Data center management

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Data center management[1] is the collection of tasks performed by those responsible for managing ongoing operation of a data center[2] This includes Business service management and planning for the future.

Historically, data center management was seen as something performed by employees, with the help of tools collectively called Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools.[3] Now an outsourcing option exists: Data-center Management As A Service - DMaaS.[4]

Both for in-house operation and outsourcing, Service-level agreements must be managed to ensure data-availability.[5]


Data center management is a growing major topic for a growing list of large companies who both compete and cooperate:

Hardware/software vendors who are willing to live with coopetition[9][10] are working on projects such as "The Distributed Management Task Force" (DMTF)[11] with a goal of learning to "more effectively manage mixed Linux, Windows and cloud environments."

With the DMTF a decade old, the list of companies is growing, and also includes companies much smaller than IBM, Microsoft, et al.[12]


Among the topics currently being explored are:[13]

  • Scalability
  • Securing Data Center Networks
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Government restrictions[14]
  • Estimated cost of downtime regarding:
    • Personnel & productivity[15]
    • Customer dissatisfaction and business loss[16]

Business service management[edit]

Business service management (BSM) treats IT as part of the larger enterprise strategy,[17] and helps fill the gap between Business & IT.[18]

IBM notes that major problems often happen in the grey areas, particularly due to errors in the interfaces, and focuses on critical failures. Sufficient redundancy should allow failures in non-critical areas to protect the business from being affected.[18]


Tools that help BSM include:

  • A modeling language[19]
  • A common dashboard, allowing the data center to see problems before business customers do.[20]

Newer developments[edit]

Remote Data Center Management[21] allows offsite experts to watch for situations needing their timely intervention at a lower cost than having such staff be onsite 24/7/365.

Furthermore, there is more recognition that while some requirements for on-site hardware have been reduced,[22] spending in other hardware areas such as UPS may have to increase.[23]

Data center infrastructure management[edit]

Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is the integration[24] of information technology (IT) and facility management disciplines[25] to centralize monitoring, management and intelligent capacity planning of a data center's critical systems. Achieved through the implementation of specialized software, hardware and sensors, DCIM enables common, real-time monitoring and management platform for all interdependent systems across IT and facility infrastructures.

DCIM products can help data center managers identify and eliminate sources of risk[26] and improve availability of critical IT systems. They can also be used to identify interdependencies between facility and IT infrastructures to alert the facility manager to gaps in system redundancy, and provide dynamic, holistic benchmarks on power consumption and efficiency to measure the effectiveness of "green IT" initiatives.[27][28]

It's important to measure and understand data center metrics, including those regarding energy efficiency and utilization of servers, storage, and staff. In too many cases, disc capacity is vastly under-utilized and servers run at 20% utilization or less.[29] More effective automation tools can also improve the number of servers or virtual machines that a single admin can handle.

DCIM providers are increasingly linking with computational fluid dynamics providers to predict complex airflow patterns in the data center. The CFD component is necessary to quantify the impact of planned future changes on cooling resilience, capacity and efficiency.[30]

Preventive maintenance[edit]

Preventive maintenance (or preventative[31] maintenance (PM)) is ongoing scheduled[32] inspection[33] intended to detect and correct incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major problemssuch as downtime.

Managing the capacity of a data center[edit]

Capacity of a datacenter - Life Cycle

With the increasing use of "the cloud" and what has been called "the Era of Infinite Capacity",[34] there is still a need for professional Data Center Capacity Planners.[35]

There is a need to know what will be needed, and when.[36] Data must continually be collected regarding usage of power/energy, computing power, data storage and networking/telecommunications. Plans must include awareness of cooling and space requirements.

Sometimes analysis of this data, and comparison to industry norms, can be outsourced.[36] The balance for the need to focus more on data collection[37] or analysis depends on current utilization levels: prior to 50%, the focus can stay more on data collection. Beyond 75%, the focus must shift to analysis, in preparation for upgrades, replacements and expansions. The data center is a resource in its own right.[38]

Top data centers and service providers[edit]

According to Cloudscene’s Leaderboard for Q1 2018, data center operators are ranked “based on both data center density (total operated data centers)", as well as "the number of listed service providers in the facility". Cloud service providers are ranked based on "connectivity (the total number of PoPs) for the region.” Chosen from a pool of more than 6,000 providers, the rankings are as follows:[39]

