Rethinking Data Center Management

In a converged data center, IT staffs have to focus less on physical boxes and more on processes, protocols, procedures and policies.

When it comes to managing a converged data center, software and management tools are interwoven with hardware, services and best practices in a transparent manner. Instead of separating hardware, software and tools, they must be blended because in a converged data center, you cannot have hardware without software — and vice versa. Virtualization and cloud services rely on underlying physical resources, tools, people and best practices.

Management tools address an important IT requirement in a converged data center environment: the need for situational awareness of IT resources. This means having insight into how IT resources are being deployed in order to support business applications and meet service objectives in a cost-effective manner. Awareness of IT resource utilization provides the necessary insight for tactical and strategic planning and decision-making.

Put another way, effective management requires knowing not only what resources are at hand, but also how they are being used in order to decide where in the environment different applications and data should be placed to meet business requirements. Another important capability of converged data center management is visibility into common tasks, such as disaster recovery and data protection management (DPM), resource tracking, change management, and performance-capacity planning. The tools organizations use should provide the situational awareness for identifying resource allocation and utilization while providing insight into physical resource mappings in dynamic environments.

In addition, the right tools should enable coordinated workflow management, including workflow generation. Related to that, the workflow management function should help identify areas of the infrastructure in need of configuration change or remediation and streamline data and storage migration activities. Leveraging converged technology means managing resources differently. Instead of managing the physical box, cable or adapter, organizations must learn to manage the processes, protocols, procedures and policies. Moving to a converged infrastructure for cloud-based, virtual or physical data center environments means also moving to a model of converged or unified management.

Hybrid teams of professionals with server, storage, networking and software experience can identity procedural bottlenecks. Bottlenecks may be the result of a “that’s how it’s been done in the past” mindset toward a particular technology area. For example, storage area network personnel have traditionally focused on low latency, predictable performance and service delivery. In a converged data center, priorities can change, depending on the application or service, thanks to the virtualized nature of the underlying infrastructure.

For more information on managing data center convergence read the CDW•G white paper on Data Center Convergence.

Mar 22 2012

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