dcTrack's new modern, easy-to-use web interface for Connectivity Management visualizes power and data network circuits - two key data centre infrastructure components. Circuits are shown end-to-end with all the intermediate nodes, providing detailed information about each node or connection point. dcTrack's intuitive circuit builder has the flexibility to model any data network topology going through any number of patch panels without violating connectivity standards. It also allows the user to model the power path from the data centre's uninterruptable power supply (UPS) going through the power distribution units (PDUs), circuit breakers, rack PDUs, and down to the load - the servers and switches - without allowing power capacities to be exceeded at any node.
dcTrack's accurate views of available network, power and space capacity helps in deploying equipment, as well as in troubleshooting, because it saves time in pinpointing and selecting resources and infrastructure equipment. dcTrack, for example, enables customers to build an end-to-end circuit more accurately in less time. It also helps save millions in capex dollars by finding unused capacity and untapped infrastructure resources in data centres.
"dcTrack helps data center professionals build and manage network and power connections quickly and efficiently, instead of having to rely on tools, such as Excel and Visio, that are not designed to be used as DCIM tools. It eliminates wasting time physically tracing among the racks how things are connected, each time you want to make a change", stated James Cerwinski, Software Manager at Raritan. "dcTrack inspires more intelligent use of resources in a data center. The intelligent management capabilities in dcTrack provide the tools and information to make data centers more efficient with power, cooling, space and connection resources. This saves our customers considerable amounts of time and money."
Users can create connections easier, with as few or as many hops as needed. Connections can be defined with the level of granularity desired by users down to: physical port attributes; logical attributes, such as VLAN; groupings, and color coding. dcTrack can use these definitions for intelligent handling of the circuit creation, whereas other systems only allow users to define connections by manually entering the connection information in static fields. dcTrack also has the ability to build virtual to physical connections - between virtual ports on virtual machines to physical ports on the physical hosts, and from there to any upstream connections.
To help dcTrack calculate and track power utilization and capacity anywhere along the power path, dcTrack 2.6 and Raritan's Power IQ energy management software are now available as a pre-integrated solution for customers who want to deploy both software products together. dcTrack leverages Power IQ's vendor-agnostic power and environmental data collection. Power IQ finds unused capacity by accurately determining in real time the draw of individual data centre equipment. In many cases, the actual draw is about 50 percent of the wattage or amperage listed on a device's nameplate.
Additional accurate asset management capabilities are now also available with the use of dcTrack 2.6 and Raritan's smart asset tracking sensors and tags, which provide real-time tracking of assets within the rack. When a server is moved or installed in a rack, the electronic asset-tracking solution captures the information and shares it with dcTrack. By automatically capturing each activity performed at the rack, dcTrack insures that a data center's change policy is followed - even during an overnight emergency - and that inventory records are always accurate.
Raritan's dcTrack 2.6 solution is helping Shands HealthCare, a premier health system provider in Florida, with capacity planning and asset tracking and management in several of its data centres. "With dcTrack we have an up-to-minute picture of capacities in all our data centers in terms of power, space, networking and cooling", stated Joseph Keena, Manager of Data Center Operations at Shands HealthCare. "As a result, we are able to track our data center capacity more accurately and assess our infrastructure needs for the future."
The dcTrack solution is also helping Shands HealthCare keep track of IT assets more efficiently. "Before we deployed dcTrack, it would mean a trip out onto the data center floor to confirm or deny that a server is in a certain location", stated Joseph Keena. "Now, we can just pull up the asset information on the dcTrack screen and see that server X is located in this rack, in this U; or see that it is no longer a physical server, but is now a virtual server. Accurate asset records have given us a 50 percent gain in efficiency in terms of locating an asset's physical location within the data centres."
dcTrack is integrated into Shands' LANDesk service request process and ticketing system, which creates a seamless workflow process - from ticket creation to data centre deployment. Requests come into the service desk, which then places the request into dcTrack. Based on space, power and network connectivity information, dcTrack's powerful intelligent search feature helps pick an optimal location for placing the server. "dcTrack leads us through each step of the process to fulfill a new server request", stated Joseph Keena. "Once the IT equipment gets delivered to us, we then go do the physical racking, connecting, labeling - and then come back and close out the request in dcTrack, which notifies LANDesk that the equipment is ready to go. This process makes it easier to make adds and changes, and improves the accuracy of our asset inventory."
In the future, Shands HealthCare also plans to use dcTrack's ability to track power usage to calculate the PUE (power utilization efficiency) of its data centres.