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Tips for Data Center Efficiency Lend to Effective Environmental Monitoring

The data center once served as a significant corporate asset, providing the foundation for business management and customer service. Over the last few years, the data center has evolved to support rapid increases in data consumption and storage. At the same time, there is also an increased focus on the energy consumption in the data center, and the adoption of virtualization technologies. With so many changes in the data center, the demand for environmental monitoring has also increased.

As the data center continued to evolve and change over time, many IT managers lacked the necessary tools to support efficiency and implement proper environmental monitoring. As a result, Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) emerged. A superset of infrastructure monitoring, DCIM encompasses the ability to manage the physical infrastructure of the data center to optimize resource utilization, efficiency and availability.

According to Emerson Network Power, the four successive stages of DCIM progression to support proper environmental monitoring include monitor and access to provide the ability to react quickly to potential problems and improve management; data capture and planning so that data center personnel have the ability to collect data to address key planning issues; analyze and diagnose to provide data center personnel with the ability to respond quickly to changes and manage more efficiently; and recommend and automate through the visibility and control needed to optimize performance while also maintaining or improving availability.

An Emerson white paper, Ten Steps to Increasing Data Center Efficiency and Availability through Infrastructure Monitoring, examines what needs to happen in the data center environment to ensure the right environmental monitoring is taking place. In terms of measurement, it is important that tools are in place to sense temperatures; it is also important that power usage is monitored; rack conditions must be monitored; and fluid leaks must be detected.

IT or data center managers must also be in control to ensure the proper environmental monitoring is taking place in the data center. To help in the process, sophisticated controls are available to enhance reliability and enable a number of different units to work together to improve performance, while also increasing efficiency. These controls include the intelligent control of precision cooling and of critical power.

In centralized monitoring and management, it is important to manage alerts and alarms properly; monitor energy efficiency; monitor batteries; and monitor and manage all elements remotely. All of these elements contribute to effective environmental monitoring.

When these monitors are in place within the data center, it not only enables IT managers to firmly control energy consumption and optimal performance, it also creates a foundation for effective environmental monitoring. After all, the enterprise is too reliant on the data center to worry that its operation could be stalled and information unavailable.

by Susan J. Campbell