Building Your Own Data Center Management Tool Bag and Creating Effective Communication9 min read

by | Oct 7, 2015 | Blog

One of the most important management aspects within any environment is the ability to have clear visibility into your data center. This means using not only native tools but ones provided by the data center partner. Working with management and monitoring tools for the workload is very important.

Also important is to have a good view into the physical infrastructure of the data center environment. Data and reporting from these monitoring tools should be made available through a secured portal. With this in mind, administrators working with critical data center systems must use the right tools to have the proper kind of management.

  • Power Monitoring. Always monitor the power consumption rates of your environment. The idea here is not only to know how much power is being used but to make the environment more efficient. Look for ways to save on power based on requirements. For example, certain power-heavy racks may need to be distributed more efficiently, thus saving on power consumption and costs.
  • Cooling Monitoring. Much like power, keeping an eye on cooling is important as well. This can be outlined as part of an SLA or an organization can manually monitor cooling as well. Ensuring that IT systems are running optimally will revolve around how well the environments are controlled.
  • Rack Conditions and Environmentals. Keeping track of the environment variables will help create a more efficient rack design. Some servers will generate more heat while others may need more power. By seeing what system is taking up which resources, administrators can better position their environment for optimal use. Work with a partner who can give you tools looking into the thermal and environmental performance of your infrastructure. Using those tools, an organization can make better decisions on how to build their rack infrastructure.
  • Uptime and Status Reports. Regularly check individual system uptime reports and keep an eye on the status of various systems. Having an aggregate report will help administrators better understand how their environment is performing. Furthermore, managers can make efficiency modifications based on the status reports provided by a data center’s reporting system.
  • A log monitoring platform is always very important. One recommendation is to have a log aggregation tool which collects various server, system and security logs for analysis. This not only creates an effective paper trail, it also helps with infrastructure efficiencies. A good log monitoring system is one of the first steps in designing a proactive, rather than a reactive environment. Many times logs will show an issue arising before it becomes a major problem. Administrators can act on those log alerts and resolve problems at a much steadier pace rather than reacting to an emergency.

As important as monitoring is – it’s also critical to have good personnel communications and actions to resolve issues quickly. A large part of having an effective environment will be the issue resolution practices and partner-to-customer communication. Although a lot of this can be outlined in the SLA; specific issue resolution matters need to be discussed. When designing an issue resolution conversation, it’s important to identify core data center components and then communicate that to the colocation provider. For example, a hard drive within a particular system may take priority over another issue should a simultaneous event occur. In this scenario, the SLA and the business impact analysis (BIA) are used to create a clear plan for resolving issues quickly and in the right order.

There will be instances when a specific problem takes precedence over others due to the nature of the occurrence. Without good communication, the colocation provider may not know which problem to fix first and assign a resource to a lesser important ticket. Share your BIA findings and clearly communicate which data center components need resolution first.

The process of selecting the right provider and right technologies should include planning around contract creation and ensuring that the right management tools are in place. A data center is an important extension to any organization and therefore must be properly managed. Good data center providers will oftentimes offer tools for direct visibility into an infrastructure. This means engineers will have a clear understanding of how their racks are being cooled, powered and monitored. These types of decisions make an infrastructure more efficient and much easier to manage in the long-term.

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman

CTO, MTM Technologies


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