Are You Making a Consolidated Effort to Improve Performance?

4 January, 2018

Organizational infrastructure networks gradually lose efficiency for many reasons: technological developments, new hardware, personnel changes, and even data legislation updates. These changes occur over a data center’s lifecycle, and eventually every site must be redesigned from the ground up – but this comes at considerable expense!

In the meantime, there are many techniques that data center operators can utilize to ensure their sites will run as efficiently as possible - one of which is consolidation. According to the Data Center Alliance, 62% of data centers are undergoing consolidation efforts at any one time.

Less is More

A consolidation project can reduce operational costs, increase energy efficiency and improve security and compliance, while also eliminating the need to buy additional storage space. Alternatively, it can be an attractive option for companies looking to migrate their data storage to colocation providers while keeping a reduced data storage functionality on-premise or in a proprietary DC.

As such, the consolidation process can be highly complex. It raises a number of considerations, such as the placement of incoming hardware, its power, space and cooling demands, and its resilience to failure. With these issues in mind, Facilities Managers and IT executives undergoing consolidation may face some difficult questions:

  • Do we move IT in existing cabinets, or install new ones?
  • How do we move from low-density cabinets to high-density? 
  • Do we need to install containment?
  • Do we need to change the set-points (airflow and temperature) to accommodate the new layout?
  • Do we need to upgrade our existing cooling infrastructure?

The answers to these questions will vary depending on each project. However, experimenting via trial and error is prohibitively expensive and - in most cases - far too risky. Future Facilities offers an innovative way to approach this problem.

To plan for consolidation efficiently, you must be able to accurately predict what will happen when you make changes to your facility. Key to this is the use of data center management software powered by engineering simulation - specifically, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to predict cooling, along with power system simulation (PSS). Our engineering simulation solutions allow you to predict the impact of any data center change in a safe, offline environment, meaning you can test potential changes without fear of the consequences.

In the images below, the plan is to deploy several cabinets in the space available within a legacy data center. Simulation can be used to establish whether this will work, and, if not, what resources are available to resolve issues. There may be gross cooling and power, but local variation could still cause problems. If power delivery is accomplished with the correct circuits, you still need to ensure that the right amount of air is delivered to the cabinets. If local power and cooling are available, the weight limit may be restricted so you can only deploy a group of cabinets in a specific area or zone. Getting it right first time is extremely difficult, and without simulation there is no way to test before you implement.

In the two pictures shown above, Option A seems like a much better choice than B. This type of foresight is essential to ensure consolidation efforts are done right the first time. 

Time Costs Capacity

When undertaking consolidation projects, you must also consider time pressures. Companies implementing projects and services while facing tight deadlines are more likely to take shortcuts in their operational planning.

Essentially, companies are selling themselves short on capacity to meet deadlines. According to a previous Gartner study, a fragmented approach to capacity planning leads to a significant capacity reduction, often forcing the construction of a new data center before it is really needed.

Our data center management tool, which integrates CFD, DCIM, and all facets of capacity planning, can help you to avoid this. Optimizing speed, power and weight compliance across a singular platform can bring project times down from days or weeks to hours, eliminating the need to choose between capacity and timescale.

For more information about how Future Facilities can help you with consolidating infrastructure, please visit our website.


Blog written by: Akhil Docca, Corporate Marketing & Product Strategy Manager

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