Data Center Monitoring - MUST be Enterprise in Scale!
Over the course of meeting with perhaps 100 customers over the last 6 months, it has become painfully clear to me that there is widescale and growing confusion about Real-Time Data Center Monitoring.
I would suggest that Real-Time monitoring which answers MOST customers' needs MUST have a number of specific capabilities which the vast majority of what's available today do NOT:
1. Scale. Most shipping Data Center Management and Monitoring solutions fail to realize that SCALE is a big deal. Monitoring 100 devices on a trade show floor demo is entirely different that deploying true monitoring across 20 sites, each with thousands of devices. You simply can't use the same ARCHITECTURE, and all the marketing fluff in the world won't solve this fundamental structure issue. The ONLY way to scale this is using a DISTRIBUTED architecture.
2. Device Coverage. These same vendors will tell you that they speak SNMP and that everything you need to monitor speaks SNMP. Nonsense! Firstly, there are many protocols including Mod-Bus, SNMP, BACnet, WMI, Serial, etc, etc. Secondly, just supporting the protocol doesn't get you much closer to the device knowledge. Each device has to be specifically understood to read the required values. In most vendor's proposals, this shows up as "Professional Services" which means 'We'll figure it out on the job, on your dime'.
3. Real-Time Monitoring MUST store observed metrics and KPIs over long periods of time. I would suggest that while there are many reasons why most customers want to see real-time monitoring, the vast majority of these reasons are TIME-BASED. The monitored values or metrics need to be collected, time-stamped, stored, and available openly to run analysis upon. While customers may want to know that the data center is consuming 350kW this instant, what they REALLY want to know is that the data center WAS consuming 275kW 3 months ago, 310kW last month, 350kW today, and then PROJECT the future date of the wall that they will hit of the 500kW feed from the power utility.
The road ahead will continue to be littered with failed deployments of real-time management solutions which do NOT realize the dream of Data Center Monitoring. Customers should challenge their vendors to answer ALL of the tough questions. Consider the old-school 'Get it in Writing' approach, and then be very specific about your expectations, needs, and acceptance criterior...
Let's ALL win this GREEN game!