John Consoli, FieldViewYou can’t get away from it.  Everywhere you turn, someone is touting the benefits of Green IT. In an ideal world (and it NEVER is), a green data center combines technology that stores, manages and disseminates information.  The system is designed to achieve data center efficiency and power efficiency – ensuring all mechanical, lighting, electrical, and computer systems reach maximum energy efficiency with minimal environmental impact.  Now, let’s be realistic:  Even in the best of all possible worlds, it’s almost impossible for any infrastructure to run 100% green.

However, given the dramatic cost and energy efficiency savings that can be realized from an eco-friendly strategy, it’s no wonder it remains top-of-the-list for companies.  Unfortunately it takes months, if not years, of careful planning to implement a successful strategy.  By definition, a mission-critical data center must have redundant power by a factor of N+1 (where N= System).  This means that, by design, 50% of power will be paid for – BUT NEVER USED!  Now, I don’t want to get too philosophical in this blog, but I think Kermit the Frog captured it best when he said, “It’s not easy being green.”

The truth is, energy efficiency isn’t the only worry keeping data center managers up at night.  Yes, they’re aware of the costs:  Recent reports estimate social media giant Facebook is spending as much as $1 million per month to power their data center.  How can you ignore that?  You can’t…But concerns still go beyond energy efficiency.  It’s issues like availability, uptime, and performance that are top-of-mind.

It’s a fact:  The data center is increasingly linked to business operations.  The efficiency and reliability of these infrastructures give companies the competitive edge necessary to thrive in the global marketplace.  As business services ride on the IT infrastructure, businesses are paying closer attention to performance and uptime.  As IT consulting firm ITOAmerica puts it:  “Nearly every enterprise IT organization has its sights set on tightly aligning the IT function with overall business goals.  This approach enables the IT organization to proactively address strategic mandates to lower costs, drive revenue and mitigate risk.”

And with good reason.  Industry experts predict just how costly IT failures are to a business.  In his now famous report, industry expert Roger Sessions calculates the total annual cost of worldwide IT failures at $6.2 trillion. Additionally, when Amazon suffered a major outage in 2008, many reports attempted to calculate their cost of downtime as well.

As explained in Techspot.com:  “While outages in major online properties are rare these days, Amazon has experienced them before, including a five-hour hit in 2004 and a two-hour failure in August 2006.  It’s hard to know exactly how much this will cost them in lost sales, though simple math pegs it at about $29,000 a minute based on the retailer’s 2007 net revenue.”

Many experts believe the real key to ensuring uptime and availability — while at the same time driving energy efficiency — is Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM).  This enterprise data center technology enables centralized monitoring, management, and intelligent capacity planning of the data center’s critical systems.  But before taking the plunge and jumping into DCIM, keep your eye out.  There are a few “essentials” any true DCIM solution must deliver.

First, it should be Web-based — providing anytime/anywhere access for rapid response and smooth operations.  The solution should also deliver functionality out-of-the-box – with the ability to leverage business intelligence and ensure raw data can be immediately transformed to actionable intelligence.  Taking this one step further, true DCIM must pay close attention to TCO maximization.  It should support all protocols and infrastructures and not require expensive professional service engagements. Finally, and most importantly, any useful DCIM solution will effectively deliver real-time performance management and energy efficiency.  This means an intelligent platform with the power to conduct real-time management across a wide range of IT infrastructures –– helping companies maximize data center ROI.

And companies like FieldView Solutions are answering the call.  The FieldView platform is a web-based enterprise data center technology, designed to meet the most stringent data security, application resiliency and bandwidth requirements of corporate IT networks. The solution includes a powerful, real-time data collection engine, helping data operators manage IT assets while supporting infrastructure to maximize resource utilization and energy efficiency.  The intuitive front-end offers immediate access to vast amounts of real-time information to make informed decisions on the core data that affects your business, including energy utilization and efficiency.

The revolution is here:  And it’s not all about green IT.  Now, I’m not going to ask you to watch The Muppet Movie for more “green” inspiration – but just realize energy efficiency is just one of a multitude of issues facing data center managers today.  It takes a lot of time and hard work to achieve the uptime, reliability and energy efficiency goals necessary to compete in today’s business environment.  It also requires a reliable partner that can give you the right tools to monitor and manage your infrastructure – and report on strategies once they’re implemented.  So, are you going to take the next step?  You’ll be glad you did.

–John Consoli, jconsoli@fieldviewsolutions.com

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