Do your worst-behaved applications define your data center requirements? Part 1

Do your worst-behaved applications define your data center requirements? If so, you’re not alone. Your most important applications are often the hardest applications for IT to support and to keep running. These mission-critical applications and their behaviors greatly influence design of your data center.

What are some examples of mission critical applications?

  • A manufacturer’s most important application might be the production line management system.
  • A sales rep organization’s most important application is probably the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
  • A lawn service organization’s most important application might be the home-grown application they paid to have developed that allows them to track clients, contracts, on-site visits and route scheduling.
  • A large financial services firm may have many “most important” applications, such as client/account management, real-time updates from the markets, statement printing and archiving.

Why are some of your applications ill-behaved?

Ill-behaved applications are applications that require unusually high levels of server, network, and/or maintenance requirements. Industry specific applications are notorious for being ill-behaved. Problems include input/output intensive processing, server and workstation memory hogging, and network traffic flooding.

Application problems are often related to the software source:

  • Your organization may have paid for a team to develop a company specific system. That team may not fully understand the resource requirements of the software they develop until it is finished and in use.
  • A small software company with expertise in your industry may have developed the application for a single client, then sold their application to other organizations in the same industry. This small software company’s expertise in software development directly affects the behavior of the application.
  • A Large software companies may have been developing applications for your industry for years. They revise the application as technology changes, but the application is largely the same application written 10 or 20 years prior. This old code base often has resource requirements outside of today’s “normal” server and network configurations.

Your IT staff knows if you have ill-behaved applications. These applications are more difficult for the IT staff to maintain. Yet the organization requires that these applications always be available. 99.995% uptime seems to be the expectation. Data center uptime is now critical, even in small organizations.

In part 2, I’ll cover how these ill-behaved applications affect data center design.

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.