The State of the Data Center Industry Survey and DCIM Findings

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Uptime Institute’s 2013 State of the Industry Data Center Survey is their third annual report and features responses from over 1,000 data center owners and operators from around the world. It focuses on subjects including technology adoption rates, data center costs, and trends in IT operations and management. The results were presented by Matt Stansberry of Uptime Institute Professional Services during the Uptime Symposium 2013 in May.

One of the stand-out findings was that 40% of enterprise data center operators have no scheduled reporting with their “C” level managers. Since this is precisely the sort of management issue which DCIM software can help address, I asked Soeren Brogaard Jensen, VP of Enterprise Management and Software at Schneider Electric what he thought about this statistic when we met at Data Centres Europe in Nice.

“I was first of all surprised,” he told me. “If you put a large amount of your budget into a data center there must be a high interest from senior management with what is going on, are we heading in the right direction etc. I ask myself is that because we don’t know what to report? PUE has been out for quite some time and is becoming a mature metric, but maybe we haven’t yet done a good enough job finding out what is actually relevant data for the ‘C’ level people. How can we make it relevant to them? I’m thinking that it is definitely no longer a technology issue, it’s much more of an organizational challenge. Maybe translating the values we all have on a daily basis into something meaningful that can get the ‘C’ level excited and actually start caring about their investments and see progress and performance.”

I wondered whether PUE is a metric which the executive board can use to improve their business?

Soeren said, “Let’s be careful, PUE is somewhat useful, but there are definitely elements that are lacking in it and I think that’s widely recognized. But what about service levels, what about workload on people? What about my total energy consumption, trending side by side of my total capacity utilization or my uptime? How critical are the various tickets in etc., etc? There’s so many things available today that if I were a data center operator, I would find it very compelling to show my upper management as a way of demonstrating the value that they get out of their data center investment.”

I asked about the fact that according to the 2013 State of the Industry Data Center Survey the vast majority of those DCIM installations are really being installed to solve problems of capacity, which is an age-old problem.

“I think it’s an actual consequence, that we are all trying to get more out of our investment and potentially squeeze more life time out of our existing investment, especially during these rough financial times,” said Soeren. “I think that makes perfect sense. What I am reading into also is that the theme ‘capacity management’ is also expanding into new categories. We started out by being very concerned about power and cooling and space potentially, we are now moving into network, we are moving into serve capacity utilization. So the capacity management theme has been at the top of the list of why people invest in DCIM. But I also think that in that category we are slowly expanding and covering more elements and more constraints so its an actual consequence of the environment and the economy that we are living in.”

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