Perfect Asset Inventory
The only way to know where you’re going is to know where you are. Without a doubt the most important item in this list is the asset inventory. Consolidation is nearly impossible unless there is a full and complete awareness of free resources.
Every server, every switch, every data cable and every power cord should be documented. Every piece of software should be accounted for, whether in the virtual environment or not. Hardware migration can become a nearly constant process, requiring a change from the hardware refresh cycle that many companies employ. It is only possible to maintain an asset inventory if strict controls are in place for all parts of the refresh cycle, from retiring old hardware to requisitioning new.
Data Center Inventory Management systems (DCIM) have grown to become the lifeblood of data center asset inventory. With aggressive change management routines it becomes possible to completely control every server U in the data center to ensure that hardware must be requisitioned before it is installed. That way, the resources can be allocated for the server including power, networking and rack space. Every time a server is installed, moved or decommissioned, it needs to be documented. Newer technologies such as RFID trackers make this process simpler because it allows operators to pro-actively find servers as opposed to looking through endless backlog of poorly documented change logs.
We are all too busy to spend time on inventory management. Any systematized approach that decreases the amount of time spent on a given install greatly reduces the total amount of effort that is required from the data center professionals. DCIM and change management systems provide that systematized framework, but only if they are implemented properly.