IT Needs are Evolving Mission-Critical Data Center Design

Nov. 15, 2017
IT needs are evolving and specifying the changes we need to make to our most critical data center services. This is the second entry in a Data Center Frontier series that explores how to create complete resiliency and compliance for mission critical data centers.

This is the second entry in a Data Center Frontier series that explores how IT needs are evolving mission-critical data center design. This series, compiled in a special report, also explores design and management for mission-critical data centers. 

Download the full report.

Having clear visibility into your entire data center ecosystem and its most critical components is an essential part of resiliency. To be resilient, you have to aware of the state of your IT assets, including network and infrastructure. You need to monitor the health of critical systems and the solutions that enable their resiliency. This means using not only native tools, but ones provided by the data center partner.

Here’s the reality—IT needs are evolving and specifying the changes in data center design we need to make to our most critical services.

Critical environment services revolve around a methodology which focuses on all areas of service delivery ranging from health and safety, hiring and training, to process improvement, tools and systems.

The overarching idea here is to maximize uptime and value without compromising health, safety and security. With that in mind, it’s important to understand the tools and systems which help support greater levels of resiliency around critical environments.

Understanding and defining business resiliency

Business resiliency and its associated services specifically revolve around the protection of your most critical data center environment. A proactive resiliency program would include HA, security, backup, and anything that impacts the confidentiality of data or compromises compliance. So, the idea becomes to unify the entire resiliency strategy plan to include all aspects of critical environment services delivery. To accomplish this, you need to work with a provider which not only has critical environment services, but has excellent operational teams to support emerging critical requirements.

Leveraging Critical Environment Services

Critical environment services revolve around a methodology which focuses on all areas of service delivery ranging from health and safety, hiring and training, to process improvement, tools and systems. A commitment to comprehensive account management and 100% uptime ultimately optimizes total cost of data center ownership. Most of all, it’s the operations teams that support, defend and operate the mission of IT infrastructure which can make all the difference. Here’s the cool part—these teams also help train your business and IT leaders to better support mission-critical environments.

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For example, critical engineering training provides a multi-level development life cycle for staff, improving employee skill sets and knowledge to minimize risk of failure or disruption in mission critical facilities. Through this type of training, operators of mission-critical environments will gain an increased awareness of human factors which improve human performance, prevents outages, lessens the likelihood of injury or death, and ultimately helps increase the bottom line of the business. Remember, critical environment services are a complete package which help you optimize your mission critical data center, the people who help support the operations, and the business which relies on these important systems.

Mission critical tools and management

You can’t effectively manage what you can’t see. This is even more important to understand for mission-critical environments. The systems it takes to efficiently manage mission-critical environments are key to maintaining uptime and security. A good data center partner should employ a wide range of tools and training designed to ensure uptime, and provide visibility of all activity inside one’s mission-critical environment. This means leveraging advanced tools for a variety of mission critical use-cases. This include:

  • xMatters for critical incident escalation and communication
  • Avid, InstaQuote and Yardi for financial reporting
  • Building automation, EPMS and DCIM for building efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Online CMMS, customer ticketing systems, internal operations and availability portal

Deploying governance and compliance

We mentioned this earlier, but for those mission-critical environments which require governance, working with a data center partner that can maintain strict governance over data center operations is very important. This includes recognized industry standards like PCI, HIPPA, ISO, and SSAE 16 (SOC 1 & 2). Furthermore, your partner must be able provides auditing support against compliance related to data center operations, physical security, insurance standards, ISO 9001 and FM Global.

Your data center is an important extension of your organizations and, therefore, must be properly managed and protected. Good data center providers will oftentimes offer tools for direct visibility into an infrastructure.

If you’re working with mission-critical systems, you’ll need a data center partner that can keep up with your operational requirements. Furthermore, this data center provider must also take a proactive approach to data center health and resiliency—as well as data center design.

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The process of selecting the right data center partner should include planning around contract creation and ensuring that the required management and business resiliency tools are in place. Remember, your data center is an important extension of your organizations and, therefore, must be properly managed and protected. Good data center providers will oftentimes offer tools for direct visibility into an infrastructure. This means engineers will have a clear understanding of how their systems are being utilized, powered and monitored. These types of decisions make an infrastructure more efficient and much easier to manage in the long-term.

Over the next few weeks this series on mission critical data centers will cover the following topics:

You can also download the complete Data Center Frontier Special Report, “Mission Critical Data Center: Creating Complete Resiliency & Compliance,” courtesy of Stream Data Centers. 

About the Author

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman is a veteran, enthusiastic technologist with experience in data center design, management and deployment. Bill is currently a freelance analyst, speaker, and author for some of our industry's leading publications.

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