Data centers increase in complexity as redundancy and higher power per rack designs are introduced. Managing the modern data center environment is spawning a new type of business critical application which I often refer to as a “critical facilities application”.
The modern day BMS is a new type of application that supplies information about the operating data center. The BMS and its architecture match traditional IT systems with application servers and databases.
With a focus on efficiency, electrical and mechanical monitoring are becoming more complex with trending features, real-time PUE monitoring, and more points in more systems.
This convergence in application sophistication mirrors the converging disciplines of IT and Facilities professionals. The IT workers are becoming interested in BMS data and Facilities professionals are looking more at IT server based monitoring points.
With overlapping needs for data the two organizations are at most need of collaborative efforts. In other words, Facilities professionals are typically not router/server/storage/database experts and IT professionals are typically not electrical/mechanical/plumbing experts! BMS applications are spanning the two disciplines.
New needs are also surfacing for network administrators who may be caught in the middle of the resource management struggle. Being asked to do more is apropos for network professionals who may find themselves explaining that vlans are effective at isolating BMS traffic and physical device separation may not needed.
What is driving this change and convergence? Simply put Moore’s Law. Electrical/mechanical components are becoming more instrumented for monitoring and control. IT hardware is, in turn, demanding the more granular facility management to further the use of new technology (multi-core processors, higher RAM quantities, and more storage).
The Stack Framework can be applied to understand the changing needs of BMS and monitoring solutions for technology coordination and for determining metrics important to you and your business for each stack layer in your data center. Take a look at the stack and use it to have a conversation with counterparts interested in BMS, server, and network data. Use the stack to pin-point areas of responsibility overlap and work out who does what.
The future will continue the commoditization and convergence of data center technologies. Professionals working in the data center space should be prepared to collaborate and become more multi-focused. Technology doesn't solve problems, people do. Efficiency is not a single person's or department’s problem to solve and collaboration with data sharing is a great step into the future of data centers!