With the trend of processing more and more data every day, the management of data centers has become increasingly complex. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is a set of tools that look to fix this problem. These tools can include software programs, computer parts and hardware devices. The most common forms of DCIM are software programs that help reduce infrastructure complexity while pushing status information to monitors and opening alert tickets automatically, making it easier to manage and maintain a data center. DCIM is a game-changer for data centers looking to stay on top of performance management.
There are different programs that help efficiently manage the specific needs that any data center may have. These include services like asset management, network connectivity management, energy management, capacity management and event ticketing and remediation.
These services let the data center actively manage their operating costs as well as how efficiently they use their space, power and cooling resources. They can also be used to alert the facility manager to gaps in the system and to increase the availability of critical systems. Essentially, these programs take massive amounts of data and turn it into something that can be understood quickly and acted upon.
Power Usage Effectiveness
The most important metric when dealing with DCIM, is PUE or “power usage effectiveness.” This measures the effectiveness of how the facility’s power is being used. PUE is the ratio of power used by the whole facility, to power used only by IT equipment. Data centers want to ensure that the right amount of power is being used to operate servers and networks versus cooling and lighting. If this ratio is off, it can alert the facility manager to an inefficiency in power usage.
Two other important metrics are WUE, or water usage effectiveness, when water towers and chillers are used and CUE, or carbon usage effectiveness. These metrics are like PUE in that they measure how efficiently water is being used and how efficiently carbon emissions are being managed.
WUE can signal an inefficiency in the way water is being used by the cooling systems if the workload remains the same, but the ratio changes significantly.
CUE has value to data centers that are looking to be “green.” A data center that relies on alternative energy sources like solar and wind will have a lower CUE than a data center that operates on coal energy, but this metric allows those data centers operating on coal to manage their carbon emissions appropriately. LEED certification has begun to take on a higher priority in the construction of green field builds. LEED is a certification protocol designed to make buildings, data centers included, more energy efficient and environmentally more friendly.
For more information on data center infrastructure management and performance metrics, please contact our team today.