Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Data Center Facilities & IT Ops are Merging

Reading through today's news, I saw that Emerson Electric has just acquired Aperture Technologies (which itself had acquired the Advantage Group last year).

In the IT/Data Center space, Emerson has been the leader in cooling and power distribution (maintaining an edge, I believe, over APC). Aperture, on the other hand, has a number of real-time data center monitoring, instrumentation and management products.

I think what's so interesting about this acquisition is that it signals a merging of two worlds: Facilities, who traditionally worry about cooling, power distribution, power conditioning, etc., and IT Operations, who are obviously involved in running the "data" part of the data center, e.g. servers, applications, network, and storage.

Driving this new angle on business are two forces - the first (and somewhat less interesting one) is simply the sales process; the real "decision makers" in the data center are IT Ops rather than Facilities. Thus, the traditional facilities guys (i.e. Emerson) have needed to penetrate this family of buyers to lock-in both sets of buyers.

The other force is the trend toward "systemness": That is, to really operate a data center efficiently -- some would say "greenly" -- the individual systems must all be interconnected and related as one larger system. Building management folks have known this for some time; heating, cooling, lighting, electricity, safety, etc. systems have all been interrelated. In the data center space, the move afoot is similar: compute systems, power systems, cooling systems, asset databases, etc. need to act as a whole. With luck, mergers of this type will bring a whole new level of efficiency of operation to data centers around the globe.

To that end, I'd stay tuned for similar announcements from the other big guys in the space: APC (who already offer some degree of competitive management products), as well as Eaton Electric, who also clearly appreciate the need for "systemness" in the data center.


Anonymous said...

It's a bit of a stretch saying that this acquisition signals the merging of facilities and IT Ops. Rather, it was a great move by a Emerson to expand their power management and data center management capabilities. I assure you IT ops and facilities will continue to work together but will not merge.

After reading your posts for a few weeks, your idea of power management is not reasonable in the real world and is suited for development only.

Ken Oestreich said...

Well, IT Ops & Facilities may not really merge, but we do find that they're interacting much more than ever.

As far as power management is concerned, I agree that most orgs *start* with new technologies in Dev/test; and power management may not be for everyone. But there are those "pioneers" and early adopters who feel the pain of lack of power capacity everywhere, and will do power mgmt everywhere. And (BTW) power mgmt on the desktop is taking off like wildfire.

Thanks; I welcome the comment.