Environet Facility Keeps NCAR Focused on the Sky

Environet Facility Keeps NCAR Focused on the Sky

National Center for Atmospheric Research
Boulder, CO
Published March 2016

THE PURPOSE:
To effectively monitor and manage the data center operating environment from a single source.

THE STORY: 
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is a federally funded research and development center devoted to service, research and education in atmospheric and related sciences. NCAR uses Environet Facility in different capacities at three data centers in Colorado and Wyoming. Prior to Environet's implementation, NCAR used a monitoring system that was not able to effectively monitor data center equipment from a single source. This system would need to be updated as the Operations team was moving from the Boulder facilities to a new Wyoming facility and would have to remotely monitor the Boulder data centers. The team had to select the right DCIM solution to ensure a smooth transition. NCAR first laid out an extensive criteria list for selecting a DCIM solution. Since the Boulder Data Center Operations team was moving to a different facility, they knew that remote accessibility and multi-site monitoring capabilities were the top priorities. NCAR was also looking for a solution that could provide comprehensive alarm capabilities, extensive trending and analytics, capacity planning tools, scalability and an open device communication protocol with an easy to navigate user interface.

The answer was Environet. Jasen Boyington, Colocation Facilities Specialist for NCAR, explains, Geist's solution satisfied most, if not all, of the criteria for NCAR's DCIM requirements. Additionally it was an affordable solution with field and technical support options.

Colorado to Wyoming
Since NCAR was transitioning to a separate facility, Jasen knew it was important that the alarming and notification system of the new DCIM worked reliably. If the alarm mechanism does not work, outages are likely to be more frequent and severe. Operators and Administrators alike must be able to receive notifications on failed or failing equipment in order to avoid problems”, says Jasen. Environet Facility runs from a browser-based interface, which allows users to access real-time data center information from multiple remote locations. From NCAR’s Wyoming facility, Jasen and his team are automatically notified when a Boulder data center alarm is triggered. These alarms also have customizable escalation levels and can notify different users based on the type of alarm.

Geist's solution satisfied...NCAR's DCIM requirements. Additionally it was an affordable solution with field and technical support options.

Simple yet Powerful
Environet Facility boasts a world-class user interface, which is both easy to use and has a great amount of depth. Data center personnel often have varying levels of technical experience. Environet provides simple navigation and alarm acknowledgment so all team members can diagnose data center problems with ease. No matter who is using the system, it is important that outages or other data center issues are recognized and handled as quickly as possible. Jasen explains, “Operators and System Administrators are always challenged with managing IT incidents and unplanned outages. Simple navigation user interfaces make it easier for both to find problems and designate appropriate first responders to manage problems.” In addition to extensive alarming and notifying capabilities, Environet Facility also provides tools to predictively identify problems before they occur. The analytics section of Environet Facility uses historical data to create trends for key data center metrics like power and cooling. Users can create reports using either historical or real-time data that can automatically be sent to key personnel. With all of these tools in one comprehensive system, Environet Facility provides users with the knowledge to make informed decisions regarding the data center.

Supporting the System
One of NCAR’s main obstacles for a DCIM implementation was outdated infrastructure. Geist worked with Jasen and his team to create complete solutions before the implementation process. “Geist Sales and Engineering support provided a clear understanding of which outdated monitoring devices needed to be replaced, along with an implementation plan. Each of NCAR’s difficulties was addressed methodically.” The implementation plan ensured that every step of the integration process was thorough and calculated to provide a seamless transition to Environet Facility. Geist continues to support the system, after implementation, so users can constantly improve processes. Whether a data center is relocating, has equipment change or requires new personnel, Geist backs up Environet Facility offerings with a comprehensive training program and an industry-leading technical support team. In addition, Environet Facility is highly scalable, so growth is not a problem. “Data Centers are constantly changing environments, the DCIM system must be able to meet the demands of these changes, which Environet does.“ Jasen said, as he plans on expanding the Environet system to future sites.