For an enterprise, the data center estate is one of its largest assets and is also one of the most expensive. With IT spending continuing to increase, budgets are being scrutinized. Elsewhere in the industry, organizations that operate colocation and cloud facilities will have seen a steady rise in customers over recent years and are looking for ways to improve performance while ensuring the best return on investment from infrastructure purchases.

This is where real-time operational intelligence (RTOI) comes into play. After all, buying new hardware is not always an option and could be an unnecessary expense as there are always ways to improve the operational efficiency of existing data centers.

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– Thinkstock / cybrain

Getting down to rack level

Environmental data is vital. Addressing the operational performance of a facility and its assets is equally important. Organizations should no longer sit on the fence. Having real-time data down to rack level to detect performance, highlight environmental concerns and to solve issues before they cause damage is a must have, not a luxury.

A poor performing server not only creates inefficiency and maintenance costs but if the issue is not addressed, the cost of downtime is damaging financially and to brand reputation.

Data traffic is only going to keep growing. Facilities need to be able to handle the effects on servers. Monitoring the environment closely and the use of RTOI could be the difference between catching a cooling leak or preventing a server overheating and having to spend time and money dealing with disaster recovery.

Audit accuracy

Physical assets are not exempt either. All areas of business are being held accountable and the data center is no different. Data center managers should be able to supply accurate audits of all data center assets – both on-site and colocated.

RTOI could be the difference between catching a cooling leak or preventing a server overheating and having to spend time and money dealing with disaster recovery.

Surprisingly, manual data collecting methods are still used in some facilities. This leads to error, missing assets and audits that are out of date before they are even completed. Manual audits are also extremely time consuming and can take weeks to complete – time that could be better spent monitoring facility performance.

Compliance is an important issue and manual methods do not provide the level of detail required of such a large investment. Accurate audits provide the information to oversee the data center, understand where savings can be made and how to improve operational efficiency.

The final area where RTOI is important is capacity. Accurate asset audits prevent unnecessary and expensive overprovisioning and enable managers to provide capacity where and when it is needed.

Service providers also have SLAs to meet and real-time monitoring and accurate audits provide the visibility and evidence required to ensure they reach targets.

Expect to see the board and executives asking for more from the data center in 2017, especially as dependence on its reliability increases. Knowledge and forewarning are the best tools to ensure service and real-time data and operational intelligence can provide the information to monitor the data center and improve efficiency.

Adrian Barker is general manager EMEA at RF Code