Norway’s Olympic Gold Provides Winning Data Center Management Approach

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As the 2018 Winter Olympics came to a close in PyeongChang in South Korea, one of the biggest success stories was that of Norway’s men’s downhill skiers.

They became global news not only by topping the medal count, but also due to a team building approach which is unique in a sport of individuals.

Olympic Norway Ski Team

The Attacking Viking Philosophy Provides Lessons for Data Center Management

Its ‘Attacking Viking Philosophy’ shaped a non-hierarchical team structure where each individual was valued and treated equally. This closely knitted team spent around 250 days of the last year together. They cooked and ate together, they socialized and became an extended family which included partners and wives. The outcome was strong and lasting bonds where all shared insight, knowledge and experiences to improve each other’s performance, even as they competed as individuals.

This delivered record individual success built on collective knowledge, encouragement and learning.

For anyone involved in data center operations there are real lessons to be learnt from these Vikings.

That IT and OT professionals within the data center are discipline experts from different cohorts is well known. But since data center operations moved from being solely about uptime to encompassing criticality and efficiency, new levels of cooperation are vital.

Data center management 451 Research Report

Working to deliver data center management which spans capacity planning, data center infrastructure management (DCIM), power and energy monitoring requires a high level of engineering expertise. But to truly provide an optimized facility it is also in the areas of cross discipline collaboration and communication between IT and OT that untapped value can be found.

As any IT professional will tell you, workload demands are becoming more unpredictable at a time when application performance is becoming ever more critical and any latency can harm the business. Just think of sectors such as retail which are facing new performance demands every day.

The efficient provision of power and cooling to a set of IT server, networking and storage assets in changing distributed IT environments requires constant monitoring, analytics, planning and communication.

Cloud-based Datacenter Management Plus Teamwork

Data is closing the gap between operations and IT.

DCIM successes and the benefits of cloud-based Datacenter Management as a Service (DMaaS) solutions are bringing to an end the years of IT and OT acting purely in their own interests.

Collaboration brings both practical operational benefits and open governance.

We live in very open times with data center operations coming under more scrutiny.

Those operating the newer distributed edge computing ecosystems and centralized enterprise and commercial data center hubs are increasingly in the public eye.

Data center power efficiency, capacity planning, utilization and incident management are now regularly covered in mainstream media. Witness the recent news items covering the power used within data centers for cryptocurrency mining.

Just as the skiers are measured by hundredths of a second so too will OT and IT teams have their performance finely measured.

Today, all data center professionals must work as a team to ensure operations are as frictionless as possible.

So, for teams looking to achieve success, consider the following:

  1. Individual success is built on collective knowledge, encouragement and learning (Not ME vs IT but OTxIT)
  2. Data has more value when shared then turned into knowledge to become actionable intelligence
  3. Through the right technology and a collaborative team mentality, data center professionals gain individual recognition and all benefit from collective success
  4. In the data center space, the data is available – but to turn data into knowledge it requires consolidated data and big data analytics across all the data. Processes and analytics skills are required – and more importantly; time and resources – to get to the stage where you can carry out benchmarking between data sets, which in turn enables the various businesses to base their decisions on facts – not emotions or uneducated guesses.

As one of Norway’s Olympians told the New York Times,:

“If you have teammates who consistently lift you up, then the environment will make you happy. You’ll work harder and stay motivated. You’re giving yourself your best chance to win.”

With the right team and the right approach, a data center gold standard is in reach.

Time to think and act like a Viking to improve data center management.

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