What is the Role of a Data Center Digital Twin in a Changing Landscape?

Change has always been a scary concept in the data center industry. With each new technology comes a host of practical, oftentimes cascading complications. 

But change is also what drives our industry. We see a problem and then we innovate. In that way, change can be a good thing—a great thing even—if you can see and understand it. 

Creating a Digital Twin or virtual copy of the data center is the surest way to navigate the changes your data center faces. This blog will walk you through where and how a Digital Twin fits into the constantly changing landscape that is the data center industry. 

The Problem

All you need to do is deliver more processing throughput, in less space and with greater efficiency. Simple really! All jokes aside, from our own consultancy work and discussions with customers, we’ve found this headache to be quite common. 

Understanding the current state of your data center so you can deliver more is easier said than done for many, especially in a changing landscape. With various teams working within the data center and frequently answering to different authorities, keeping teams aligned can be difficult. It can be as simple as not having the right tools in place to communicate easily, with many organizations using separate or incompatible management tools. Or, in turn, it could be as complicated as each decision-maker having a different set of priorities. For example, senior management may want teams to focus on higher capacity utilization, but the business units want to prioritize faster service delivery, or the technical management team is more interested in minimizing the risk of service outages. 

While every data center’s problem returns to this notion of “How do we deliver more?”, the important thing to keep in mind is the stage of development at which your data center is in. Your data center’s focus could be on consolidation or implementing new liquid cooling technology or as simple as creating a searchable archive of IT assets. Creating a strong foundation first is how we make room to innovate.

The Solution

Creating this foundation requires a centralized, collaborative database to track and plan for power, space, cooling, weight, and network port capacity. Enter the 6Sigma Digital Twin. Our simulation software suite, 6SigmaDCX, creates the digital twin, or a virtual copy of your data center, and comes equipped with a built-in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) engine. This simulation capability is what gives the 6Sigma Digital Twin its ability to predict future outcomes based on present-day conditions. The 6Sigma Digital Twin not only serves as a library of IT assets, but also as a decision engine. It also integrates with existing systems, like DCIM and monitoring systems, so you can have an even more complete picture of the data center. 

Practically speaking, the 6Sigma Digital Twin is a data center management tool that enables informed, data-driven decisions, with a focus on the following:

  • Choice of room layout, cooling and containment
  • Allocating IT loads between cabinets
  • Avoiding stranded capacity or unusable space and power
  • Ensuring maximum availability and resiliency
  • Optimizing data center efficiency (DCIE/PUE)
  • Planning for equipment refreshes and maintenance
  • Conducting “What if” scenarios to understand potential equipment failures
  • Ensuring compliance with SLAs and relevant standards

Overcome Change: Innovate

With change comes new deliverables and new complications. In such a constantly changing landscape, data center physics-based simulation keeps you grounded. Understanding the current state of your data center is the foundation. From there, visualizing how your data center will react to change facilitates innovation and reduces risk when implementing change. The 6Sigma Digital Twin is both the foundation and the path to innovation.  


Blog written by: Sherman Ikemoto, Managing Director

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30 June, 2021

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