There is still value in performing a physical inventory

Physical Inventory? I thought we were talking about Cloud?

Most enterprises as well as SMBs have adopted virtualization
in mass.  Therefore, performing a
physical audit of the data center is something that is often overlooked.  While I do agree that there are other
discovery elements that should receive a greater focus, performing a physical
inventory can still provide some critical data elements.  

Most electronic discovery tools are designed to discover
compute assets (physical and virtual). Even then, devices that are on protected
(or unknown) subnets may not be discovered electronically nor will they always
detect ancillary connections (fax, USB, etc.).
Finding a physical device that may be hosted on an undocumented subnet
or domain will improve the accuracy of your discovery. Network, storage, and
especially security appliances are often not discoverable, or the discovery
tool may not gather configuration information on them.  Most data centers contain networking
equipment other than just routers and switches.
A physical audit will allow you to identify these devices and manually
gather information on them.  Without
walking the data center, it’s also very hard to get a complete understanding of
the storage technologies in play.  Interviews
with storage engineers are valuable, but often times a stroll through the data
center will lead to the discovery of a storage device that may still be in use
but the engineer had forgotten about.
Security appliances are purposely deployed to not be discoverable via an
electronic discovery tool.

In situations where the IT organization is expecting to
relocate physical hardware, they will frequently attempt

during a physical audit.  It’s important
to remember that doing any type of invasive cable tracing during a physical
audit is a risky endeavor.  Accidentally unseating
a connection can have disastrous impacts to the business.  Many times, I’ve had an IT organization ask
to have the cable labels correlated from switch port to the port on the server,
appliance, or storage array.  While this
is less invasive, it assumes that the client has been diligent with its
labeling practices…which is rarely the case.
In my experience, it’s a far better option to document connection type
and quantity, then design a new cabling scheme to accommodate the
requirements.  

Regardless of where you are migrating (cloud, co-lo, or data
center) or how (physical, logical, or transformation); having a handle on all
your data center assets is key to your success, a little time on your data
center floor will pay off in the end.

This article was originally published at www.abovethecloud.tech