Data centres: Don’t be cheap, but squeeze out all the value you can
By Benjamin Cher August 4, 2016
- DCIM a better option in the face of commoditisation, price pressures
- Can also help ‘green’ data centres and balance energy savings with availability
THE increasing demand for processing power has led to an explosion in data centres, which in turn has led to increased competition around price, but focusing merely on lower prices would be a short-sighted move by such operators, according to one industry player.
In fact, data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) would be a better way to squeeze value out of your investment, argues Wesley Lim, director of the DCIM business in Asia for Emerson Network Power.
“DCIM … is no longer seen as a ‘good-to-have’ but rather a vital and essential component in a data centre,” he says, speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
“In the past, customers gravitated towards DCIM solutions for applications such as monitoring, capacity management, inventory and planning.
“Recently we have observed a shift towards looking at DCIM as a tactical tool, with customers purchasing solutions for bigger and more strategic deals,” he adds.
DCIM allows a company to reduce the total cost of ownership – it can be linked directly to a data centre’s building and maintenance costs, according to Lim (pic).
But it is not just cost pressures driving DCIM adoption – there is also compliance, as companies seek to monitor their data centre operations more closely.
“Another trend that we are observing is the rise in popularity for DCIM as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, due to the growing need for regulatory compliance in South-East Asia,” says Lim.
“For example, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has [new] data centre requirements for the financial industry, and [these companies] need to know where their data is placed.
“Coupled with the trend of colocation and multi-tenancy – where we see multiple portals which require integration and remote access – we are seeing an increasing demand for enhanced monitoring in data centres,” he adds.
But cost remains a major concern, especially as traditional data centres are seeing increasing competition from colocation as well as cloud providers.
“As such, they now need to compete on price, operational metrics and efficiency, and these metrics can only be provided by software,” Lim declares.
Data centres remain power hogs, and trying to ‘green’ it can be a challenge for today’s operators, with the lack of industry metrics seen as a hurdle, according to Emerson Network Power’s Asia vice president of Products and Solutions Chee Hoe Ling (pic).
“Without a clear roadmap to achieving sustainability, it might be difficult to even know where to start when it comes to addressing energy issues,” he says.
“To overcome this, it would be good to first focus on the efficiency of your current assets and identify electricity-drawing areas through DCIM.
“Understanding how IT assets are configured and managed would be the first step to improving efficiency in a data centre,” he adds.
Another related challenge in ‘greening’ data centres is managing the balance between availability and efficiency, according to Chee.
“To improve power utilisation efficiency without compromising on availability, data centre providers can consider implementing sustainability practices in the data centre ecosystem,” he says.
“For a start, comatose servers can be a source of energy wastage – being able to identify and decommission them would open up opportunities for energy savings.
“Data centre providers should also take a proactive approach to improving data centre efficiency by choosing to adopt cooling with maximum economisation, and increasing the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar,” he adds.
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