Definition

continuous modeling (data center continuous modeling)

Continuous modeling is an approach to data center management that supplements infrastructure management (DCIM) tools with engineering simulation tools.

Traditional DCIM management tools provide administrators with a federated view of an organization's building management system (BMS), IT asset management (IAM) and network management system (NMS). For a data center to operate in a resilient and cost-effective manner, however mechanical and electrical systems need to be considered as well. 

Most engineering analysis tools focus on mechanical and electrical systems separately and can only provide the administrator with snapshots of state data. Although state data can be useful for troubleshooting concerns like air flow once a problem has been identified, it is not useful for preventing problems. Nor can it help the administrator decide how to balance deployment and energy-saving requirements against the risk of mechanical or electrical downtime. 

Continuous modeling uses the data collected by DCIM and engineering analysis tools such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This allows the data center administrator to use real-time data, mathematics and simulation tools to visualize and quantify how mechanical and electrical systems will be affected by a change to the building, its hardware or its network infrastructure. This, in turn, can help the administrator make data-driven decisions for capacity planning and reducing energy costs. As new data comes in, the models can be validated or revised on a continual basis. 

See also: predictive modeling, risk management

 

This was last updated in April 2014

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Noticeably absent from continuous, real-time predictive modeling of infrastructure performance was power. Just as there is CFD for predictive cooling, we have power management extensions that allow for the predictive simulation of power use. How important is that? Or how important may it become as we move closer to truly converged IT and facilities management and the software defined data center?
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