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Good Data Center Planning Requires Proper Software Tools

Too often, data center operators make changes to their infrastructure without adequately thinking through all the potential consequences of the change. The result is often overloaded circuits, unintended down time and confused administrators.

The good news is planning tools exist to help data center operators “see” the consequences of changes before they make them by simulating the effect of equipment moves, adds and changes.  The tools can help companies avoid the mistakes we’ve seen too often, such as these:

  • After a power and cooling assessment, a company’s data center was found to have hotspots at the floor level where it should have been cold and cold areas that should have been hot – the result of a lack of planning as to equipment placement, resulting in insufficient air distribution.
  • A rack of servers was lost when an IT administrator unintentionally overloaded an already maxed-out power strip.
  • Drives and memory removed from servers purchased for an install project were given to another manager’s project. Without a monitoring tool in place to record activity such as the removal of equipment from a rack, nobody was alerted to the issue and the assets were not tracked.  When the day of the install project arrived, most of a day was wasted trying to locate the missing resources.
  • A large manufacturing firm virtualized their data center, consolidating their most critical applications to a single cluster of servers. They failed to recognize, however, that each of the servers was dependent on the same UPS. Should the UPS fail, all the servers would go down with it.

Good planning tools can help you avoid these issues, helping you calculate the impact of moves and changes on data center space, and on power and cooling capacities. The tools also help data center operators respond to failures and prevent them from occurring in the first place, helping companies maintain business continuity.

Modern planning software tools perform the following functions:

  • Provide graphical representations of IT equipment and its location in the rack – no more using spreadsheets to track such info and no need to be physically present in the data center to see where equipment is.
  • Visually display the impact of moves, adds and changes to power capacity and cooling distribution.
  • Simulate the consequences of power and cooling failures on IT equipment, to identify the business impact and help the company make more informed risk assessments instead of relying on “gut feel.”
  • Take into account rack and floor tile weight limits.
  • Recommend installation locations for rack-mount IT equipment based on available power, cooling, space capacity, and network ports – thus helping to avoid overloaded circuits and the creation of hot spots.

With proper planning tools, data center operators have the information they need to make informed decisions – and keep their IT infrastructure running.

To learn more about what these tools can do to help improve the operation of your data center, check out the APC by Schneider Electric white paper, “How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Costs.”

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