Tag your IT

I loved playing tag as a kid. It was an important part of growing up, introducing at an early age such things as strategy and competitive advantage. It was very simple and basic, but that did not take away its importance.

Now as TRACKIT helps global enterprises manage their mission critical data centres and the IT assets therein, we maintain the importance of the basics. Tag your IT is at the top of the list.

As sophisticated (and often expensive) as an IT asset is, it does not know important details such as:

  • Location – data centre, room, floor, rack, rack unit, rotation…
  • Identity – manufacturer, model number, serial number, company asset number…
  • Connectivity – power, network

However, by doing something as simple as tagging that asset, it can effectively and quickly tell you critical information and make management more efficient.

Yes, data centre infrastructure management tools are rapidly evolving to include automatic discovery, monitoring and optimisation tools. However, even ignoring their cost, they have not removed the need to do the basics. Even in a state of the art, greenfield data centre there will be devices and locations where these tools do not work. Asset tagging is still necessary on installation.

The correct tagging of IT assets increases the efficiency of data centre management, by reducing the level of manual resource and therefore time cost and risk of error. It improves the accuracy of data in your management systems and eases the maintenance of this accuracy.

The digital age means there is continual growth in the size, complexity and number of data centres, because of the increasing requirement for speed and accuracy of data in business. The accuracy of the data on the assets in the data centre is vital to mitigate the risk of non-delivery. Tag your IT so you can cost effectively manage this.

If tagging is so important, why is it often not done, or not to the right level?

It’s a combination of misunderstanding the cost vs. deliverable and not maintaining the right procedures.

Firstly from the procedures side, tagging is dynamic, not one off. If a device is moved it should be retagged. If a legacy data centre is implementing a new Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) system, but the assets only have 1D bar codes, they should be retagged with 2D or RFID so it can reflect the level of detail held in the DCIM.

Portable micro-printers are available, which can mean tagging and retagging can efficiently become part of the Install, Move, Add and Change (IMAC) processes in the data centre.

The tangible costs (printers and labels) are negligible. The cost in time can also be kept low, if for example, the (re)tagging is performed as part of a physical infrastructure audit of the data centre.

In comparison to the cost, the deliverables of IT asset tagging can be great:

  • Speed and accuracy of a data centre move – the assets can “tell” you which rack, RU and connectivity they should have
  • Validating rack device content to DCIM in seconds, meaning the necessary physical audits are accurate and actually delivered
  • Removing the risk of moving or turning off the wrong server/device

Yes, it is simple and basic. However, its importance to the management of your data centre(s) is vital. Tag your IT!

Find out how TRACKIT can help with tagging your IT assets at www.trackit-solutions.com

Author: Steve Beber

Trackit CEO

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