Friday, 20 March 2009

How well labelled is your computer room?

If a third party came to visit, could you identify a server by looking at it in the rack? Would you know where its network cabling terminated? Many computer room and data centres that Migration Solutions have visited have had a distinct lack of labelling, which makes auditing a long and painful process. Do you have a Change Management Database (CMDB)? If you do, is it up to date? How many times has someone gone into the computer room to make a quick patch and then left it there without recording it. Multiply this by a 10 year life span and it is more than likely that there are large amounts of unrecorded patching.

The maintenance of a CMDB is a very important part of computer room management. Using the best practice guidelines set out in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) a Data Centre Manager (DCM) should have a strict process by which new equipment is labelled, installed and patched but most importantly, recorded in a CMDB.

Asset management should be part of the processes and procedures implemented by the DCM. All equipment within a computer room from racks to routers should be labelled and recorded. Any person should be able to walk into your computer room, find a piece of equipment and either identify what its function is from its labelling, or be able to look up its asset number on a CMDB, and find out what it’s connected to, what service(s) it affects, when it was installed and information about power consumption and heat output, along with details of any support arrangements whether internal or external.

This is, of course, on the face of it, a large overhead. But IT is critical to the running of any modern business. Change Management, along with other ITIL best practice of Service Desk and Incident Management are essential in running an efficient computer room. ITIL is a guide. It does not force any of its practices to make a ‘once size fits all’ solution, but understands that parts can be used and adapted to fit the organisation.

If best practice is followed, with clearly documented process, when it comes to consolidate or migrate your assets, all the required information should be to hand, and the change management process in place to handle it.

Migration Solutions are data centre specialists who focus on the operation, migration and design of new and existing data centres and are vendor independent. Migrations Solutions provides computer room and data centre operational staff on long and short-term contracts, and believe strongly that the only way to build a data centre effectively is to also operate them. For more information visit

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