Q1, 2018 Top Data Center Operators Worldwide
Rank North America EMEA Oceania Asia
1 Equinix Equinix Equinix Equinix
2 Digital Realty Interxion NEXTDC Global Switch
3 CoreSite Telehouse Vocus Communications NTT Communications
4 Zayo Digital Realty Global Switch GPX Global Systems
5 Level 3 Communications Global Switch YourDC ST Telemedia Global Data Centres
6 Cologix Level 3 Communications Macquarie Telecom Netmagic Solutions
7 Cyxtera itconic iseek AIMS
8 TierPoint Colt Technology Services Interactive Digital Realty
9 Netrality Properties Nikhef Datacom Telstra
10 QTS Realty Trust Orange Business Services Data Centre Limited OneAsia Network
Q1, 2018 Top Service Providers Worldwide
Rank North America EMEA Oceania Asia
1 Zayo Colt Technology Services Telstra Colt Technology Services
2 Level 3 Communications EuNetworks Vocus Communications PCCW Solutions
3 Verizon Cogent Communications PIPE Networks Tata Communications
4 Crown Castle Zayo Optus PCCW Global
5 AT&T Level 3 Communications NextGen Group Telstra
6 Cogent Communications BT AAPT NTT Communications
7 CenturyLink Interoute Megaport Superloop
8 XO Communications Verizon Superloop Zenlayer
9 Comcast Orange Business Services Zencross Connect China Telecom
10 TW Telecom NL-IX Uecomm Singtel

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What Startups in Amazon's Ecosystem Should Learn From VMware". The New York Times. their existing data center management ...
  2. ^ "Data Center Management".
  3. ^ Ann Bednarz (May 24, 2018). "Data center management - What does DMaaS deliver that DCIM doesn't". Network World.
  4. ^ "The future of Data Center Management: From DCIM to DMaaS". June 15, 2018.
  5. ^ "What is a Service Level Agreement". Datamation. April 17, 2017.
  6. ^ "Dell Makes Moves to Survive in Cloud-Centric World". August 21, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Google and I.B.M. Join in 'Cloud Computing' Research". The New York Times. October 8, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c "Yahoo, Intel and HP Form Cloud Computing Labs". The New York Times. July 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "Coinages That Last". The New York Times. August 9, 2003. Many buzzwords, like coopetition and thought-leading,
  10. ^ "The Online Travel Landscape Is Getting Crowded". November 7, 2005. ... which Internet analysts love to call "coopetition.".
  11. ^ "Meeting virtualization management challenges". The New York Times. October 27, 2008.
  12. ^ The Times article mentions "a crop of next-tier vendors, start-ups and open source players."
  13. ^ "Data Center Management". The Data Center Journal. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Matt Hancock (October 26, 2018). "Power struggle". Computer Weekly. a row is brewing over an EU plan to curb datacentre energy use
  15. ^ David Gewirtz (May 30, 2017). "The astonishing hidden and personal costs of IT downtime (and how predictive analytics might help)".
  16. ^ "Flights Cancelled for more than 75,000 passengers".
  17. ^ "What is business service management (BSM)?".
  18. ^ a b Jenko Gaviglia. "Business Service Management" (PDF).
  19. ^ A. K. Ghose. "The business service representation language" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Targeting hybrid IT environments." Bednarz. June 2010.
  21. ^ "Remote Data Center Management".
  22. ^ Quentin Hardy (November 17, 2012). "Hard Times Could Create a Tech Boom".
  23. ^ "In 2014, Proactive UPS Maintenance is Essential for all Data Center Managers" (PDF). UPS-redundant configurations, providing backups for backups that have their own backups.
  24. ^ "Tracking All the Data: Data Center Infrastructure Management ..." ECmag. (DCIM) software enables ... integration ...
  25. ^ "Data Center Infrastructure Management - Data Center Handbook".
  26. ^ "Measure and manage the risk inherent in your IT infrastructure". Network World. August 13, 2010.
  27. ^ Tom Coughlin (September 9, 2018). "Green Computing And Storage". Forbes.
  28. ^ "Mission: Green Computing" by Supermicro Introduces Total Cost". August 20, 2018.
  29. ^ "Measuring Data Center Efficiency: Easier Said Than Done". Archived from the original on 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  30. ^ "Computational-Fluid-Dynamic (CFD) Analysis | Gartner IT Glossary". Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  31. ^ Ben Zimmer (April 18, 2010). "Wellness". The New York Times. Complaints about preventative go back to the late 18th century ... ("Oxford English Dictionary dates preventive to 1626 and preventative to 1655) ..preventive has won"
  32. ^ "What is Preventive Maintenance?".
  33. ^ "What is preventive maintenance?".
  34. ^ Samir Mehra (September 11, 2018). "Capacity Planning in the Era of Infinite Capacity".
  35. ^ "Data Center Capacity Planner Jobs, Employment". (job search). 293 Data Center Capacity Planner jobs available on
  36. ^ a b Thomas A. Limoncelli; Strata R. Chalup; Christina J. Hogan. "Room to grow: Tips for data center capacity planning". Computerworld.
  37. ^ since this consumes both computing and storage resources
  38. ^ J Xu; M Zhao; J Fortes; R Carpenter (2007). "On the use of fuzzy modeling in virtualized data center management".
  39. ^ "Cloudscene Rankings: Top Data Centers & Service Providers Worldwide". Cloudscene.