Information. Information. Information. Is that all a data centre manager needs?

Written by Robbie McGhie, CTO, VIRTUS Data Centres Published 2016-10-26 07:58:00

We’re told by all the leading analysts that successful data centres revolve around information. But that’s not where it ends; merely having the information without any processing is like joining a gym and then not going – there are no benefits, just expense.

Yes, we need information but it has to be meaningful and it has to guide you.

As any services manager knows, the amount of information available from on-premise systems, environmental controls, hosted data centres, SaaS applications and cloud resources would overwhelm even the most organised group.

To achieve optimal efficiencies, data centre providers need to be totally transparent.

Presenting information in a logical, meaningful and easy to manage format is a goal that we strive to meet and exceed at our data centres. It’s what drove us to create the VIRTUS Intelligent Portal (VIP), a powerful Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool, so that we could extend the same information that we see, back out to our customers. Being able to see real-time, targeted information on space, power and cooling, gives users the information needed to drive innovation and achieve the lowest total cost of services. A business operating system like this enables IT and Site Operation team members to better optimise their time, allowing them to dedicate their technical skills to running key business operations instead of wasting valuable time on administration duties.

What we hadn’t realised was the positive effect that it would have on our own business. As with every business, we need to be successful to continue providing our customers and colleagues with the highest quality solutions and services. VIP is provided using the Federos platform from our partners at TDB Fusion, and we were able to seamlessly incorporate our latest data centre, LONDON4, into our operation. In line with the common business objective of growth, we now have a platform to ease expansion and retaining profitability and business control.

This is all very well and good, but what of all that information we deliver to all users via their personalised dashboards? It’s back to the gym analogy – a training programme needs tweaking and so does data centre usage. Seeing real-time usage information across the VIRTUS data centre estate was the first step, moving into areas including capacity planning, billing, SLA management, and Client ticket dashboards. Utilizing the clear benefit of a centralised intelligent management system also enables us to build Crisis Management and Business Continuity processes within the tool to a more automated exercise that greatly reduces potential risk as well as vastly improving time to react, manage and communicate.

But what of the future? The fundamental objective is flexibility. Having been ranked 16th fastest growing technology company in the 2016 Hiscox Sunday Times Tech 100, managing change is fundamental to our operation. New requirements, new provisioning and new challenges: All need to be planned for, implemented and managed, and by investing in innovative technologies like Federos, we have the tools which will allow us to continue to innovate as our customers’ and business requirements change over time. After all, what good is it building and supporting the best team to operate the best sites if you don't provide them with best tools to do their job?

So yes, information has been and will always be key.