Data center management is a broad term. In many data centers, management can be split into two broad categories:
- Information technology
- Mission critical facilities
Information technology is the management of everything in the racks: network, servers, storage, security appliances, operating systems and appliances.
Mission critical facilities is everything that surrounds the equipment in the racks: power feeds, generators, UPS systems, data center cooling , hardened data center buildings, physical security, and telecommunications access.
The driving force behind this management is normally data center reliability, or data center uptime. Most organizations are increasing their dependence on their most important software applications. To these organizations, data center downtime usually means lost productivity, lost revenues, and lost clients.
Many organizations manage both IT and facilities in their own headquarters building. These organizations often employ in-house FTEs to manage both IT and facilities. Many use outside help for segments of the management; integrators for a new application project, or preventative maintenance providers for ongoing generators, UPS and HVAC care.
Some organizations choose to outsource the facilities side of the data center by using outsourced data centers, or wholesale colocation facilities. These outsourced facilities providers provide reliability, removing the data center building and power management headaches from the IT organization’s to do list. Some colocation providers help clients address data center compliance and certification requirements, further reducing the facilities burden upon the organizations that use colocation space.
Outsourcing the facilities side of the data center can also be used to trade capital costs for operating expenses. F5 tornado resistant data center buildings are capital intensive to build. Even small data centers are expensive.
Perhaps the biggest practical benefits to outsourcing the data center facilities is control. In the wholesale colocation model, organizations retain full control of their information technology infrastructure. This control can be critical, especially if the cost of downtime is high.
Is your organization still in the mission critical facilities management business? Investigate the alternatives; it’s often a simple math problem to determine whether outsourced data center facilities might improve your information technology environment.