though, the business can learn some technology infrastructure management tips from the Adult Swim TV series. Some lessons might be ‘how not to do it’, of course...

The average data centre might be a microverse unto itself, rotating around a pole of its own SLAs and serving a central, massive black hole: The needs of the business. But rather than needing Rick’s space cruiser, the data centre manager needs other ways of gaining insights into the secrets of this universe. Rick can rely on his innate genius (and questionable morals), but for the rest of us we have other tools to make our dramatic changes to business needs and manage technology in a truly schwifty manner.

Zombies!

Generally, this innate genius is bought in, and comes in the guise of data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) software. Just as Rick knows so much about the multiple planets and species of the other beings out in the wider universe, DCIM can find, understand, and relay information on the state of all the assets in the organisation that connect to the network. This gives a god-like power to those in charge of enterprise technology assets - allowing them to understand the health, security, compliance, efficiency and effect on the wider ecosystem of each element. Whether it’s zombie servers (and just like the mutants in Rick Potion #9) that need to be taken out before they ruin the health of the data centre or unclean laptops that pose a compliance risk for not meeting regulatory requirements - it’s the magic of DCIM that presents that omnipotent view of what is happening where on the network. Allied with a SAM solution (that’s software asset management), then the pair and double team, like Rick and Morty themselves, to seek efficiencies on hardware and software together.

Vampires!

Just like Coach Feratu at Morty’s Harry Herpson High School, there are vampires lurking everywhere. In the enterprise, this might be vampires that suck energy, and leave the facilities power budget feeling drained and exsanguinated.

Banishing the energy vampire takes skill and the right tools. Just like Van Helsing, Tiny Rick used wooden stakes. But here again DCIM usually helps support the slaying, allied with automation: Gathering the data from individual machines is a fools’ errand, like getting Mr Meeseeks to help you out. If you’re looking at each individual ‘tree’, you won’t find the energy vampire lurking in the woods.

Energy vampires drain operational cost through power consumption keeping them alive past their years when they are not needed. Enterprises can find other uses for that budget.

The best at what it does - according to itself…

Rick Sanchez might be the most Rickiest of all Ricks according to himself and the Council of Ricks, but does that mean that he’s operating effectively. I think everyone would agree that there might be better ways for him to get through life without being so… so ‘Rick’.

You might say that he’s over-provisioned with Rickness. He can get through life because he’s so full of the essence of Rick. Sometimes enterprise technology managers and data centre operators are similarly overconfident because they have over-provisioned their resources. It means that everything runs well, but at a high cost. In Rick’s case, it’s that everyone thinks he’s obnoxious. It’s fairly clear that he’s not operating at peak efficiency even though he’s full of brains and crazy energy. If he dialled down the bad behaviours he’d be able to do more with less. Technology managers take note - over-provisioning is obnoxious and wastes money on a showcase asset that outstrips the others, and may burn out faster. Consider the whole ecosystem rather than make one piece a star.

Submit to the will of the council!

Any organisations who, like Rick, like to ‘fly by the seat of their pants’, will struggle to comply. Really, they need a Morty mind-set, and play it safe to understand the lay of the land, and how and where customer data is being stored and handled. As the majority of customer data is processed via on-premise or cloud-based servers, and accessed across the network, IT infrastructure teams must know where each packet of customer data is and how it’s being accessed, otherwise organisations could be in violation – and as we know, a trip to the Citadel of Ricks is never a pleasant visit for Rick Sanchez version C-137.

Compliance legislation like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation are important to adhere to. Beyond financial penalties, they exist to help bring up the standards of organisations to better serve customers, their own staff, and their societies. Some laying down of the law is important. In terms of GDPR, it provides explicit definitions on personal data, how it can be used and how it should be protected and managed, both within business processes and physically at the IT asset level.

Mark Gaydos, CMO, Nlyte