DCIM's value to colocation centers

DCIM's value to colocation centers

DCIM supplies invaluable metrics for colocation facilities in an easy-to-digest format.

While big, household-name tech companies typically own and operate their own data centers, it's often in a company's best interest to rent physical space for their data center infrastructure, primarily as a way to cut down operating expenses. These shared data centers, called colocation centers, are at the mercy of the very same environmental and power management factors that dictate data center infrastructure management in proprietary facilities.

The principal difference is a matter of accountability. If a company-owned data center experiences downtime that impacts its bottom line, it's an internal issue. However, improper management of a colocation center that negatively impacts a client falls on the shoulders of the third-party data center management team. All it really takes for a colocation center to lose its clients, and take a big hit to its bottom line, is one lapse in management. Given the intricacy of data center infrastructure and the range of factors that go into effective management - temperature, humidity, dew point or load balancing - a reliable DCIM solution is integral to the vitality of any colocation facility, or cluster of facilities. 

It's well worth taking a look at some of the main risks colocation facilities face, and how DCIM simplifies the process of managing them. 

Downtime in the colocation center means downtime in the client's operations. Downtime in the colocation center means downtime in the client's operations.

A house of cards

Colocation facilities are unique in that their entire business model depends on meticulous upkeep of the data center environment. Much like a house of cards, one mismanaged piece of the structure can send the entire service model toppling. For example, a primary concern among data center management is balanced power distribution. It is for this reason that strategic selection of power distribution units is so essential. Breakers may help prevent serious damage to electronics that could result from dangerous current levels. However, they don't prevent outages that lead to downtime. This downtime directly affects the client, and any customers they might serve. Not to mention, less-than-optimal power distribution needlessly strains electronics, and can drastically reduce their lifespan, thereby raising operational costs. 

"One mismanaged piece of the structure can send the entire service model toppling."

Similarly, it is also important to leverage the right cooling components in order to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels within the data center. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that humidity levels are held somewhere in the range of 41.9 to 59 percent, with temperatures between 64.4 and 80.6 degrees F. For example, if too much humidity builds up in the facility, moisture can begin corrode equipment. Conversely, if the air is too dry, static electricity can wreak havoc on sensitive electronics.

As if this wasn't daunting enough, colocation managers are in the special position of having to find a very concrete way of metering their services to clients. Data center metrics, therefore, are not just about efficiency and downtime prevention. They're also essential to creating a reliable pricing model.

DCIM to the rescue

Fortunately, DCIM can help data center managers maintain ideal power and environmental conditions. This is possible due to the ability of DCIM to automatically collect vital data center metrics onto a single pane of glass. Strategically positioned climate and power sensors supply the monitoring capabilities, and DCIM provides the insight and analytics needed to keep the house of cards standing strong, so to speak. Services stay up and running, which fosters satisfaction among clients. If something does go wrong, data center managers are quickly alerted so they can swiftly address the issue. 

One real-world example of this occurred when managed technical service and disaster recovery provider Cosentry leveraged Geist's Environet DCIM solution to reduce the number of manual processes involved in data center management. Cosentry had previously been engaged in time-consuming, error-prone, manual recording processes in an attempt to ensure reliable services for its customers, as well as accurate metering. What they really needed was a way to automatically and perpetually collect key information that could help keep the facility running at maximum efficiency. This is precisely what Geist DCIM supplied. 

Managing a colocation center is not easy, but with a customizable, easy-to-use and accurate solution, processes can be streamlined, optimal maintenance can be achieved and net earnings can be given a big boost.