IT Managers Seeking - and Getting - More Help to Control Far-flung Assets

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-03-10

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-At Data Center World 2010 here in Music City, it's all about control.

We're talking control of data center footprints, carbon emissions, power consumption, equipment cooling, budgets, personnel, and myriad other things. Oh, yes: Control of the data itself also comes into this discussion.

Data center managers are finding themselves as backstops in the middle of a huge data surge, and it has to be kept under control. If it isn't, lots of valuable information will be lost, and in some cases, lost forever. Businesses can't afford that to happen.

Thus, IT managers and C-level executives with responsibility for an enterprise's IT are gaining more and more value all the time, largely because of all the new IT that is coming into place to enable business to work more efficiently. And all that new IT needs to be controlled.

One federal-government IT manager, who asked that his name not be used for this story, said that he and his staff at his data center know where their specific data is and how to access it all, but he also said that he knows of other agencies that have no idea exactly where their second- and third-tier data exists-whether it's on tape, disk or paper.

With the ever-increasing virtualization of hardware and software as data centers undergo facelifts and upgrades, more and more data is being literally spread to the corner of the Earth, and it's being broken up into chunks to protect its integrity. That may sound strange, that that's what happens in virtual machines and VM data storage.

The No. 1 most talked-about product genre at Data Center World is data center management software. Avocent, Aperture, AccessIT, BMC, EMC, Dell, Methode, nLyte, Aptare, Modius, Rackwise-those are just some of the companies coming to the fore with interesting products and services.

They all have one thing in common: enabling visibility into various parts of a data center so that managers can make sure everything's running as it should run. Some, such as Aperture, feature self-healing-type software that uses business intelligence to anticipate possible problems with servers or networking in a data center.

eWEEK has published a slide show highlighting some of these companies. Go here to check out some pictures.

Emerson's Aperture unveiled its new management package during this show. Go here to read details.

Rackwise also unveiled its latest product, Data Center Manager Version 3.5, at the AFCOM conference.

"Rackwise does with software what other vendors in the market today do with services," said Rackwise Director of Product Managment Bill Nelson. "This allows users to customize Rackwise to their needs, integrate with best-of-breed solutions already in their data center or network operations, and skip the rigid process required by other software and services packages.

"V3.5 can be deployed anywhere in the world remotely, and is fully functional within a matter of days."

This is where management software is going. Ideally, new-gen management software will work with legacy equipment, play nicely with all major platforms, is Web-based and portable, and isn't complicated to install and operate.

Also, it's nice if the package includes business analytics and reporting; many of them do.

Rackwise, which is a prime example of this new software, also includes:

  • Business service management, which analyze operational costs of business services by geographical location, customer, application, or any custom property;
  • Charge-back reporting, which charges back departments and customers by space, power, CPU utilization, or any user-defined metric, thus ensuring absolute accuracy;
  • Capacity forecasting, which watches and records trending on capacity and predicts future depletion date of power, space, cooling and weight.

For more information on Rackwise, go here.

Rocket Fuel