Why has it been so hard to deploy Data Center Monitoring?

Modius NOC

For those of you following my writings, you’ll know that I’ve “been around the block” a few times in the IT world. For 30 years I’ve seen alot of technologies come and go. Various technologies always seem to sound great at first (to some people), but how those technologies play out over time is a measure of the capabilities, costs, and timing BUT more importantly a bit of ‘chance’. Sometimes it just doesn’t add up or make any sense, and yet certain solutions thrive while others fail. Data Center Management has always been considered an “ART” rather than a science. Emotions, previous experiences and personal focal points drive investments within the data center. The ART of data center design varies widely from company to company.

That background is a good point of reference when considering the task at hand for today: Explaining just WHY it has been so hard to deploy data center monitoring, and include both IT gear AND facilities equipment in the standard IT planning and performance processes. As it turns out, IT gear vendors have done a fairly good job of standardizing management protocols and access mechanisms, but there have been simply too many incompatible facilities gear management systems over the years. Many are still very proprietary and/or undocumented or poorly documented. Additionally, the equipment manufacturers have been in NO hurry to make their devices communicate any better with anything in the outside world. “Their equipment, their tools” has been the way of life for facilities gear vendors. (I call it “Vendor-Lock”). Ironically, these “facilities” sub-systems (like power and cooling) would likely be considered today as THE most mission critical part of running IT cost-effectively. We need to find any answer….

So, we have two factors to consider:

1. Data Center Design is considered by many to be an ART rather than a science. Depending on the leadership, various differing levels of emphasis is paid in different technology areas.

2. Data Center Monitoring has been historically viewed as difficult to deploy across the field of devices and the resulting limited reports and views to be insignificant and non-impactful to the bigger picture.

Well, times have changed. Senior leadership across corporations are asking the IT organization to behave more like a science. The days of ‘art’ are drawing to a close. Accountability, effectiveness, ROI, efficiency are all part of the new daily mantra within IT. Management needs repeatable, defendable investments that can withstand any challenge, and yet allow for any change.

Additionally, with the price of energy over 3 years surpassing the initial acquisition price of that same gear, the most innovative Data Center Managers are taking a fresh new look at deploying active, strategic Data Center Monitoring as part of their baseline efforts. How else would a data center manager know where to make new investments in energy efficiency technologies without some means to establish baselines and continuous measurements towards results? How would they know if they succeeded?

Data Center Monitoring can be easily deployed today, accounting for all of any company’s geographically distributed sites, leveraging all of their existing instrumentation (shipping in
newly purchased IT gear for the past few years), and topping it off with a whole slew of amazing wireless sensor systems to augment it all.

Today, integrated data center monitoring across IT gear and facilities equipment is not only possible, but quite EASY to deploy for any company that chooses to do so.

You just Gotta-Wanna!

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