Forget everything you thought you knew about data centre management. Mark Gaydos, chief marketing officer at Nlyte Software discusses why managing your assets shouldn’t be a headache and shares some tips that could help make life a little easier.
Data centres have always been the silent hero – operating in the shadows and providing a reliable backbone for all IT needs. They can often be forgotten when all appears to be working well, with data centre managers keeping them thundering on – but not getting the credit they deserve for the hard work it takes staying on top of provisioning and maintenance.
However, the tables can turn when a data centre falters. Soon enough data centre managers become the sole focus of finger pointing, never mind that they have a complicated task that only becomes harder the more the technology is asked to do.
Being the nucleus that drives business (whether or not the rest of the organisation knows it) can be a lonely, tough gig. Should a problem arise, it can permeate outwards to all business departments, whether revenue generating or cost centre, and the data centre manager becomes the focal point of a great deal of pressure.
Not recognising this culture can be dangerous. If data centres don’t receive the same input as other sectors – both intellectually, financially, and culturally – problems can arise which can impact everything from staff morale to the bottom line – and cause downtime that costs the business profit, customers, and reputation.
That is why the data centre must not only be run, but managed. Managed so that it can work effectively and efficiently and continue to be the most dependable member of the company’s IT portfolio – the one upon which the whole enterprise stands.
Start with the hardware
When making a decision about how to manage a data centre, the data centre manager must first get their head around what the centre is made up of.
At the start, the centre would have been filled with essential technology it would need. This would include servers, cables and switches among a plethora of other technology. However, over years of use, including growth and/or decrease in operating scope, the centre would have evolved with pieces added or taken away – changing the infrastructure on a continuous basis and resulting in a very organically grown beast.
This continual flux makes it hard for data centre managers to keep track of all the connected hardware in use, connected, and offline.
It can lead to organisations wasting time and money on maintaining unused equipment as well as having a lack of visibility on what hardware is actually being used and by what. These factors can not only impact the bottom line but worse, can cause outages that can cease operations.
Finish strong on the software
Accompanying each piece of hardware comes partnering software. Now, not all devices will have a set number of software packages but there is a high chance that each will be using either one solution or a shared solution. And for each piece of software a licence is needed
But, with the fluctuations every company experiences, from new employees joining to downsizing, it can be very difficult to keep track of these licences. Without the right number of licences to match the use, an organisation can find themselves facing civil litigation from the software vendors policing their use.
Not only that but organisations could also find themselves over-paying for licences they don’t need, facing lengthy audit processes, failing an audit altogether, or much, much worse – being attacked by bad actors that use a piece of hardware that has not been updated in line with security requirements.
If data centres don’t receive the same input as other sectors, problems can arise which can impact everything from staff morale to the bottom line.
As hardware and software assets grow in importance, organisations are being required to more accurately account for these resources. Not only because of the cost savings available, but vendors are more aggressively looking to further squeeze money from their revenue sources.
And of course, we can’t forget the security issues which can blight old versions of firmware which pose significant threats to security and operations.
To counter these needs there are providers that can deliver solutions together that can provide the necessary recording, oversight and security. Software asset management allows organisations to manage and optimise the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilisation and disposal of software applications, while technology asset management allows organisations to manage and utilise their hardware provisions. Understanding and deploying these correctly is a key marker of high performing digital businesses.
With these solutions, organisations can keep track of all of their data centre hardware and software assets as well as all facets of their use. With this, organisations can focus on what really matters – the bottom line and providing unsurpassable services. Management of assets is important, but it shouldn’t be all-consuming, at the expense of customer delivery.