Technology. It’s ever-changing. Fast-paced. Complex. How can any company or organization, no matter which industry or market, keep up? The answer lies in flexible, adaptable, and agile data center physical infrastructure and real-time management software.
Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center’s 7,500 square foot data center, David Plamondon, Data Center Operations Architect, understands the impact of changing technology firsthand. The biggest challenges are daily technology changes and having to support the latest and greatest equipment while staying within the original data center design specifications. “Our previous IT infrastructure monitoring either did not exist or was spread across three departments that were all using different tools, he notes.
In search of big picture visibility
“You can’t properly run a data center unless you have a complete picture of what is going on at any one time in either the facilities or IT side of the equation. Having one solution that can combine infrastructure and IT management, as opposed to having multiple individual solutions, was a no-brainer. We also were looking for a useable solution for our inventory management needs. We needed a centralized solution that provided a ‘big picture’ view,” explains Plamondon.
Preparing for the future
“Energy efficiency will always be a driving factor in IT. One of our goals is to operate as efficiently as possible while delivering maximum uptime and reliability. We are always looking for opportunities to increase efficiency without negatively affecting performance,” adds Plamondon. “Many companies talk about improving efficiency, but if you can’t measure it, where is the value?”
UMass Medical Center contacted Schneider Electric to see if their products and services could meet the big challenge they had and prepare their data center management for the future.
In addition to improving data center operations, part of their solution would be to bring all power/cooling monitoring needs under one central dashboard. EcoStruxure IT was recommended, which offers real-time visibility into their historical and current data center operating environment. “We were already using full APC by Schneider Electric, so taking the next step and going to a Schneider Electric software solution made a lot of sense,” noted Plamondon.
A flexible, adaptable and agile solution
“The Schneider Electric solution has had a great impact on our facilities, finance, and IT – providing real-time monitoring and historical data. Their finance department has gained the ability to charge customers for actual power usage and IT gained an infrastructure management and planning solution,” explains Plamondon. “In the past, it was spreadsheets and manual logs! Now, every day I just look at my console, which allows me to gauge overall operating conditions.” EcoStruxure IT resolves immediate needs for real-time monitoring, billing and inventory management as well as long-term progress.
“So far, as part of our data center optimization project, we have been able to reduce our IT energy load by 5 percent. That is a real number that we can show on paper,” Plamondon notes. By closing gaps between IT and facilities, gaps in documentation related to physical floor space and the location of IT equipment such as servers, storage, and network devices, EcoStruxure IT has helped UMass Medical Center keep up – and even anticipate – ever-changing technology requirements.