When it comes to running an efficient operation, small data centers have many of the same concerns and challenges as their larger counterparts. One of the greatest challenges that managers of small data centers have is that they typically have limited resources in terms of technology, staffing, and financial support.
This can leave a small data center more vulnerable to inefficiencies, inflexibility for growth, and the potential for system failures. One example we run into on a regular basis occurs when the manager of a legacy data center needs to obtain power consumption and environmental data as a result of a cost reduction initiative, or difficulty finding capacity for new applications. This typically occurs in data centers that are older, may have between 20 and 30 racks, and have grown, despite best intentions, in unintended ways.
Implementation of a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) system is the best way to gather current and historical views of power and temperature, identification and alert of power or environmental levels exceeding pre-defined thresholds, and documentation of operational metrics. With this information, facility and data center managers have accurate and actionable information that they can use to manage energy improvement plans, reclaim underutilized power or cooling capacity, and address reliability issues related to overheating or power availability proactively.
What level of DCIM do you really need?
In a small data center the justification for a DCIM deployment is harder to make and the installation of sensors and new hardware can be disruptive to the data center and the enterprises operations. In addition, there may be debate about the level of functionality that is required given the range of environmental, security, and asset allocation to name a few, that are available.
One approach that is gaining popularity is the use of DCIM retrofit kits designed specifically to avoid major disruption of operations and can be deployed on a cabinet by cabinet basis. An example is the Panduit SmartZone™ Rack Energy Kits which are designed as simple out-of-the-box offerings predefined for new data center builds and expansions or legacy retrofits. Each kit offers a unique power monitoring device, giving small data centers the choice of how they would prefer to capture data in their specific environment. Installation is simplified through non- and minimally-invasive device options that add and/or overlay intelligence into racks or cabinets.
Are you considering DCIM for your small data center? If so we would like to hear about your concerns, options and experiences! We look forward to hearing from you