Our last blog was Zombie Cables focusing on DCIM software… but what about zombie devices? Now, those things can be a real drain: on your electric bill, on security, on documentation and on troubleshooting problems. It’s the stuff no one really knows about. You’ve probably had a conversation like this before:
“Hey Bill ,what is that server for that is running over there?”
Bill looks at you blankly, “You got me, it’s always been over there.”
Call these devices what you will, but the point is: these zombies lurking around your data center take up space and energy on a regular basis – and not just electric energy but human energy. For example, how often does someone have to visit the same piece of equipment over and over and nothing really happens with it or to it?
You can calculate real energy by figuring the power being used by the cost per watt. But the toll of constantly thinking about the “unknown” equipment is not easy to quantify. What about the space of rack mounted equipment that may taking up room in a cabinet? Again, it’s not easy to put a number on it but it does have a cost.
So, what can you do to discover some of this equipment? For the things on that network that are powered on, you could do traditional network discovery (if it has an ip address). If it doesn’t have an IP address, you may need to do a survey and figure out what you have. So you don’t keep revisiting the same items over and over (deja vu, anyone), be sure to document what you do have. Just figure out what it is and document it.
When you have these zombie devices documented, people can then look them up easily. Work order tasks can be created to decommission the equipment if needed. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even go a step further and do some real-time power monitoring of equipment and some power analysis to figure out which devices are drawing power but aren’t used or are underutilized.
So, the solution to zombie devices? Don’t call Ghostbusters; call in some documentation to really get control of your network and get rid of equipment that is not being used.