Jeff Safovich, Head of Product and Innovation at Automated Infrastructure Specialist RiT Tech, on why Integration – not Isolation – is Integral to Data Centre Optimisation.
While it may sound a contradiction in terms, there are two distinct – and often adversarial – mindsets when it comes to the concept of technological interoperability.
Certainly in the world of computing, collaboration is conflicted and the divide is at its most discernible when viewed through the spectrum of the sector’s superpowers.
In one camp, you have those adopting an Apple-style approach to integration; a methodology that offers inter-connectivity but only with related systems or those owned by closely-curated partners.
Such an electronic ecosystem has its advantages, particularly for its gatekeepers.
With everyone wishing to use its tools obliged to operate within its orbit, it is easier to dictate operating standards and to be selfish from a developmental perspective – with compatibility concerns only extending to the company’s own collateral. If gateways to other platforms are opened, it is only with a very sound knowledge as to what awaits over the threshold.
And an isolated universe is not without its benefits for consumers. Wilfully blinkered to whatever lies beyond its borders, an organisation focused on looking inwards can continue to fine tune its solutions and associated products – tailoring ingredients and icing its proverbial cake to impress and satisfy new and existing customers.
Conversely, there is the Android or Microsoft standpoint. Organisations that acknowledge they are a cog – albeit an undoubtedly important and effective one – in a grander machine and believe that through cooperation a more open ecosystem can be stronger, faster and more efficient if knowledge is shared.
These opposing traits transcend to data centre operations and specifically the infrastructure management systems selected to help administer them.
There are advocates of closed platforms – single-provider tools intent on ruling the whole operating environment and not capable of, or interested in, interacting with other vendors’ systems.
And then there are those that address and accept the complexity of the surrounds they strive to serve; appreciating data centres are puzzles with myriad pieces and can only work at optimal efficiency when each element connects to the next.
At RiT Tech we unashamedly fall into this latter group and have deliberately developed XpedITe – our next-generation data centre, network, infrastructure and operations management system – with ease of integration in mind.
Rather than attempting to be the entire ecosystem, we want to supplement existing capabilities – not replace them. XpedITe is modular by design – a hi-tech toolset from which data centre operators can select the services they require.
To this end, the platform’s ever-expanding range of integration adapters allow it to interact with commonly used devices and software systems, reducing disruption and risks during deployment.
Whether connecting to switches, servers and chillers or building management systems, configuration management databases and customer relationship management (CRM) software, XpedITe actively streamlines the sharing of information and processes.
Indeed, it thrives on federating previously disparate systems and environments to create an accurate real-time picture across any given network.
The more systems available for XpedITe to connect to, the more detailed the insight it can provide of the make-up and performance of every rack, cabinet, cable and port, and the greater the efficiencies it can deliver.
It is a platform that proudly works well with others to provide an extensive knowledge chain and information exchange across the whole business, giving those who require a window into operations an up-to-the-minute picture to consult.
Connecting the IT department with data centre management and clients with sales and support teams through CRM, XpedITe is a conduit for community communication and cooperation and has no interest in operating in isolation.
In the future we may broaden this spirit of collaboration by inviting developers from different organisations to experiment and innovate with a view to adding to our inventory of integration adapters. Going “open source” could open the door to further connectivity and we would, of course, ensure any products created collaboratively satisfy our stringent security and accuracy standards.
Our Android-style approach may be at odds with those opting to take an Apple-like outlook, but we’re firmly with Aristotle when it comes to doing our best by the data centre sector – the whole is, after all, greater than the sum of the parts.