I. Background of Data Centre Management (cont'd)
A centralised asset inventory or repository is an accurate and authoritative database that records all data centre assets of a university, including application servers, network devices, power equipments (e.g. Uninterrupted Power Supply), and Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning ("HVAC") devices. By implementing IT asset discover and tracking function, the IT management is able to accurately record data centre assets' details, such as hardware / software specifications, supported IT services, target user groups and interdependences with other universities' information systems or operations. For large scale data centres, automated asset inventory or repository software is installed to achieve efficiency and avoid human errors.
Capacity planning is performed by data centre IT staff to estimate the amount of information resources required to support the desired levels of services. The estimation leverages the data collected during the capacity monitoring process and requirements gathered from various academic or administrative departments. Effective capacity planning improves the overall performance and availability of the information systems hosted within the data centres through identifying underutilised resources and future capacity needs.
Batch job processing plays a vital role in sustaining the universities' daily operations. IT staff working within Data Centre follow defined operational procedures or ad-hoc user requests to execute batch jobs manually or automatically through the use of job schedulers. Completion status of those batch jobs are closely monitored to ensure that any job failures are timely followed up and resolved.
Various system information, hardware status and environmental data are collected through manual monitoring process or by automated tools. With such information, data centre IT staff can perform real-time capacity monitoring, effective usage trend analysis and immediate data centre incident response. Monitoring and control is a critical element of maintaining desired availability for universities' critical IT services. Sophisticated monitoring software can provide proactive surveillance on the status of data centre assets, enable quick assessment of present situation and notify the appropriate IT staff should there be any threats that affect the availability of any information systems hosted within the data centres.
A data centre management solution establishes specific responsibilities for each functional teams or IT staff, and determines clear reporting lines to enable timely exchange of operational status, incidents and management decisions. Right IT staff members are located for handling routine batch tasks, ad-hoc maintenance requests, installation jobs or urgent problems. A regular reporting function with the data centre management team also feeds IT management with up-to-date information for better data centre planning and administration.