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Equipping the data centre manager

Tony Gaunt, Director of Internet Data Centres (Asia), Emerson Network Power | Sept. 24, 2014
As data centres continue evolving, the need for data centre managers to keep up to date with the solutions and technology in the industry will only increase in future, highlighting the need for them to start on training partnerships early. After all, prevention is better than cure.

As businesses become increasingly reliant on data centres due to rising adoption of cloud and other data-intensive technologies, greater pressure is put on data centre professionals and IT decision makers to operate their facilities more efficiently. However, with a variety of data centre solutions, it is critical that managers are able to pick the best solution suited for their data centre. Hence, developing and equipping IT talent is critical to ensuring the success of data centre initiatives.

Challenges with Managing Data Centres

First, we will take a look at unplanned data center downtime and the challenges that IT professionals face. Research conducted by the Ponemon Institute in collaboration with Emerson Network Power revealed that power-related failures, followed by heat-related failures, were most common failures among data centres. The same study also indicated how expensive these outages were - costing up to US$7,900 per minute to the organization.

The future also holds challenges of its own as well. Another survey conducted by Emerson Network Power revealed that 75% of data centre managers expect that 60% of computing will be on cloud by 2025. This increase in demand means that there will be greater pressure on data centres if heat and power related failures are not resolved. Data centre managers will have to be wise in their search for solutions to manage these failures - now and in the future.

Alternative Solutions

Thankfully for the data centre manager, there are many alternative power and cooling solutions available in the market. Avocent, for example, works with power distribution units (PDUs) in Emerson Network Power and other vendors to help data centre managers better understand the power usage and costs of their data centre. They provide power management tools to enable companies to get a handle on their power use, right down to the specific unit, which is the first step to remediate power-related failures.

Companies such as Liebert also provide integrated cooling solutions comprising of economizer systems and supplemental cooling techniques. Used in tandem, they can cool the systems effectively while at the same time increase the cooling system's energy efficiency.

What works?

The biggest challenge for the data centre manager, then, is finding a solution that works for their data centre. Every data centre faces its own battle with its climate, geography and its design. Solutions for power and heat related failures may not necessarily be a one-size-fits-all approach. Cooling for underground data centres, for example, will have to be managed differently as traditional cooling methods and solutions may not be as useful underground, and might have to be coupled with ventilation channels that are drilled into the rock.

Managers may make the mistake of adopting a solution without adapting it to the needs of their own data centre. Thus, it is important to help managers understand the different challenges their data centres face, so that they can also find the best solutions for their data centres.


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