Thursday, 28th May 2020

Cutting costs and improving performance with IIM

By Dr. Thomas Wellinger, Market Manager Data Centres, Reichle & De Massari.

Developments such as 10/40/100G virtualization, cloud, mobile infrastructure, BYOD, and convergence all have marked effects on workload patterns. Knowing how all ports, switches, cables, links and routers are connected and what their exact location and status is at any given moment is no luxury helps deal with this. Monitoring also makes it easier to improve security and uncover find weak spots.

Intelligent Infrastructure Management (IIM) offers ongoing access to current overviews of network layout and performance. Real-time network management tools are linked to passive structured cabling infrastructures that connect network devices resulting in automated, accurate documentation and asset tracking. IIMs help organizations reduce their power usage, generating significant savings while helping them comply with tough legislation. Best practices can be rapidly and easily analysed and reproduced. Furthermore, network resources can be more efficiently used and optimized asset utilization can result in considerable savings. Furthermore, costly downtime may be reduced thanks to early warnings from an IIM that constantly monitors network components and ensures stable and robust operations.

Port and asset utilization may be improved significantly, maximizing existing network investments. Whenever a server or switch is decommissioned, connections and ports are immediately available. Having an accurate, real time inventory of network components ensures connections and equipment are properly deactivated. This avoids multiple assignments to a single ports. ‘Lost’ devices can be found and either optimized or shut down.

Efficiency may be increased and costly, time-consuming manual cable management can be reduced. Today, the average DC has a surface area of between 1,000 and 2,500 square metres, often with thousands of network ports. Yet many network managers are still carrying out inventories and managing physical infrastructure with Excel sheets, or even paper, pencil and post-its. Manually documenting highly dynamic, ever-changing network topologies requires a huge amount of time and diagnosing and resolving network problems is far more complicated and time consuming. Without automated solutions, adding or moving components is more labour intensive and prone to human error. In short: a recipe for disaster. An IIM system can help prevent such costly errors and make planning and execution of maintenance and new equipment implementation easier and faster.

Savings potential

According to Gartner, intelligent data centre infrastructure management can cut operational costs by 20 – 30 %. On the other hand, if not handled well, infrastructure management can take up a great deal of staff time, introduce unnecessary costs and hinder inventory consolidation. An IIM solution can bring immediate and enduring network management cost savings. However, it should not be included as an afterthought. Whatever solution you select, it must be chosen with the same care as any other core network component.

The savings potential brought by IIM is further enhanced by new monitoring technologies such as high-performance Traffic Access Points (TAPs) which should ideally be fully compatible with existing structured cabling infrastructure hardware.These contain passive fibre-optic splitters that deliver an identical copy of a passing optical signal. This approach allows for easy passive monitoring network links without introducing latency or packet loss. The entire infrastructure can be monitored in real-time without agents once the optical signal is out of band and connected to a Fibre Channel or Ethernet network probe. This helps ensure availability and performance for live applications.

In an increasingly converging environment, physical layer monitoring and management requires unwavering attention. Cost efficiency throughout the data centre lifecycle is increased with well-specified, properly implemented solutions, from the planning and installation phases to daily operations and upgrades. Resulting time and energy savings, efficiency enhancements and reduced expenditure will more than justify the investment.

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