Five ways to optimize your data center’s white space

Next-generation technology, combined with seasoned expertise, can enhance your data center’s performance

In a world where “data is the new oil,” the demand for faster, more reliable network infrastructure is ever-present. Gone are the days when a single data center was enough to serve a whole region or a large company’s network needs. Now, smaller container data centers are popping up across the country—on rooftops and parking lots—to shorten the distance between servers. 

This shift toward decentralized data center portfolios creates new challenges for the business leaders who manage these facilities, especially when it comes to the critical white space in each data center—the physical space occupied by the mainframe, servers, switches, racks and other hardware. 

Managing white space includes tasks related to both operations (installing appliances and cable, optimizing racks and cabinets, overseeing IT inventory, and more) and performance (service and maintenance, incident management, etc.). As technology evolves and the demands on data centers continue to increase, managing white space is becoming more complex. Here are five ways an experienced partner can help optimize data center white space to maximize performance.

Increase reliability and predictability

Reliability is the top priority when every minute of downtime can hurt the data center operator or client organization’s business. Maintaining uptime requires an effective performance management system and the ability to predict and prevent problems. In addition, when an incident does occur, having access to technicians who can quickly get to your facility to solve the problem is critical to minimizing downtime. An experienced partner with mobile, on-demand maintenance and repair resources can help ensure 100% uptime across a geographically dispersed portfolio of data centers. 

Drive efficiency

Operating a data center requires a capable team that has a variety of skills and specialties. In addition to technicians with extensive knowledge of servers and other hardware, data centers also rely on electricians and engineers with expertise in cabling, cooling and mechanical systems. 

An established partner that understands the ins and outs of operating data centers can be a “one-stop shop” for staffing and operating your facility efficiently. A partner with a holistic approach can take over the responsibility for training employees to work in various positions within your data center, especially the white space. And if that partner can cross-train employees to perform multiple functions, you can significantly boost the efficiency of your operations.

Capture cost savings

Cross-training employees doesn’t just drive efficiency—it can also reduce costs. If you work with a facility management partner that can also handle your white space, you can avoid redundancy in your staff and reduce costs by as much as 20 to 30 percent. Working with a partner can also increase predictability in your budget while lowering the cost-of-service delivery. 

An experienced partner with local expertise can also help prepare your data center for compliance audits and assessments based on the regulations in your area. Data center compliance violations can be expensive and increase risk, so working with a partner to assess your readiness before an audit can help you avoid the high cost of noncompliance.

Mitigate risk

Partnership agreements for data center facilities management often transfer certain risks to the service provider. This contractual transfer of risk, which typically pertains to risks that could jeopardize uptime, is reflected in the fees paid to the partner organization. This removes the data center owner’s burden of risk and places responsibility in the hands of a partner that specializes in managing data center white space—and is therefore highly capable and incentivized to keep facilities running smoothly.

Leverage automation

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are transforming the way companies in a variety of industries do business, and data centers are no exception. These tools create numerous opportunities to streamline and optimize data center white space. For example,- old, legacy systems require multiple people with special expertise to manage them. Newer systems, where a greater portion of the work can be automated, require fewer administrators. A data center that once required 200 people to support operations may be able to reduce that headcount to as few as 25 by using AI and machine learning.

Despite the clear benefits of upgrading to automated systems, companies often lack the capacity for planning, procuring and building next-generation solutions. This is another area where an experienced partner can help with processes like predictability, solutioning and digital transformation.

Benefit from experience

Managing white space efficiently and effectively is crucial to maintaining uptime. A seasoned facility management and infrastructure technology partner can provide support on every aspect of managing white space, from staffing to reducing risk to harnessing the power of AI and machine learning. 

Contact us to talk with a JLL Data Center IT services expert about your facility’s needs.