This decade has been all about innovation. The rise of next-generation technologies such as 5G, IoT, and edge computing is impacting data centers and the increasing demand for them.
The recent digital transformation caused by the pandemic has increased the demand for data. Not only did data usage increase, but a large number of new users joined. Global mobile data traffic is projected to reach 160 exabytes by 2025.
The data center has long played a vital role as an enterprise capacity booster. As a result, business dynamics are changing today, while the demand for data center deployments is growing exponentially. It also requires a new way of thinking about data center infrastructure.
Defining Data Center Operations
Data Center Operations refers to the systems, processes, and workflows used to operate data center facilities. These activities cover several areas, such as:
- Building, maintaining, and procuring data center infrastructure.
- IT system architecture design and security and
- Ongoing data center management, including compliance, auditing, and accounting for the data center organization.
This blog will look at the key elements of data center operations.
The Core Elements Of Data Center Operations
The following are the key elements of modern data center operations:
Data Center Design & Architecture
The physical design of the data center defines its efficiency of the data center. The best design needs to align with physical and technological constraints. Energy consumption is one of the key dimensions of data centers’ efficiency.
Optimizing the data center architecture for space requirements and ensuring good airflow can reduce energy consumption. Data centers around the world consume approximately 250 TWh of electricity each year. This corresponds to about 1% of the world’s electricity demand.
Here are some ways to optimize your data center architecture:
- Computational fluid dynamics software simulates airflow, power distribution, and heat transfer. This software pulls information from tracking tools. It also references a library detailing various IT equipment’s power and airflow characteristics. l Apply engineering simulation tools before finalizing or changing the spatial layout.
- Proceed to a design that optimizes heat and airflow.
Data Center Location
Geographic location is one of the factors involved in data center design. Data centers in colder regions benefit from natural cooling, which means lower maintenance costs. Additionally, the heat generated in the data center heats the water.
Some key geographic factors that ensure the reliability of the data centers are:
- Easy access to fire and rescue services.
- Location in Earthquake and flood-free zone.
Many cloud providers offer services that store data in multiple locations. However, data center disruptions can lead to temporary outages and reduced availability. Regulatory requirements often force companies to choose data centers in specific geographies.
Today’s data centers are evolving from monolithic mainframe systems to modern server architectures. Key infrastructure components include servers, CPUs, operating systems, and applications. Server virtualization and cloud computing account for 80% of all data center traffic.
Equally important is the supporting infrastructure, such as locks, to physically secure the data center. Some of them include the following:
- A rack for hosting a server. Rack configuration has a significant impact on efficiency and cooling.
- HVAC cooling system.
- Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) such as generators and battery banks.
- Utility infrastructure such as electrical bus bars.
The primary server could be rendered inoperable or stolen without such supporting infrastructure.
Many data centers operate inefficiently. On average, 30% of data center servers consume power without doing anything useful. Device utilization may drop below 10%.
Complexity is the leading cause of such inefficiency. Modern data centers have mature technology. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools should optimize such data centers.
The DCIM tool tracks and manages data center assets. These tools provide real-time insight into your device’s performance, including temperature, humidity, and airflow.
Advanced data centers use RFID tags to track and manage assets. These tags provide updates when the device state changes. The DCIM dashboard pulls information from such tags and provides a complete picture of the status of all components. Data center engineers use these integrated insights to manage their assets.
Systems & Processes
Managing a data center is different from managing a commercial office. A significant consideration in running a typical office is a cost-benefit analysis. A business operation can tolerate high risk if the cost-benefit analysis supports such risk. But in mission-critical facilities like data centers, failure is unacceptable.
To optimize your data center systems:
Streamline your processes:
- Evaluate each operational task for its impact on availability.
- Ensure effective work order and spare parts management.
- Consider external pressures such as Public Regulations and Customer Audits.
Automate the process: Managing and operating data center networks involves many complex tasks. However, such complexity is only sometimes fixed. The main reasons for complexity are error-prone manual processes and opacity. Automation and transparency reduce complexity. Prepare designs for automation by synchronizing sensor data with machine learning algorithms.
Document the process for clarity: Document management means keeping critical infrastructure records organized and updated. Monitor operations for adherence to procedures and record deviations.
Cultivate a “mission-critical mindset” focused on risk mitigation: A “mission-critical mindset” prioritizes risk mitigation in operations and maintenance activities. This includes proactively addressing all potential threats to system availability and security.
The Human Element
Despite the rise of automation, people are integral to data center operations. Human workers are required to install, maintain and operate data center facilities.
His 70% of data center failures are caused by human error. Poor operation and maintenance practices are the root cause of such human errors.
Eliminating human error requires recruiting and training competent personnel. Look for personnel with electrical, mechanical, fire protection, and quality control expertise. Invest in education to improve your skills. A related factor is data center security. Data centers are exposed to electrical, chemical, and mechanical security risks.
Proper identification and mitigation of such hazards help:
- Prevent injury to workers.
- Prevent interruption due to shutdown.
- Protect your data center from government fines.
Optimized data center operations are required to ensure operational efficiencies that provide a pleasant customer experience and give your business a competitive edge.
A data center is more than a secure facility with a space with reliable power and networks. They are becoming invaluable to many organizations and have proven to be a reliable extension of any IT team. As a result, Data centers are becoming a critical success factor in the modern business environment.