Data center utilization, management, and planning

Nov 10, 2022 | DCIM

Data center utilization, management, and planning tools, to improve performance and reduce total cost of ownership. The Data Center Utilization ratio is one of the most critical metrics in determining whether or not an organization can support additional servers.

Data Center Utilization 

Data Center utilization measures the time that hardware resources are under full load. An increased data center utilization rate can be attributed to an increased demand for computing power.

Data center utilization is essential in the operation of any data center because it provides insight into the cost efficiency of a data center. The higher the utilization, the better, assuming power and cooling is sufficient for the workload.

As a result, companies are spending more on data center capacity. Therefore, they need to increase their utilization rates to keep up with the ever-growing demand for storage and processing capabilities.

The three main components that affect data center utilization are physical space, staff, and technology.

Physical space 

Physical space is key in the amount of equipment housed in a data center. Large companies typically have large data centers that can house more servers than smaller companies that cannot accommodate as much machinery.

It is important to note that technology and staff levels can also affect physical space. Technology has changed drastically in the last five years, and IT professionals must purchase new hardware to ensure business continuity.


Technology’s effect on physical space has also extended beyond the server room. Virtualization technologies, such as VMware and XenServer, are changing how equipment is deployed in the data center.

Those technologies allow multiple servers to be installed onto one piece of hardware, thus reducing the amount of physical equipment that must be purchased, shipped, and stored in the data center. This reduction in equipment requires less physical space, equating to fewer data center utilization compared to older technologies that require dedicated servers for each application or service.


Staff is another component affecting data center utilization. In some situations, a company may need additional employees to fulfill new projects or meet growing customer demand.

However, if current employees use software that helps them perform their jobs more efficiently, they may not need additional staff members to perform equivalent work. This can make the hiring process much easier and help save money by reducing headcount while keeping up with demand.

What is the goal of data center utilization?

The goal of data center utilization is to maximize the efficiency of a data center by using it at peak performance. Data center utilization considers power and cooling costs, facility space, and equipment availability.

Many times the goal of data center utilization is to ensure the equipment is operating at its maximum capacity while still having enough available resources to satisfy future demand.

Data Center Utilization Rate

This method takes into account how busy the servers in the data center are at any given time. For example, if a server rack runs at total capacity during peak hours but only half capacity during off-peak hours, its utilization rate would be 50%.

The average utilization rate over a week or month would give you the overall utilization percentage for that period. It’s essential to keep track of utilization rates because they indicate how well servers are.

Utilization rates vary by industry. The most efficient cloud computing data centers may be run at 10 percent utilization or less, with peaks at 30 percent utilization during busy periods.

In cloud computing, the utilization metric is more complicated than in other data centers because it’s essential to consider the hardware and human resources and their overall effectiveness. The ratio between IT equipment and the amount of space it takes up also helps to determine whether a company can add space in the form of additional racks or cabinets.

Utilization metrics also can be used to calculate performance benchmarks and predict future trends for your business. For example, suppose your company has an average monthly utilization of 80 percent or above across all cloud services, and you see this trend continuing over time.

In that case, you can predict that your capacity needs will continue to grow. That’s because your business will need to ensure that its infrastructure can handle more workloads with little downtime to accommodate growing demand.

Data Center Capacity Planning 

Data Center Capacity Planning determines how many servers can be installed, maintained, and operated within a data center without exceeding its power, cooling, and floor space requirements. This is typically done when a company considers an IT upgrade or expansion.

Data Center Capacity Planning usually starts by calculating the maximum allowable amount of IT equipment for a data center. This is done by considering the available power capacity, cooling capacity, and space limitations. You can determine the utilization ratio once this calculation has been completed.

The capacity planning process involves sizing, assessing, and planning the growth of a data center. The process includes the following steps:

  • Identify and document objectives
  • Review existing data center infrastructure
  • Determine the growth potential of current resources
  • Assess current capacity utilization
  • Determine the required expansion space
  • Identify alternatives for future growth

When determining infrastructure capacity, planning for the future and ensuring that your needs account for growth is crucial. Methods for choosing the amount of infrastructure to add can be complicated, but assessing existing capacity is an essential first step.

Data centers need to be well-managed

Managing data centers is more than just plugging in computers and thinking about efficiency. The management has to consider many factors, including the data center’s security and employees’ safety.

Several things must be well managed in a data center, such as temperature, humidity, and power. Not only do they need to be managed, but they need to be managed well.

Data centers should be designed so that no single point of failure can disrupt operations. For example, if a network connection fails at a site with two connections, one must be put into an alternate state so that there are still two paths available for traffic.

This redundancy is usually provided through multiple paths between devices and switches. Redundant power supplies are also used to avoid service disruptions due to power failures.

Read More: Improving Data Center Energy Efficiency with This 8 Things

Another critical aspect of managing a data center is having everyone there understand security’s importance. This includes physical security (to prevent theft) and network security (to prevent unauthorized access).

All staff members must follow security policies. They should be trained to spot anything out of place or unusual activity and report it immediately.

Factors of a well-managed data center

A well-managed data center is one in which technical and business needs are addressed in a comprehensive, unified, and repeatable manner, according to a clearly defined set of policies. This ensures that the data center can meet performance standards, adhere to industry regulations, and anticipate the needs of its users.

The following are key factors of a well-managed data center:

Quality of equipment

The data center must have the proper infrastructure hardware, including servers, storage systems, and networking equipment. It also must have adequate backup power in case of power failures.

Proper capacity planning

The data center must have enough space for expansion and enough bandwidth for peak demand. Because companies expand quickly, it’s crucial to have a detailed plan for capacity expansion so that the business’s technology needs can be met immediately.


The data center should keep up with changing technologies by regularly reviewing new products and services available on the market. It should also have a high level of flexibility to move workloads around as needed quickly. For example, if one server fails or needs maintenance, another server should be able to take over without any downtime.


Security is an essential part of data center management. The best data centers will have multiple levels of security in place and can account for all aspects of their safety.

The most basic level of security comes from the physical facility itself, which should be designed to withstand environmental hazards like natural disasters, fires, floods, and so on. Physical security should also be a high priority—the data center should be walled off from the rest of the site, with only authorized people allowed access.


The data center is the heart of any company. It holds all the information and programs and is the central hub for everything. It’s always on, it never sleeps, and its quietness is only ever broken by the hum of cooling systems keeping the services up and running. Everyone must know their part in helping ensure this most critical hub runs as it should.

Data center management oversees the overall function of the data center and its resources. Data center management includes:

  • Monitoring the physical data center.
  • Ensuring it’s adequately cooled and maintained.
  • Keeping an eye on the company’s hardware.

Utilizing the space in a data center is a critical part of any IT department. It helps ensure that power and cooling resources are reserved for necessary equipment and allows for future expansion or redundancy. In addition, it reduces the time required for data center technicians to deploy equipment, freeing them to be more productive inside the data center.

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