I have covered the field of data centers for some time, and I’ve heard many subjects discussed, from comatose servers, cooling technologies/methods, modular structures, and monitoring to asset management. Over time, many tools to assist each subject area have been developed and presented. The most recent are called data center infrastructure management tools, known as DCIM.
DCIM tools allow data center operators to visualize information and behaviors, both static (asset distribution, equipment layout, configuration, and specifications) and dynamic (monitoring, turning equipment on/off, and load balancing), of live data centers at an infrastructure level. Without visualization, how could we manage data centers effectively?
There are (too) many DCIM vendors and some of them partner with each other to provide a comprehensive function set for managing operations. According to 451 Research, the following is a list of DCIM and related companies.
A list of DCIM and related companies (Source: 451 Research). The red circle was added by Tier44.
Why have a data center in the first place?
Another thought I have is this. Data center people tend to look at data centers as the world, while cloud people consider clouds the world. We may want to come back to the fundamental question of why we have IT and data centers. Enterprises exist to conduct business and their business should be the number one priority for them. But sometimes we lose sight of this fact.
Business needs services provided by IT. The services are an abstract form of applications in execution. The applications run on an IT platform, and IT is hosted at a data center by facilities equipment, i.e., cooling and power. So what do we need to support or, more specifically, which level of this stack needs support? Up to this point, most support discussions were focused on the physical side of the data center and equipment (including ICT equipment as well as cooling and power equipment). It probably needs to move one layer up to deal with application support for better and more effective data center operations.
Tier44 wants to support and guarantee that applications are stable and reliable when it comes to managing data centers.
I first met Clemens Pfeiffer (in the picture below) eight years ago when he cofounded now-defunct Power Assure. Because I value his insight into the data center segment, from time to time I see him to exchange ideas for data center operations. Recently, I talked to him to find out what’s new with him. He emerged from Power Assure and founded Tier44 Technologies with two other founders.
Back in the days of Power Assure, people who heard Clemens’s pitch told me that the idea of dynamic power delivery based on shifting loads at a data center was great. But they went on to say that the idea was too complex to understand, especially for facilities people and that IT people had no incentive to be concerned with power consumption. This indicated that his positioning and pitch should come at a higher level for nontechnical operations people and without details about the complex technologies.
His points this time were:
- DCIM does not support full data center operations.
- Data center operation management should be provided as a service.
Continued to Part 2