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Why is data center monitoring important to effective data center management?

Data center management is tasked with keeping a finger on the pulse of an environment that is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage and an environment that is becoming much more critical to the survival and competitiveness of the enterprise. The goal of data center monitoring is to provide an IT view into the data center facility to provide an accurate real-time picture of the current state of the critical infrastructure.

A primary concern for IT management is choosing how to correctly size the overall data center infrastructure. This choice requires accurate and complete data and intelligent interpretation of this data, where under-provisioning of infrastructure means costly downtime, and over-provisioning means millions of dollars wasted. Data center monitoring provides IT management with access to capacity information that can more accurately predict future requirements. Energy efficiency can also be improved by consistently monitoring the impact of infrastructure changes using accurate real-time data.

The data center infrastructure is a rapidly-evolving entity that contains hundreds or even thousands of devices from a wide range of manufacturers. Each piece of equipment must be understood - whether it is functioning well on a day-to-day basis, how it fits into and supports the overall environment and how the environment and the applications and systems it supports will be impacted if it fails. Thousands of alerts from all of this data center equipment must be sifted through to get a true understanding of the environment and to make good decisions about changes that need to be made.

Why are the benefits of data center monitoring?

Optimized Infrastructure with Data Center Monitoring

Data center monitoring provides real-time data to accurately depict the current power and cooling use, allowing data center management to do a better job of optimizing their infrastructure. Right-sizing (correctly sizing the equipment to support the data center load without over- or under-provisioning) to the load has the greatest impact on savings in electrical consumption. According to industry studies, up to 38% in savings can be realized.

Data center monitoring also helps to improve energy efficiency by more accurate measurement of power consumption and environmental conditions. Data center monitoring provides real-time values for key data center metrics such as power and cooling, helping IT managers to move toward a green data center. One of the key energy efficiency recommendations from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is for companies to get a handle on data center energy consumption by measuring and reviewing key power metrics. One of the metrics used today by organizations such as The Green Grid and The Uptime Institute is the energy efficiency of the data center, which measures the amount of energy consumed by IT loads versus the total energy load of the data center. Analysis of these metrics over time is the best way to determine power consumption needs and whether or not energy reduction goals are met.

Data Center Monitoring Improves Availability

Data center monitoring can provide a single view of alerts and real-time data for IT management. Centralized event logging allows management to make timely, critical decisions in response to potential disruptions. The ability to quickly resolve critical issues in the data center can save millions of dollars in potential lost revenue.

Data center monitoring, coupled with intelligent alarm processing, can provide warning of potential disruptions before they occur. The cost of downtime continues to climb, with some industries approaching $3 million per hour in lost revenue due to downtime. Data center monitoring can improve system availability by providing valuable insight into potential problems and also helping to quickly pinpoint issues when they do occur, allowing quicker resolution of the problem.

Data Center Monitoring in Capacity Planning

Data center monitoring provides real-time data that can help optimize infrastructure resources to match business demands. Real-time measured loads allows data center management to better size the data center equipment to extend the life of existing data centers. With new data centers costing $100 million or more, extending the life of an existing data center can result in considerable savings.

The value of capacity management revolves around a resource utilization argument. Over-provisioning costs the organization in underutilized or unused resources. Under-provisioning results in failures to meet SLAs, disruptions in service (downtime), the added cost of using co-location or hosting facilities or “rush” charges in provisioning new resources (or building a new data center