Say goodbye to spring cleaning

How cloud infrastructure tools keep your data center clean year-round.

cleaning sponges detergent wash rinse chores
jarmoluk (CC0)

As spring finally rolls around and the frost melts away (except here in New England), the change in seasons not only brings us ultraviolet B-induced vitamin D, but also shines some healthy sunlight on the clutter the long winter leaves behind in its wake, including both at home and in the data center. With spring, comes an opportunity to reevaluate data center cleaning habits and question whether a more practical, day-to-day strategy would benefit data center managers in the long run.

Instead of enduring the spring cleaning process in the data center, data center managers should rethink their current cleaning strategy, which often leads to seasonal operational overhauls, and instead consider a new and more efficient method that benefits from granular operational data and analytics. So, with the spring solstice upon us, here are a few tips to enable data center managers to reap the advantages of “year-round cleaning” rather than looking for that old and tired broom.

Get rid of clutter by optimizing power usage

Just like cleaning out your house, data center managers can often find new spaces and ways to mix up their everyday routine once the clutter is removed. By leveraging cloud infrastructure tools, data center managers can utilize power profiles per server, rack, floor, workload, or application to find new ways to be efficient.

These power optimizations not only allow data center managers to reduce electricity costs but also improve business continuity by enabling them to continue or prolong operations during power outages. Energy costs are the fastest-rising expense for today’s data centers, and according to Statista, the average unplanned data center outage costs nearly $9000 USD per minute. Cloud infrastructure tools provide a bulwark not only against unnecessary power consumption but also costly downtime.

Reorganize the closets to increase rack density

After removing the clutter in your data center, you can begin to rearrange essential objects for easy access and preferred use.

Similar to reorganizing an emptied closet with the things you use most often, cloud infrastructure tools can help maximize server count per rack in a fixed-rack power envelope for increased data center utilization and easy access to what you need. This provides data center managers with the ability to operate, monitor, analyze and optimize the energy usage of a data center all the way down to the server and CPU level. The result is significant CapEx and OpEx savings while extending the data center life cycle in the process.

Air out the house with real-time power and thermal monitoring

With spring in the air, there’s no doubt you’ll want to open all the windows to fill your home with the fresh air at the right temperature. By practicing these same principles within your data center, you can find the perfect temperature and energy usage with accurate power and thermal consumption data. Lack of visibility into actual power consumption requires significant overprovisioning to maintain reserve margins while poor thermal design leads to hot spots that limit rack loading.

Data center managers that use cloud infrastructure tools are able to gather and analyze huge amounts of real-time data, which improves the accuracy and timeliness of capacity planning and assessment of cooling solutions and airflow design. Additionally, other benefits such as reduced reliance on smart power strips and identification of ghost servers also are realized. An idling server doing zero work still consumes 50 percent of peak power.

Set yourself up for a clean year by regular health monitoring

Now that you’ve freshened up your home with a little cleaning and restructuring, it’s time to set forth a plan for more frequent decluttering and maintenance so that every spring can bring relaxation and peace of mind. The same goes for data center managers when they implement regular health and utilization monitoring.

According to a recent white paper, “The State of Data Center Health Management Strategy 2017,” more than half of IT Managers don’t have a data center health management program in place, breaking out the broom and performing checks only reactively when something has gone wrong. While it’s true that any data center manager overseeing tens of thousands of data assets will experience a system failure or problem of some kind eventually, 54 percent of data center managers who utilize cloud infrastructure tools as part of their proactive data center health management strategy report that they’re regularly able to identify and remedy issues in their facilities within 24 hours, thereby mitigating exposure to costly downtime and minimizing business risk.

With granular sub-component failure analysis and out of band real-time utilization data, including CPU, disk and memory, data center managers will always have insights into data center performance and ongoing health and utilization monitoring.

By investing in a year-round cleaning strategy using cloud infrastructure tools, not only do data center managers get high-functioning data centers less likely to need an annual overhaul of operations, but they can eliminate their worries and put their cleaning supplies away in the garage where they belong.

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