Today, most large enterprises depend entirely on their data centers for business. To achieve high availability and provide seamless access to business-critical services, enterprises run multiple data centers. A 2013 data center survey reveals that more than 82% of companies have two or more data center sites. However, the major problem that these enterprises face is gaining visibility into their data centers and managing them from a remote location.

Space is as costly as energy in data centers. In a Tier III data center, one square foot costs $900. Assume that a typical enterprise uses 10,000 sq ft of data center space to run its business. If it expands its data center footprint by 15% in a year, its costs would increase by $1,350,000 after one year. Space is critical, and the challenge for facilities managers and data center admins lies in scaling up their services without expanding their footprints.

To reduce space consumption, data center admins should have in-depth visibility into their data centers. They should be able to immediately find out how much space is occupied and how much is available for expansion. Though data center admins keep track of the data center devices through proper documentation, it does not meet today’s data center infrastructure management challenges.

Technologies such as virtualization, software defined networking (SDN), and software defined data centers (SDDC) help data center admins provision new servers and networks on the fly. However, those technologies pose a big challenge for data center administrators to document them properly. By the time an admin documents one change in the data center floor, a network is added, a device is removed, or some other new change is made and must be documented. Chances of errors are high if conventional documentation and visual modeling tools are used. A recent study reveals that human errors account for 48% of overall data center outages.

The major problem with data center documentation is that the documentation tools are manual, labor intensive, and error prone. Data center admins have to manually key in all the data for the tools they use. Similarly, these tools do not provide any intelligence. The “available space” calculation for each rack and for each floor has to be done manually. Admins have to sift through several document pages to locate a device. And the worst part is they only have a few minutes to locate it.

This is where virtual reality helps. By adopting a tool that can create realistic views of data center floors, facilities managers and data center admins can get a clear picture of the floor-rack-device relationship. Those views make it very easy for managers and admins to locate a device on a floor without wasting much time. If the tool can also intelligently calculate the used and available units on racks across the floors, facilities managers can quickly and easily identify the space available for expansion.

An ideal data center documentation and visual modeling tool should offer:

  • Realistic views of data center floors with racks and devices
  • Clear information of the available space at rack and floor levels
  • A search option to locate devices
  • Realistic views of data center floors on NOC screens
  • Integration with IT management solutions for real-time monitoring
  • Discovery and import options to add devices
  • Color-coded, live status views of devices on racks

The resulting insights into your data center and its space utilization could save you thousands of dollars. That’s the power of virtual reality to create cold, hard cash.