The naked truth on data center outages

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The naked truth on data center outages

Data centers have nowhere to hide in this digital age, so tools that help them avoid outages and understand exactly how they are performing are becoming critical.

Businesses operate in what’s becoming known as ‘the age of transparency’ – and this means data centers and how they perform is always visible to their customers. There’s an appetite for information, and an army of bloggers, journalists and activists willing to search for and share data, magnified by the ongoing rise of social media.

That’s why it’s so important for data center management to have a complete understanding of how things are performing, and be able to identify potential threats, because the naked truth is that any interruption to their service becomes immediately known.

In order to be able to pinpoint problems or possible threats to service, data center operators are under pressure to continually measure the performance of their servers. This usually happens in real time, and operators need to be really clear about what’s happening and why, so that they can:

  • Get the most out of what they have
  • Respond to any problems
  • Reassure customers and stakeholders

The key, for data center operators and their stakeholders, is clarity.

The DCIM response

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is a set of tools designed to help monitor and manage data center performance. They’re driving the monitoring and management of aspects like capacity planning, asset lifecycle management, uptime and availability, virtualisation and energy efficiency.

Monitoring UPS battery backups is also an important part of the DCIM mix. Battery management systems (BMS) can provide the level of transparency required, keeping track of the health and performance. Alerts and dashboards transform data into actionable information, as well as sending key information to control room and facility management systems like a DCIM.

The benefits of battery clarity

What data center operators want and need out of a BMS is confidence. The confidence that battery life is being maximised and any potential failures avoided.

Implementing a battery management system offers other key gains:

  • Planning – the greater the clarity around the likelihood replacement cycle for a battery, the easier this process and the lower risk of an expensive exception.
  • Independent proof – it gives the data center an independent evidence on whether batteries need to be replaced.

So why, then, would a data center choose not to use a BMS? In some cases, overwhelmed operational managers simply have too much to think about already, so they ignore alerts and reports on battery health. Others prefer to continue with manual battery monitoring as part of a maintenance schedule.

PowerShield has developed reporting services that complement their BMS, providing regular analysis and advice on battery health for data center managers. And it’s worth noting that manual battery monitoring is inefficient and prone to error – factors that a BMS eliminates.

So, what data center operators get out of a BMS is clear: risk management, efficiency, and planning and budgeting. Clarity on battery backups is how data centers reduce the potential for unnecessary expense, and even worse, major outages for all to see.

Battery management – it’s what we do

To be a data center operator is to be a jack-of-all trades, having to monitor and manage a complex mix of technologies and services to achieve high availability standards. At PowerShield, we understand battery management intimately, so you don’t have to. We’d welcome any questions or comments you have about getting more out of your UPS battery investment.

For a more in-depth discussion around battery management systems and how PowerShield can help improve clarity in your data center, download our insights paper The importance of clarity.

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