By Kevin Brown
The total data center universe that most data center professionals are familiar with principally consists of two realms. The first realm, information technology (IT), refers to all systems that address the information processing aspects of the data center (e.g., servers, storage arrays and network switches). The second realm revolves around the physical infrastructure and controls that allow the IT realm to function. This second realm includes the physical infrastructure systems that support both the IT (“white space”) realm of the data center as well as the larger data center facility itself. This would include facility power, cooling and security systems. The management classification system described in this paper is limited in scope to the physical infrastructure of the data center facility and IT areas.
Both realms are interrelated but the subsystems within each are procured, managed, and maintained by separate users. Typically, facilities and engineering departments “own” and operate facility and IT infrastructure systems. IT department personnel “own” the IT equipment. In some larger data centers both IT and infrastructure devices share a common communications backbone. As the total data center evolves, these departments will become more intertwined as will the management systems that support them. Table 1 provides definitions of terms utilized in this paper to describe and contrast the data center management software classification system.