Bridging the gap between IT and facilities

Data center operators need a single pane of glass for managing their facilities as a whole

There was a time when an IT admin would hardly give a second thought to slapping a new server into a rack in the data center. There was no need for him or her to fret over whether there was enough power or cooling to support the new machine; that was something for facilities to worry about.

But things have changed. With data centers facing a shortage of floor space, limited energy supplies, and demands from on high to reduce operating costs and carbon emissions, IT admins have had to broaden their purview beyond simply ensuring that servers are serving, storage gear is storing, and the network is blazing. IT is now expected to track energy efficiency at granular and broad levels, including monitoring energy consumption and even heeding climate, humidity, and power availability.

[ InfoWorld is currently accepting nominations for the 2010 InfoWorld Green 15 awards. |  The Green Grid recently announced new data center tools. ]

The good news is vendors continue to roll out tools for monitoring and managing energy consumption, energy efficiency, system performance (both IT and infrastructure), and the like. Unfortunately, these tools still tend to fall into one of two silos, facilities or IT, but that gap is closing. The highly sought single pane of glass for monitoring all aspects of the data center may not be too far off.

One recent entry into the data center planning, monitoring, and management space is the latest version of APC's InfraStruXure Management Software, designed to provide a unified view of physical infrastructure in the data center, such as generators and air handlers. The software suite equips admins with tools to plan changes to the data center, as well as track service quality, energy use, and the associated costs of essentially anything connected to the network. It performs this feat primarily via sensors and meters -- which are increasingly becoming standard in data center gear.

InfraStruXure comprises several modules, including InfraStruXure Energy Efficiency, InfraStruXure Operations, InfraStruXure Central 6.0, InfraStruXure Capacity 6.0, and InfraStruXure Mobile 6.0, each geared toward a particular function.

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