Mark Gaydos, Chief Marketing Officer, Nlyte Software
As we look at the issues data centers will face in 2019, it’s clear that it’s not all about power consumption. There is an increasing focus on workloads, but, unlike in the past, these workloads are not contained within the walls of a single facility rather, they are scattered across multiple data centers, co-location facilities, public clouds, hybrid clouds and the edge. In addition, there has been a proliferation of devices scattered from microdata centers down to IoT sensors that are utilized by agriculture, smart cities, restaurants and healthcare. Due to this sprawl, IT infrastructure managers will need better visibility into the end-to-end network to ensure smooth workload processing.
If data center managers fail to obtain a more in-depth understanding of what is happening in the network, applications will begin to lag, security problems due to old versions of firmware will arise and non-compliance issues will be experienced. Inevitably, those data center managers who choose to not obtain a deep level of operational understanding will find their facilities in trouble because they don’t have the visibility and metrics needed to see what’s really happening.
You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Know
In addition to the aforementioned issues, if the network is not properly scrutinized with a high level of granularity, operating costs will begin to increase because it will become more and more difficult to obtain a clear understanding of all hardware and software pieces that are now sprawled out to the computing edge. Managers will always be held accountable for all devices and software running on the network no matter where it is located. However, those managers who are savvy enough to deploy a technology asset management (TAM) system will avoid many hardware and software problems with the ability to collect more in-depth information. With more data collected, these managers now have a single source of truth—for the entire network—to better manage security, compliance and software licensing.
Additionally, a full understanding of the devices and configurations responsible for processing workloads across this diverse IT ecosystem will help applications run smoothly. Managers need a TAM solution to remove many challenges that inhibit a deep dive into the full IT ecosystem because today, good infrastructure management is no longer only about the cabling and devices neatly stacked within the racks. Now, data center managers need to grasp how a fractured infrastructure, spread across physical and virtual environments, is still a unified entity that impacts all workloads and application performance.
Finding the Truth in Data
The ability to view a single source of truth gleaned from data gathered across the entire infrastructure sprawl, will also help keep OPEX costs in check. Deploying a TAM solution combines financial, inventory and contractual functions to optimize spending and support lifecycle management. Being armed with this enhanced data set promotes strategic, balance sheet decisions.
Data center managers must adjust how they view and interact with their total operations. It’s about looking at those operations from the applications first—where they’re running—then tracing it back through the infrastructure. With a macro point-of-view, managers will now be better equipped to optimize the workloads, at the lowest cost, while also ensuring the best service level agreements possible.
It’s true, no two applications ever run alike. Some applications may need to be in containers or special environments due to compliance requirements and others may move around. An in-depth understanding of the devices and the workloads that process these applications is critically important because you do not want to make wrong decisions and put an application into a public cloud when it must have the security and/or compliance required from a private cloud.
Most organizations will continue to grow in size and as they do, the IT assets required to support operations will also increase in number. Using a technology asset management system as the single source of truth is the best way to keep track and maintain assets regardless of where they are residing on today’s virtual or sprawled-out networks. Imagine how difficult it would be to find these answers if your CIO or CFO came to you and asked the following questions—without a TAM solution in place:
- Are all our software licenses currently being used and are they all up to date?
- How many servers do we have running now and how many can we retire next quarter?
- Our ERP systems are down and the vendor says we owe them $1M in maintenance fees before they help us. Is this correct?
IT assets will always be dynamic and therefore must be meticulously tracked all the time. Laptops are constantly on the move, servers are shuffled around or left in a depleted zombie state and HR is constantly hiring or letting employees go. Given that data center managers must now share IT asset information with many business units, it’s imperative that a fresh list is continually maintained.
We are all embarking upon a new digital world where the essence of network performance resides on having a level of interrelationship understanding for hardware to software, that previous IT managers never had to contend with. Leveraging new tools for complete network and workload visibility will provide the full transparency necessary to ensure smooth operations in our distributed IT ecosystem.
Mark Gaydos is CMO at Nlyte where he oversees teams that help organizations understand the value of automating and optimizing how they manage their computing infrastructure.