Make your data energy efficient

Datacentres began to grow in importance during the dotcom boom when organisations began to realise the true potential of the internet. But unlike many of the headline-grabbing online upstarts of that time, datacentres are still here and here to stay.

Regardless of the scale of a datacentre, they will share common issues: an increasing pressure to improve their green credentials for one thing, and a need for CIOs to actually understand that they have and what they are working with for another.

Datacentre consolidation through acquisition or need has also had an impact, to the extent that when firms are pressed to provide details on the exact details of their server performance and footprint, they aren’t always able to. Not because the information is not there, but because they do not know how to access it.

Datacentre infrastructure management­ (DCIM) tools are an important part of the CIO’s armoury, but can, when used corr­ectly, boost server performance, reduce energy consumption and improve an enterprise’s bottom line.

Much of the talk surrounding datacentres today concentrates on the cloud and virtualisation, the less tangible sides of the architecture. But there are other elements that can be overlooked as firms try to do more with their server estate, or indeed less with it, and it is here that DCIM tools come into their own.

Although virtualis­ation and the cloud turn servers into utilities, DCIM looks at them as part of a larger structure, as building blocks if you like, within a much more widespread creation.

DCIM tools and software give a much needed and very finely detailed view across a datacentre, analysing everything from the way that power is being consumed to performance issues and problem hotspots. They can be used to notify users of current performance metrics, but also to predict what impact any changes could make, and can help in identifying where power or systems might be better used.

As well as providing this key information, it can be used to drive down costs, particularly at the moment when rising power costs are an issue for CFOs. Being able to act on this also helps firms meet their own corporate social responsibility objectives.

The number of vendors offering DCIM services, which are pegged as somewhere between datacentre management and fac­ilities management, is predictably large.

In a report released at the end of last year, research firm IDC produced a list of the top 15 players, those firms that it sees as leading the market and offering the best products for enterprises.

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