I don't think anyone would disagree that monitoring a data center from utility input to the server is a good idea. Certainly more data is better…right? Data enables us to see where there is an issue, forecast potential failures, plan for maintenance, and ultimately calculate PUE. While I'm certain that my short list of benefits does not do the value of data justice, it does bring me to my real question… to what end are we collecting all this data?
Over the past few years we've seen a flurry of activity as companies acquire others in the monitoring space. Some even speak of monitoring and "control" (which to me has its own frightening implications… the last thing I'd want is having non-technical personnel with access to my data center controls). Others speak of open architecture, middleware, DCIM, and other fancy terms.
What I'd like to know is – what's at the core of this flurry? Who is driving all this development? Is it the true data center operators or the equipment suppliers looking for a way to differentiate themselves because they see the UPS being commoditized? I mean, let's face it… once a problem has been identified; someone still has to fix it…right? What benefit is all this fancy software when a breaker fails to trip. Ooops! Nothing replaces good, old fashioned maintenance plans, procedures and practices.
So maybe I'm missing something. I put this question to all of my data center readers...
What information do you want to see in a monitoring package?
How will you use this information or how does this information make your life easier?
What (if any) parts of your infrastructure do you want to control?
Who should have such access?
Where should this kind of access be available?
As you write your response, please include a little about the size of your data center so that we can appreciate your comments in the proper context.