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5 data centre infrastructure management myths debunked
Wed, 20th Sep 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Not so long ago data center maintenance was simple: monitor electrical usage. That was it. If you could get the electrical usage right then you would be able to achieve operational efficiency. However, this is no longer the case.

As data centers have evolved, so too have our monitoring methods. From tracking computing parts to storage capability and calibration, we can now effect real change on the data center and have it running at peak efficiency.

But this can only be done if organisations automate their approach. Too many data center managers are falling into the data center infrastructure management (DCIM) fake news trap – believing the misconceptions they've heard and relying on word of mouth to protect their most important asset: their data.

It's time to debunk some of the most prevalent and damaging DCIM myths.

Myth #1: Real time monitoring is all you need

Real time monitoring is an integral part of any data center monitoring plan. It can show you what is operationally happening at that exact moment and can help stave off disasters before they happen.

However, it is not the only type of monitoring you need.

It is also essential to have insight into short and long term trends. With trend analysis, patterns will likely become obvious making long term capacity planning and operational cost savings simpler. It can also identify dangerous trends that can be arising in your data center or colocation facilities.

Long term information can also highlight the potential fragility of internal systems that may lack redundancy and can aid asset management and the process surrounding them better.

Myth #2: Using a colocation facility takes away management responsibility for resources

So, you've made the leap to a colocation facility. They are keeping the lights on and blowing cold air around the server rooms, but it's the hot air you must worry about. The hot air from those who say once you're in a colocation facility you no longer need to manage resources.

You're still responsible for your assets and coordinating people and processes ensuring staff have access to the areas they need to maintain and that the colocation facility meets, nay exceeds its service level agreements.

Remaining on top of the colocation provider will ensure your data is not only secure but means you can maximise your company's working processes.

Myth #3: The public cloud is more affordable

The recent emerging myth that cloud is the most cost effective route for data storage is not always true.

Some application workloads are very expensive to run in the cloud – and keep an eye out for the hidden fees.

For example, the cost to convert, implement and integrate applications from your current platform to the cloud storage provider can be a significant expense – and one that only pops up after contracts have been signed.

What is even worse. Some applications can be very costly to run in the public cloud, especially if they are data intensive or have unique requirements set to your own company's specifications.

And once that has all been considered, let's not forget the extra costs for premium services such as data transfers, additional out-of-contract space or supplementary access.

Myth #4: All resources will be run in the public cloud

With all the popularity around public cloud, the hybrid model is actually challenging its dominance - and for good reason.

Some organisations rely on heavily legacy applications and these, which are the bedrock to that company's day to day business process can be difficult to maintain in the public cloud.

This can also roll over to performance too. Some applications can lag and cause delays to day to day working, which can hit the bottom line.

Compliance is also an area that public cloud is finding hard to address. In some regions or industries compliance prevents public cloud use, and what makes it worse. This is often something that is found out after contracts have been signed.

The final question you must ask is, “do you want to be completely dependent on a third party organiser?

If your data is the life blood of your operations, do you really want someone else holding on to that?

Myth #5: Virtualisation and containers means you don't have to worry about hardware

Virtualisation and the usage of application containers without a doubt improve operational performance, but it doesn't change the operational efficiencies at the physical infrastructure level.

Asset capacity planning and power management are all essential maintenance requirements and in fact, increased density at the VM layer causes increased resource utilisation and risks at the physical level, and requires closer management.

The world of hybrid infrastructure is growing and organisations are reaping the benefits. But only if they do their homework first. Believing in the myths and misconceptions of DCIM is costing organisations and stopping their growth.

Organisations must automate and change their management approach to keep up with the architecture and maintain control to be truly successful.