Datacenters can Aid IT Chargeback by Adopting BCM Solutions

By Sanjay Motwani, Regional Director, APAC, Raritan Asia Pacific

IT Costs: An Indecipherable Black box?
For long IT expenses have been a big chunk of an organization’s budget and are first in the line of fire at the time of any financial eventuality. CIOs have always had to justify and rationalize both their capex and opex, while in actual terms the infrastructure they build and maintain serves various departments across the organization. However, growing pressure to optimize budget allocation and the need to attribute the expenses accurately is forcing organisations to view IT expenditure in diversified ways.

Companies pay a substantial part of their revenue in managing server space and uptime for their numerous applications, with the IT Department inevitably shouldering the entire responsibility. How can organizations quantify which department is consuming how much and adding what value in return? The answer lies in adopting IT chargeback technologies that provide a comprehensive assessment of the consumption of each IT asset within the organisation, round the clock in real time.

IT Chargeback: Bringing Accountability in IT Expenses
Simply put, IT Chargeback is an accounting strategy to attribute the cost of IT resources and its maintenance to the department that consumes it. This brings about greater transparency and a deeper understanding of the usage pattern and related costs. In a fairly complex and extensive IT landscape, IT Chargeback offers a clear and thorough picture of consumption patterns while tracking over or under-utilization of any resource down to its individual user. Such granularity helps in rationalizing costs and improving overall efficiency by plugging loopholes that otherwise go unnoticed. This in turn helps in extending life of resources and at times, also deferring upgrades. It further helps executives rationalize their outsourcing strategies.

IT Chargeback mechanism
In datacenters, power is the core and also a large part of the running cost. It thus becomes imperative for the datacenter managers to monitor, assess and attribute power consumption across each asset and charge back to the ultimate consumer. This also helps in plugging redundancies and optimizing costs as greater visibility creates awareness about the pattern of consumption and helps in avoiding outages. This enables better estimate of power usage and provisioning for it accordingly thereby cutting down on unnecessary usage and reducing power costs.

With the economy striving to emerge stronger post-recession, adoption of IT Chargeback systems has increased by as high as 13 percent year on year. As per a study conducted by Computer Economics, more than 51 percent organizations were charging at least some amount of the IT expenses back to the specific departments in 2014.

Despite significant benefits of IT Chargeback practices being quite evident, many organizations are still hesitant to take the big leap. The enormity, extent and exigency of managed resources make it a daunting task to implement IT Chargeback mechanisms. Organization must choose a flexible chargeback mechanism that can accurately collect data, deliver real-time reports and offers ease of maintenance and use. To implement chargeback successfully, a wide range of methods are available for organisations that best fits their objectives.

One such method is integrated resource management system that automates collection of operational data, alarm and alert trends as well as environmental data. This helps optimizing utilization. Some datacentres have also opted for integrated energy management solutions that provide a holistic view of datacentre energy consumption in the context of risk and health of infrastructure. There are other methods pursued on a more tactical basis, such as service based pricing, negotiated flat rates, measured resource usage, low & high level allocation. Among all the above Branch Circuit Monitoring, as IT chargeback mechanism tops the list for datacentres.

BCM: An Unmatched Enable for IT Chargeback
A BCM solution with its in-built ability to monitor usage at each panel level provides the granular view that the IT managers have been looking for. BCM allows monitoring of power usage at each grid and panel across the datacenter and provides real-time reports on consumption patterns even to the application level. These are easy to install and integrate to the existing environment without disrupting the day to day functioning of the datacenters. These do not require elaborate integration exercise as they sit on top of the existing technology and deliver the required insights. A modular, easy to install BCM solution (branch circuit monitor or busway monitor kit) can be scaled accordingly, as and when needed. It can also be installed rapidly with a simple USB stick, requiring no downtime or risks of manual errors. It can also be integrated with Building Management Tools and other monitoring software giving a holistic view of the health of the datacenter at any point of time.

A right BCM solution helps clients track usage over a period of time with historic and real-time reports of application, enabling them to curb redundancy or over utilization. Also, with the reports being remotely accessible it breaks down the barrier of time and space, enabling the managers to make interventions as and when needed, curbing resource abuse.

Visibility of resource usage and consumption pattern is key to building and sustaining a robust IT infrastructure. Datacentres can be an able facilitator in this journey by aiding their clients with detailed, transparent and real-time reporting on their energy consumption right down to the application level and in turn attribute it back to their internal organization.

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