We will need more data centres as the IoT proliferates. To ensure efficient operation and high quality service from data centres the automation of asset provisioning, maintenance and incident, problem, change management will become ever critical. The battleground for data centre supremacy will be fought on quality and innovation of service provided.
Today there are more internet connected devices than people. Gartner project there will be 26 billion installed Internet of Things (IoT) devices by 2020! Machine-to-Machine devices will make up a significant portion of these. More devices = more data = more analysis = value, and as a result more investment into and need for data centres to crunch the numbers and action the findings.
To differentiate offerings the best data centres will provide and leverage automation in the context of combining standard process and workflows with sensor-integrated infrastructure and analytics. If done correctly the result will be a dramatic improvement in data centre performance and design. Data centres that do not embrace these improvements will fail to win business to support the IoT.
Inside the modern data centres are somewhere between 600-1000 different data points that can be monitored including items such as humidity, ambient temperature, power use, power quality, chiller status, UPS’s and generators – sensors are built into everything, capturing all kinds of data!
It is possible to manage servers, networks, power distribution, temperature and more. The amount of operational data that is captured is significant. Beyond the original design and build of the facility this data can be used to proactively analyse and optimise ongoing operations. DC operators can remotely control the data centre environment and so provide efficiency and operational benefits. DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Monitoring) has evolved. The next step in this evolution is the game changer.
Integrate the monitoring of a data centre with the workflows, the data points (sensors), with enterprise management system such as ServiceNow and analytics, and before you know it much of the control of the infrastructure that resides within the datacentre can be automated. For example, the noise of a fan on a cooler exceeds accepted thresholds indicating a point of failure in the system; backup systems are notified; load balancing shifted; a maintenance ticket is issued to install the failing component; an order for the relevant piece of the cooler that’s about to fail dispatched – all automatically and in real-time proactively and before any failure actually occurs that would have potential catastrophic consequences.
Where a company has multiple data centre assets, they can be integrated and automated under one monitoring and control umbrella – the single view of the data centres across multiple locations.
So where does analytics fit into this utopic scenario!? The required data is being captured today and needs to be turned into information from which value can be derived. Accurate, consistent, reliable and timely information given to managers of data centres about their data centre assets will give them the ability to adapt to manage their facilities better. The application of predictive analytics, machine learning, automated A/B and MVT simulations will enable the current design to be optimised and future facilities to be designed using data from real experience.
Imagine applying an improvement to one part of your facility, monitoring, analysing, testing this scenario against the current state and automatically applying (or withdrawing) this change to the rest of the facility if it provides an improvement. Combine machine learning into this mix and you could evolve the data centre itself in to an automated learning machine environment, adapting to changing environments, automatically scheduling maintenance and so much more.
It is possible to do this today, the future is here – take control of the data centre infrastructure, automate, analyse and apply to gain the competitive advantage that will enable your data centre to earn the business of tomorrow, today!
Tom Glover is a consultant at TESM working with organisations to propel their growth through the application of ServiceNow for ITSM, asset management, HR, finance, facilities management, customer support and other areas this market leading SaaS platform can be used to bring business alive.