Data Centre Management Software Applications
Complexities such as energy efficiency, virtualization and integration of systems cause organizations to look for intelligent infrastructure management systems. The following highlights key applications which will directly benefit by the installation of Data Centre Management Software.
Increasing energy usage calls for energy efficient solutions to combat energy costs in data centres. A 1MW data centre that uses management software to reduce energy consumption by 10% will typically save £87,000 per year, or £435,000 over five years (not including equipment and software investment).
APC by Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare Energy Efficiency provides customers with detailed insights into the energy usage of their data centres and supporting facilities.
Based on intelligent modelling of the electrical and mechanical topology, the flow and usage of energy through subsystems is analyzed and presented on web-based dashboards. The product enables data centre managers to provide a high level overview of energy usage and costs back to the organization as well as deep insight into where each kW is spent. Up until now, Energy Efficiency has been focused on just identifying PUE, the next step is to understand how to improve the PUE, while at the same time improving the cost of running the data centre.
Virtualization can result in increased rack density, but it also introduces issues that go beyond high density alone and which must be considered in power and cooling systems supporting a virtualized environment.
Effective deployment of virtualization emphasizes the need for an integrated capacity management solution with real-time visibility to the power, cooling and physical space capacities at the rack and server level, to ensure efficient use of resources and to warn of scarce or unusable ones.
APC by Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare Capacity provides automated intelligence and modelling of the physical infrastructure capacities, suggests the best place for adding equipment, as well as simulates the effect of proposed changes and recognizes conditions in time for corrective action to be taken. With this intelligence, virtualization can fulfil its potential for efficiency and business value.
Visibility and Transparency
A fundamental requirement of the modern data centre is visibility and transparency into the complete inventory of the data centre. Knowing exactly where a specific piece of equipment is located is key in order to provide a quick resolution to any problem occurring in the data centre as well as identifying what other equipment could be affected by the problem.
As data centres get larger and more complex, the task of finding a particular device or server tends to get more complicated and time consuming for the data centre manager. This causes higher mean time to repair and less than optimal use of resources.
Until recently, data centre inventory and documentation would be managed in spreadsheets or home-grown databases that were often hard to maintain. These manual methods provided little or no version control and often did not reflect the actual inventory. With the introduction of business regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, data centres are now required to be in compliance with the documentation and audit requirements of these regulations. Failing to comply on a data centre level now puts constraints on the rest of the business.
StruxureWare Operations product allows for registration of all data centre assets, from the switchgear, through UPS, distribution and servers to network cables including additional asset information according to your needs. The data can be viewed in a number of ways including: through a floor layout, a rack layout, an organization wide search, a hierarchical structure browse or an inventory information export.
When adding the capabilities of StruxureWare Change, all the moves, adds and change activities are structured through workflows. Every action is documented and time stamped, and can be retrieved on a server, rack, room or building level through a standard report.
According to Gartner Inc., most data centre operators are unaware of the loading and current power and cooling capability of their data centres, even at a total bulk level. Installing equipment that exceeds the design density of the data centre, and the resultant stresses on the power and cooling systems, are causing downtime from overloads, overheating, and loss of redundancy.
Balancing supply & demand The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) defines capacity management as the discipline that ensures infrastructure is provided at the right time in the right volume at the right price, and that it is used in the most efficient manner. The critical success factors are: – Providing accurate capacity forecasts, and – Providing appropriate capacity to meet business needs.
Data centre operators typically do not have the information they need to effectively deploy new equipment at the rate required by the business, and are unable to answer simple questions relating to the power and cooling capabilities at a specific rack.
- What is the impact the availability of existing equipment?
- Can I deploy new hardware technology, such as blade servers, using my existing power and cooling infrastructure?
- When will I reach the limits of my current power and cooling infrastructure and require additional capacity?
APC’s StruxureWare Capacity provides the visibility to the current capacities of the data centre, and enables data centre operators to analyze and plan ahead for future capacity needs. By right-sizing the required capacity to fit the current demand it is possible to avoid stranded capacity, reduce waste and increase overall efficiency of the data centre.
As energy management becomes a key consideration for data centres, organizations are increasingly looking for more intelligent physical infrastructure management systems which integrate with existing enterprise management systems and building management systems for a full overview of where the power is used.
Most IT organizations have already invested in a number of tools to support their systems independently, including enterprise management systems (EMS) used by the IT department and building management systems (BMS) used by the facilities organization.
A third, emerging type of management system is the data centre physical infrastructure management (DCPIM™) system, marking the convergence of traditional facility responsibility with that of the IT department, and normally used by the data centre operator.
For the first time in the history of the IT industry, the availability of physical infrastructure is often the limiting factor in the deployment of new, denser technologies. The interactions between the IT loads, power, cooling and physical space are simply too complex for traditional data centre monitoring and operations processes. This drives a need for integrating information between the three systems to compile intelligent and comprehensive DCPIM systems, offering greater oversight and more efficient use of available energy.
The APC solution Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Web Services are an integral part of APC by Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare Management software, and new integrations are constantly added, to ensure a management system which can easily be integrated with existing systems.
The integrations currently include: Microsoft Systems Centre Operations Manager, Microsoft Systems Centre Virtual Machine Manager, Microsoft Essentials, IBM Tivoli, IBM Active Energy Manager, BMC Remedy, HP OpenView, Cisco EnergyWise, TAC Andover Continuum, TAC Vista & PowerLogic ION Enterprise. Integrating the different energy management systems provides data centre operators with critical information to design, operate and monitor their physical infrastructure.