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Opinion: A data centre manager's Christmas wish list

FYI, this story is more than a year old

The halls are decked, everyone's feeling festive and Michael Bublé is making his annual re-appearance. This can only mean one thing. It's Christmas. And in this time of merriment and cheer there is one thing everyone is not-so-secretly waiting for: Presents.

The happiness of giving and receiving fills each and every house with joy, but it is not just children (the good ones, mind you) that are hoping their wish list is ticked off – data center managers have the same wishes. They want a stocking full of solutions to help them keep their data center in check – and maybe also drive more revenue from it.

These are the top three solutions they're hoping to find in their stockings:

1. Technology Asset Management

With the sheer volume of data now being processed across a plethora of industries, it is no surprise that data centers are constantly evolving. This process of adding and/or removing gear to match the business needs might be helping organisations reach their financial goals but it is also making the data center managers lives extremely difficult. This is because as these changes happen data center managers might not have been consulted, had time to record the addition, or is using paper and pen (still!) to track each new move. This ultimately leaves a data center full of kit that could be over capacity, underutilised, or dormant.

However, with a technology asset management (TAM) solution, data center managers have a single pane of glass view over their entire estate. They can see which pieces of kit were added most recently – or taken away – which pieces are being used too much, and thus must be addressed, which pieces are not being used to their full potential… or the dreaded zombie kit: Technology-draining resources serving no good purpose to the company.

Having the capabilities to determine what technology is where, as well as its utilisation and status not only allows data center managers keep their house (or rather their SLAs and budgets) in order but generates much-needed revenue through cost savings of prioritising and auditing for kit in a robust fashion. In a complex estate the solution pays for itself – and much, much more.

2. Software Asset Management

As the aforementioned hardware assets grow, so too will the partnered software assets running on the tech. Each piece of kit might require one or multiple pieces of software to get the most out of it or to run the revenue-generating business of the company. This is commonplace – but now more worryingly so to are software audits from third party software suppliers. This presents a challenge…

With all organisations looking to squeeze as much profit as possible from their operations, third-party software providers are no different. They have been incrementally increasing pressure on their customers by requesting audits of software licences. These audits make sure that the customer is using the correct amount of licences and not getting away with underpaying on their contracts.

However, such data center wide audits, which often come with only a month's warning, can be incredibly time- and man-power consuming, draining much needed resources from other activities. However, this doesn't need to be the case.

With a software asset management (SAM) solution, data center managers have at their fingertips a tool and a crystal ball that can delve into the network and see what software is being used by which machines, and which is now redundant.

Such insight means data center managers can, in an instant, call upon the usage figures they require for the audit. This power also enables them to maximise the use of their licences without the fear of overpaying and wasting the enterprise's money.

3. Data Center Infrastructure Management

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is the final stocking filler a data center manger would love to wake up to on Christmas morning.

Having a vision over the hardware and software is paramount but what about all the other factors that complicate the running of a data center? From temperature and power management to floor space and rack availability and much more, data center managers need to understand all the ins and outs of their estate in minute detail to run a well-oiled machine. This is what DCIM provides.

DCIM provides a granular level of insight into the whole estate allowing with improvements to be made on every aspect of data storage, saving money where before it would have been wasted – positively impacting the bottom line and all aspects of service.

If a CEO were to have one Christmas wish, it would be to make their company as profitable as possible. Of course, there are many ways to do that, but it doesn't have to be ‘out of the box thinking'. Sometimes the present lies in the black box of the data center.

By supplying data center managers with effective and easy to use solutions, they can take an introspective look at their estate and find where cost savings and efficiencies can be made. It's not just about making the data center manager's life easier, it's about making the data center a profitable arm of the company in its own right.

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