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EXTENDING DCIM TO FILL TODAY’S DATA CENTER CAPACITY APPETITE

Can a smarter approach to capacity management help organizations avoid unnecessary expenditure?
23 June 2014 by CA Technologies SVP software engineering and DCIM evangelist Dhesi Ananchaperumal
Extending DCIM to fill today’s data center capacity appetite
Dhesi Ananchaperumal
“Please Sir, can I have some more?” It’s a classic line from a classic book. And it’s just as relevant to a 21st century data center as it was to a 19th century workhouse.
Everyone has an appetite for more when it comes to the data center. The business wants more compute resource. The IT department wants more rack space and the facilities team wants more power.
To satisfy this constant hunger, many organizations end up embarking on costly data center expansions and constructions.
But this could all be about to change. A leading analyst firm has found that large enterprises with definitive strategic plans for their data centers are more likely to consider DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) a top investment priority in 2014.
This is because many data center expansion initiatives could be avoided if organizations made better use of their existing resources. For example, it’s estimated that up to 90% of a server’s capacity is sitting idle. And for every under-utilized server, there’s a space and energy price to be paid.
A chain reaction
By maximizing the utilization of one data center resource, everything else in the capacity chain will follow.
For example, when one of our customers found that their overall server utilization rate was stuck at 20%, they embarked on an assessment to remap its virtual machines to more optimum clusters. 
By increasing server utilization rates to around 40%, the customer discovered they could achieve a three-year cost savings of US$3.7m by avoiding hardware refresh costs and $1.7m from energy efficiencies.
To achieve such savings and manage capacity across the entire data center, organizations must have visibility across the entire data center.
Converged Capacity Management can provide that visibility by integrating capacity management across both IT and facilities resources – from compute, I/O and storage to power, space and cooling.
It can even extend beyond the doors of corporately-owned data centers to provide a unique insight into total capacity on-premise and off-premise. This will not only help organizations sate today’s appetite for more but also plan for tomorrow.
The ability to forecast future demand is fundamental – especially for managed service providers and colocation providers where the data center is their business.
With end-to-end visibility of capacity, organizations will be able to answer critical operational and strategic questions such as: Do we need to buy another UPS? Do we need to extend our rack space? Do we need to build a new facility?
Instead of over-sizing their data center, organizations will be able to right-size based on an accurate picture current capacity and future needs.
This will not only avoid unnecessary expenditure but also accelerate the provisioning of new workloads.
United on all fronts
With everyone battling for a slice of the data center pie, people can become just as divided as resources.
A converged approach to capacity management can also help unite the two sides of the data center operation: IT and facilities.
With a single view of data center resources, IT and facilities will be able to identify any gaps in the capacity chain and work together to fix them.
I’ve seen this work at numerous organizations, where better capacity management tools have also liberated teams from a time-consuming cycle of spreadsheets and manual reporting.
With these tools providing end-to-end capacity management capabilities as part ongoing data center management, IT and facilities can proactively manage resources without the need for dedicated in-house experts.
So next time when someone asks “Please Sir, can I have some more?”, IT and facilities departments will be able to give the right answer. And the same answer.
The opinions expressed in the article above are those of the author and do not reflect those of Datacenter Dynamics, its employers or affiliates.

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