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Data Center Design: Planning Software for Data Center Operations

Most data centers today utilize modern planning software tools. These tools are a good way for an organization to optimize their data center and ensure that it will run without problems. Most of tools, when used properly, can actually prevent or minimize the occurrence of downtime. For some large data center operations this can amount to up to one million dollars per 90 minutes of downtime, as stated by research conducted by Uptime Institute. One thing many organizations and data center managers fail to understand is that even with the proper planning and tools the use of such software would be a waste of the money and time for an organization if IT staff or data center managers fail to make the right decision during a crisis situation.

The bottom line is that despite the promises of the software, which are realistic and can be realized by data centers, it all depends on the data center managers. Ultimately, it is up to the data center manager to make all the decisions and planning. This means that the software can only be utilized to the extent that the individual using it is capable of. This is typically when the problem tends to come up. Some data center managers are not very good at the whole decision making process. So, despite the use of modern software, the data center can still remain inefficient.

It is important for data center managers to understand how their way of thinking and decision making process plays a crucial role in the proper use of data center operation software. It is best to evaluate their decision making process in relation to the use of the software. Here are a couple ways to understand the decision making process behind data center operations planning software tools.

Understand what the planning software tools do

The planning software today is a lot different from the old tools which were used by data center managers in the past. Basically, software planning tools were developed for easy use and better management of data center operations. The new planning software tools can provide a graphical representation of the data center design. Although not all software is the same, generally they all provide a graphical representation or image of the data center design. These images or the graphics from the data center include information about each unit, including cooling systems or even servers as they relate to the racks.

You should look at this as more than just a “picture” of your data center. Virtually, it is your data center. Everything that is happening inside the data center is translated into the image and every change that is implemented can be seen in the graphical representation. In other words, it can predict what will happen for any given scenario. This is a very important function in the planning process that can be used to prevent downtime.

How to make the right decision based on what you see

To see is to believe. Although many data center operators and managers do not believe this, despite what they see on their monitor, some still fail to make the right decisions in the data center. Data center managers have tools and software that allow them to view an image of the data center and all the information inside of it, however they still choose to do what they feel is best and not what actually is. Data center managers used to have to make a lot of mathematical computations to have an accurate understanding of their systems, now the information is offered to them to assist in the decision making process.

So, given that all the information needed to arrive at the right decision and to create an effective plan for the data center design, the first thing that should be done is to prioritize. Supposing that the main priority is to have an efficient cooling system, planning software can categorize the information needed and allow data center managers to set priorities. If your priority is cost efficiency, data center managers can use the data to create a cost effective data center. The next thing to take into consideration would be the business objective of the organization. Third, identify problems. Identifying problems by utilizing the simulation capability of the software can help in solving or preventing such problems. With these three approaches an organization will be able to have a good decision making process, one that meets the objective of your data center and at the same time meets the objective of your business.

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