Digital Twins and Monitoring

How Do Digital Twins and Monitoring Systems Work Together?

In the data center industry, it’s a given that having the right data is essential for making sound decisions throughout design and operations. But agreeing on how best to get that data is a different story.  

Monitoring systems give data center operators an idea of what’s going on in the data center currently, but layout changes and equipment refreshes can have a knock-on effect that is hard to predict. 

Incorporating a digital twin into your organization’s toolset can enhance the data that monitoring systems capture by providing that predictive element. (While we’ve been shouting from the rooftops about digital twins for some time now, we’re happy to see others have started to do the same.) 

As a data center operator, it’s important to know how every change will impact your entire data center ecosystem, so you can better plan for uptime and longevity. This post will describe how digital twins and monitoring systems complement one another.   

Connecting Monitoring Systems and Digital Twins

Monitoring, often referred to as physical or environmental monitoring, is a crucial tool for data center operations. Monitoring uses sensors to measure the data center environment and ensure it is suitable for employees and equipment. 

Monitoring sensors tell you what is happening at a specific place in the data center. For example, monitoring sensors can be placed on the front of cabinets to give an indication of the temperature at certain points. 

It is a common misconception that because we know the temperature at those points on the cabinet, we also know the temperature at the inlet of the IT. Sensors cannot accurately tell you what is happening between sensors. 

Thermal mapping is the process of interpolating data from monitoring sensors to give an estimated overview of the temperature within the facility. The issue with this method is that interpolating between these sensor points to form a thermal map will not show the root of common overheat problems. This method of estimation can also form blind spots and a false sense of security, missing key problem areas that may lay between sensors and threaten IT.

Simulation is the only way to visualize the true temperatures in your facility, not only to troubleshoot problem areas, but also to make informed decisions on the future of IT placement. A digital twin of a data center is a simulation tool that uses a built-in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) engine, IT asset lists, Computer-aided Design (CAD) floorplans, and monitoring data to create a 3D virtual replica of the data center.  

When connected, monitoring systems essentially feed the digital twin data. Using this data and CFD, a digital twin can simulate the actual temperatures throughout your facility. Our digital twin software, the 6Sigma Digital Twin, can be used as a centralized platform for analysis and decision-making.

Digital Twins and Monitoring Systems: Getting the Entire Picture

Monitoring systems and digital twins go hand in hand. Having physical data is a vital, irreplaceable part of operations. Empowering that data with simulation is the surest way to safeguard IT, minimize risk, and predict the impact of change on your data center. 

If you want to learn more about digital twins, read this post about how colocation provider Thésée DataCenter embedded the 6Sigma Digital Twin into their Data Center Management System (DCMS) to make informed decisions on IT deployment for both itself and its customers. 

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Blog written by: Danielle Gibson, Product Marketing Manager

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