Reporting from the Field Issue #4: Is my DataCenter Infrastructure Healthy?

This question should be asked continually.  As I continue to be knee deep in vSphere Upgrades/Installations, UCS Implementations, and more, i’m continuing to see a trend.  Unfortunately, it’s not a good one.

We see a lot of information out there on the Interwebs…lol..that talk about new products, features and functionality and customers are excited to take advantage of all that these new products, and new versions of products offer, however one important thing is being missed and that’s Health Checks and Assessments.  I know, I know..boooooring..zzzzzzzzzz..but I assure you it’s a necessity.

Why?  Well let’s talk about the many environments we engineers and architects visit on a daily basis.  Some are implemented with a “trial by fire” type mentality, some are poorly implemented from other partners who really have no business doing what they do. 

The bottom line is that Software Defined DataCenters today typically touch every single layer of the Infrastructure stack.  Uplinks to Core Networks, and Storage area Networks, Blades and Servers, Firewalls..etc. This also means that the state of each of these can cause tremendous performance issues and upgrade issues.

In the past month i’ve run across misconfigured and shotty networks.  This is usually the number one issue that I continually face.  Misconfigurations, lack of best practice, the dreaded VLAN1,and lack of logical segmentation. It seems to be a constant everywhere I turn and it would seem that the Network has been pushed aside in favor of all the cool blinky lights.

Domain and DNS issues have been another issue I see constantly.  Again, older Windows Domains, ie 2000 Native, misconfigured DNS etc.

Storage is another story, undersized, and over utilized.

I believe that this is where Partners can differentiate themselves.  We always talk about being “Trusted Advisors.”  Prioritizing and calling out open issues prior and recommending Assessments and Health Checks should be a number one priority prior to selling a solution to any customer.  The basic methodology that we have been following for years has not changed, yet is not being followed:

1. Assess

2. Remediation

3. Solution

4. Implement

5. Monitor

6. Continuous Improvement.

This is what we should live by.  It provides a methodical, step-by-step approach that results in success and that’s what we should be striving for, to deliver the right service to the customer so they can be successful and by doing that, we truely become the trusted advisor.


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