Asset Management Strategies for the Modern Data Center
Central repositories and zone management are key
Full transparency into IT and telecommunications infrastructure is critical to ensure IT processes run smoothly. To gain this transparency, organizations must first gain control of their valuable assets — whether owned, leased, or cloud-enabled. Identifying and visualizing complex units of value is fundamental for the life cycle management of IT assets.
Modern IT structures are also becoming increasingly difficult to control due to the disparate locations of IT assets and their components. The majority of the time, asset locations are not properly documented due to time and cost pressures. To stay in control, it’s necessary to maintain up-to-date and accurate information on current resources, their relationships, and available capacities.
Identifying Bundled IT Assets
Documenting and managing IT assets in modern data centers is becoming increasingly complex due to multiple heterogenous units grouped together to form an asset. A server, for example, is a bundled IT asset that has a multitude of attachable and detachable components, such as network cards. The rack in which a server resides in is also a complex and convertible asset unit in regard to its power, cooling, and monitoring capabilities.
Furthermore, the floor tiles racks stand on are not just metal plates anymore. Data centers now have fully-automated TwinFloor plates powered by sensors to optimize cooling, which makes them a multi-component asset. These complex assets and their interdependencies each have their own maintenance schedules and service life cycles, making documenting and managing them a difficult task.
State-of-the-art applications with microservice architecture and distributed storage are even more challenging to monitor since these asset components don’t reside solely within the data center infrastructure. Some parts reside on public cloud infrastructure while the database runs within a private cloud operation stack.
Unfortunately, if an asset isn’t easy to identify, then it also isn’t easy to manage. This disparity can negatively impact IT services, business processes, customer satisfaction, and the ability to assign and reassign assets to newly designed digitized solutions.
The best way to manage bundled assets is to implement a central repository that provides a broad and flexible data model, a strong asset life cycle management approach, and exceptional visualization capabilities. This defines, monitors, and manages IT assets and their interrelationships in one, comprehensive data repository. This system should leverage the data repository to keep track of all IT assets whether they are in operation or sitting in a warehouse as a prefabricated asset assembly unit. Accounting for assets not in service is equally important, as it enables a quick response for asset provisioning to digitized services.
It addition to documenting the assets and configuration items within the IT and telecommunications infrastructure that are needed to provide high-value IT services, the central repository should also interlink all assets to improve the overall quality of the IT environment and accelerate the time it takes to plan, implement changes, and resolve issues. Finally, the ideal repository should have planning tools that oversee these assets for their entire lifecycle to accurately track and document the value and availability of all complex IT assets and configuration items.
As IT assets are constantly traveling throughout enterprise locations and organizational structures, implementing a comprehensive zone management solution is critical to keep track of assets, service life cycles, and user responsibilities.
As relocation can affect assets like servers, routers, racks, and even cabinets — all physical, logical, and virtual relationships between IT services and service assets in their current and planned states must be documented. When changing assignments to different users (from local administrators not belonging to the IT team to responsible department heads to cost centers for controlling purposes), documentation is crucial to keep track of updated user responsibilities throughout the organization.
Implementing a flexible zone management tool will provide a holistic and transparent overview of all current and planned components within the IT infrastructure. Therefore, all relationships between assets on the physical, logical, and virtual levels can be modeled as part of a fully integrated system in accordance with the task in hand. Responsibilities across the organization can even be documented for accelerated production processes using automated workflows. In addition to organizing IT infrastructure more effectively, planning scenarios can be created based on accurate, up-to-date information.
Overall, maintaining a transparent view of IT infrastructure is vital for workflow efficiency and delivering high-quality services. Utilizing a central repository to manage IT assets and a zone management solution to document relocations and user responsibilities is the key to maintaining an optimum balance between all variables.