A study from Emerson Power has found that although the use of data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) is improving it still lacks the level of insight required to improve data centre availability, enhance efficiency and manage capacity.
The research is the result of a survey of more than 240 US data centre professionals from a variety of industries. The main conclusion was that lack of visibility into system utilisation, absence of documented efficiency strategies, and lack of functionality within management systems were acting as barriers to optimising data centre performance.
The study findings included:
92% of respondents had virtualised at least some of their servers, but 44% still expect the number of physical servers in their data centre to increase over the next three years.
Only 2% believe all servers in the data centre will be virtualised in the next three years.
65% are using less than 70% of their computing capacity, but nevertheless 57% plan to add additional servers in the next three years.
The most commonly used management tools in the data centre are facility monitoring (65%), equipment tracking (54%), and cooling management (53%).
Least commonly used are tracking virtual machines (28%) and IT capacity management (27%). Less than a quarter (24%) of respondents has achieved any integration between virtual and physical management platforms.
It’s all a bit disappointing really. It’s clear that more companies are making use of virtualisation, but only up to a point and they’re not keeping track of it. At the same time, they are increasingly monitoring what’s going on in their data centres, but again, only in a piecemeal fashion. If anything it looks like the focus is on the non-IT energy use, e.g. cooling, rather than IT efficiency. Maybe it’s an attempt to achieve a better PUE, but there can still be wasted energy in the IT infrastructure itself – the levels of under-utilisation seem to bear that out.
What it shows is that there is still a long way to go to get real green IT in data centres. The way Blake Carlson, VP global IT markets, for the Avocent business of Emerson Network Power, put it was; “If you compare managing a data centre to flying an airplane, what we are seeing now is that organisations are no longer willing to fly without instruments—as they have done for the past twenty years—but have not quite reached the point of automation”. It seems to me that ‘automation’ is still a long way off.