Recently I met with Hiren Lad, Software Architect at Schneider Electric, to discuss the features of StruxureWare Data Center Operation for Co-location. While obviously designed to meet the DCIM requirements of co-location service providers, the software package incorporates three main features which will appeal to any business which has multiple data center tenants: Multi Tenancy, Space Reservation and AutoCAD Integration, and Advanced Power Modelling.
Beginning with the Multi Tenancy feature I asked him to tell me a little more about each of the three. Hiren said, “A co-location environment is a large space that houses a lot of customers within one zone. The Multi Tenancy feature has been designed to allow us to depict different customers within one space by linking into things like a CMDB – customer management database.” He went to explain that most co-location data centers will have something of this nature that contains their customers data, phone numbers, the amount of space sold, it is essentially what account managers would use to sell co-location space. So rather than recreating the wheel, the Multi Tenancy feature needs to interface to these existing systems, drag the information through and then deploy that within the DCIM tool for co-lo’s.
The second feature of the StruxureWare Data Center Operation for Co-location package is Space Reservation and CAD characteristics. So far, the lack of CAD integration has been a barrier to entry as most colo’s use CAD to manage their space allocations. To date, most DCIM packages have driven software users to re-create floor plans within the package, duplicating effort on the part of users. However, the importation functionality is very simple and straightforward with StruxureWare, Hiren explains that it enhances the DCIM toolset by being able to take information that the customer is already using inside their data center. Most co-lo’s already have a mixture of tools, and what the DCIM software needs to be able to do is use them.
“The Autocad integration allows us to take existing floor plan data, import it into the tool, then be able to detect the rooms and be able to lift them out of the Autocad into the actual tool itself. Once we have imported that information into StruxureWare, we can then start being able to reserve space , either actual rack footprints, or cage spaces. We can then link this with the Multi Tenancy facility so, for example, if a customer has a space which is ten square foot, the software can lift that out of the Autocad drawing, then relate that data back to the customer record of who has purchased that area, and then allocate it an amount of power (which is a cost to the co-lo’s business).”
The last feature we discuss is Advanced Power Modelling and how that helps the co-lo. Hiren tells me most co-lo’s have a very resilient power system or a very large and complex power system that includes a lot of additional loops in place to help resiliency or redundancy. But it is not like a normal data center. The software has to be able to depict the power system within a DCIM tool and highlight exact electrical systems within their space. What we’ve done within StruxureWare Data Center Operation for Co-location is create a new feature or function which allows the tool to model and map parallel and redundant UPS’s. Being able to place in items like ATS – automatic transfer switches – and STS, to be able to effectively draw out an advanced power system for a co-lo. And then relate that back into the two items that we talked about before within the Multi Tenancy and within the Autocad diagrams to depict them fully.
I close by asking Hiren to describe in a nutshell what StruxureWare Data Center Operation for Co-location means for its users: “Helping multi tenancy environments to run their business more efficiently and more effectively,” he says.