Data Center Operations Roundtable: To Stay Ahead of Problems, Work With Your End-User
by Josh Anderson
JERSEY CITY, NJ — Management and operations in the data center arena often comes down to mitigating risk. But at our recent Data Center Operations, Management, and Architecture Summit in New Jersey, we convened a panel of regional industry leaders to talk about how to foster a culture of innovation. Specifically, we touched base with a pair of data center operations experts about the systems that firms have in place to make sure they get ahead of any and all problems before their customers even know about them.
First up, we connected with Andrew Graham, Director for Data Center Solutions at the Critical Environments Group, who said that he always starts with his clients. “Really, a lot of them don’t have effective modeling tools in place,” he shared. “So we have to evaluate the monitoring tools that they have in place, and first build a baseline and determine what that looks like. Then, identify the problem areas and then start putting in the tools that will monitor real time data, so that they can have a real-time view of what their environment looks like. Continuing with those planning tools, we will then optimize the environment, and further extend their monitoring tools to have real time data monitoring. Finally, we’ll get to artificial intelligence and machine learning – that’s really the holy grail of helping them get ahead of the problem before it hits.”
Next, we heard from Charles Hoop, Category Lead for IT Sourcing and Procurement at Accenture, who pointed to transparency as the number one tool in his kit. “From a customer or end-user point of view, transparency is paramount in importance,” he said. “Anyone who thinks that there is no risk in a data center is fooling themselves. I know some end-users like to just focus on monitoring up-time. Well, it’s not our responsibility, as long as it’s up, everything is ok. That bury-your-head-in-the-sand approach, of not knowing where the risks are, is the wrong approach.”
Hoop said that he has seen an increase in transparency over the last couple of years, in terms of actually understanding where those risks are. “When I think of the question, how to get ahead of a problem before a customer even knows it’s happened…that concerns me a little bit,” he revealed. “As a customer, you don’t want to find out after the fact that something has happened. It’s best for us to be transparent. We think there’s an issue, this is what we’re going to do. And just from a “CYA” point of view, that’s a good approach to take. Just in case something does happen when you’re trying to fix it. You can’t say Well there was this thing we were trying to fix…”
“That transparency builds probably better trust with the end user, the customer, even if they’re not doing anything with the data,” he advised. “If you’ve just got a spreadsheet with a bunch of green lights next to it saying that you’ve checked a bunch of everything – that installed a bit of confidence. Even if there’s not necessarily someone qualified or interested on the end-user side to evaluate it, being transparent with everything that you’re doing is great, both from a real-time point of view and a forward point of view about what’s upcoming and that’ you’ll be working on it, and if there’s any critical situations of course. It can probably get you out of some liability as well as trust and understanding.”
Top Photo: Charles Hoop, Category Lead for IT Sourcing and Procurement, Accenture. Bottom photo: Attendees at CapRE’s Data Center Operations, Management, and Architecture Summit in Jersey City, New Jersey.