A 2017 Strategy Playbook for Data Center Managers

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A 2017 Strategy Playbook for Data Center Managers

Doing business requires strategy, and strategy requires enterprise management to make the right decisions and follow up with implementations. For example: It's almost time to launch the project on which the company has been working so hard. Your data center is in place and ready to handle the huge amounts of traffic you're expecting. But is it really ready? The makers of 2016's hottest mobile game, Pokémon GO, thought so before it crashed due to unforeseen traffic. Many companies don't use solutions such as real-time analytics or automation tools to mitigate and manage unexpected upticks. This eWEEK slide show, using industry information from Jeff Klaus, general manager of Intel Data Center Solutions, and Kim Poulsen, vice president and general manager of Schneider Electric Digital Services and Data Center Software, offers some data center manager plays to deploy and others to avoid.

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Play to Avoid: C-Suite Speaking a Different Language Than IT

Bottom-line business success hinges on the data center manager's ability to adequately manage and monitor the company's infrastructure. However, to many in the C-suite, the data center merely "keeps the lights on" for the company, overlooking the fact that an average outage can cost the organization up to a $1 million or more. With the potential of serious financial loss on the table, senior executives who don't learn to speak the same language of the IT team are taking a huge risk. If they've yet to take the time to understand the needs, concerns and challenges regularly faced by data center managers, they will fail to realize the success of the IT team translates to the success of the business.

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Play to Avoid: Forgetting to Use Real-Time Analytics

In this always-on/connected era where unexpected spikes in usage are becoming the new normal, using real-time analytics within the data center is the key to thriving in this new and increasingly complex landscape. Forgetting to do so puts the data center at a disadvantage and often leaves data center teams to play catch-up. Real-time analytics allow data center operators to work agilely by monitoring data center workloads in real time and making adjustments as needed, on demand.

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Play to Avoid: Not Using Automation to Replace Manual Processes

Running water replaced the need to fetch buckets of water each morning. The washing machine replaced the need to hand wash and dry laundry. The typewriter replaced handwriting. Innovation throughout the years has a common thread: replacing a once tedious or manual process with one that does the task/job in a more efficient, timely manner. No different is automation in the data center, allowing data center operators to recoup roughly 40 percent of their work week that had previously been allocated to manual processes. These include living in a spreadsheet or physically walking the data center floor with a measuring tape. Note that 43 percent of data centers still rely on manual processes for capacity planning and forecasting.

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Game-Winning Move: Use Your Own Product

Dogfooding, the practice of testing and deploying a solution within the same company that it was developed, is a quick way to land on the nice list. Not only does this allow you to test the product and work out any bugs or problem areas before it's rolled out to customers and in the public domain, but it also allows companies to deploy their own solutions to help solve real business needs at a fraction of the cost. It may not be true for every enterprise, but often the best solutions can be found and actively deployed internally.

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Game-Winning Move: Introduce New IoT Devices

Determine how to use the internet of things (IoT) within the data center to help gather more data and make more informed decisions as well as have a holistic 360-degree view of infrastructure and performance. IoT is commonly associated with wearables, connected cars or all things mobile, but the introduction of IoT technologies, or those with an IP address, is also occurring within the data center itself. How? New technology and sensors that help monitor changes within the data center warehouse environment are helping DCMs obtain more data about how their data center is performing while also giving them insight on where they may need to make adjustments or changes.

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Game-Winning Move: Set Routine Assessments of the Data Center

Each year you get a call from your doctor asking you to come in for your routine yearly visit. Like it or not, your own health is a priority, and annual visits to the doctor for regular health checks ensure that your health is being maintained. As an ever-changing and developing entity, the data center requires regular "health checks" to help DCMs stay at the pulse of their data center in order to maintain business continuity.

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Game-Winning Move: Use 'Active Policy Management' Alongside Alerts

In addition to alerts about peaks in usage, thermal spikes or ghost servers, data center managers can use APM (active policy management) to control the data center in real time.

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