How Business Intelligence Strategies Improve Data Centers

By: Kayla Matthews on November 11, 2019

Business intelligence (BI) involves using a variety of specialized tools, programs and techniques to extract data from external and internal sources. The associated systems analyze it to learn insights that may have otherwise remained hidden.

Executives from many industries are using BI, but it's not as common as some people may expect in data centers. Here's how BI could help data center leaders make smarter decisions and avoid mistakes.

Keeping Disaster Recovery Plans Updated

Data center providers must confidently assure their clients they have the infrastructure and plans to help the facility swiftly restore normal operations once a disaster strikes. One reason why data centers rely on data analyticsis to update their disaster recovery plans.

To clarify, data analytics is not the same thing as BI. A significant difference is that BI examines past data by using descriptive analytics and can, in turn, be used to make predictionsabout future events. In contrast, data analytics tools have predictive capabilities. However, scenarios exist that may cause data centers to apply BI when making updates to their data center recovery plans.

For example, a look at the collected data may confirm that a certain kind of weather event caused three-quarters of the disasters experienced by a data center over the past five years. Then, the facility may need to make changes so it's more resilient to future events of that type.

Or, BI data may conclude that a certain piece of equipment, such as a generator, failed to help the data center restore services as intended. In that case, improving the disaster recovery plan may require investing in a more reliable generator or investigating other ways to get the data center running again if the generator fails to work.

Gaining Insights About Resource Usage

Applying BI to the data center also could show what's happeningin a data center and link each activity to the respected resource usage. Then, if a data center's team realizes a particular activity uses more resources than expected, it can look deeper into the matter and see if something's wrong.

If a company has an on-site data center, the BI data about resource usage could cause decision-makers to see that the resources used are too intensive for the on-site data center to function smoothly for much longer and that the current situation limits a company's ability to scale.

BI platforms retrieve information based on specifically defined parameters, then categorizes it by relevance. This advantage enables executives at a data center to tweak their searches based on their ever-changing needs. Then, regarding resources used or anything else, it's simple to pull up data as needed and act accordingly. Such a capability helps data centers respond adequately and quickly as things evolve.

Steering Decisions About Where to Put New Data Centers

Numerous things factor into choices about where to build new data centers. They range from weather to elevation to the space available or whether the job market could support the facility. Some analysts believe data centers should come to so-called mega cites, of which there are currently 33 urban areas defined as such. They point out that the people living in those places need dependable technology to enjoy a good quality of life.

However, since BI platforms look at historical data, they could help data center leaders make location-based decisions according to other things. For example, a data center provider may look at how much they've spent to lease a space in the local real estate market, then conclude that another area offers the same amount of space for much cheaper.

Alternatively, BI platforms could show that a significant percentage of clients are in areas of the country or world where the provider does not yet have a physical data center presence. Then, it might move to those places, especially if supplementary predictive analytics from other tools suggest the data center need in those markets is rising.

Making Data Centers More Sustainable

The data center industry has a bad reputation regarding sustainability. Statistics indicate data centers consume more than 2%of the world's electricity and collectively account for about the same CO2 emissions as the airline industry.

When data centers are ready to make sustainable challenges, BI platforms can help them learn where to start. They might show the amount of money spent on cooling costs, causing data center executives to switch to a method that's less expensive and more eco-friendly. Or, they could determine which aspects in the data center are least energy-efficient, indicating where most of the problems exist.

A Technology That's Ready for the Data Center

Business intelligence solutions can achieve the aims mentioned here and others. Data center executives need only to keep an open mind about what's possible and thoroughly research the available options.

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