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Data Center Infrastructure Management

About DCIM and Data Center Infrastructure Management Software

Today’s data centers have increased in size, density and complexity. Managers need an easy to use Data Center Management System to improve efficiency through data center optimization, extending the useful life of their existing physical infrastructure, while ensuring uptime. A new category of tools with integrated processes, DCIM Software, combines the capability of tracking assets with the coordination and validation of managing space, power, data center cable management and cooling.

How does Data Center Infrastructure Management Software improve Data Center Management?

A well-oiled Data Center is one in which Data Center Managers use the tools and insight to provide a resilient environment where risk is minimized, uptime is maximized, and services and applications can be delivered fast with minimal costs.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools dramatically simplify data center management by giving data center operators the ability to run efficient data center operations and improve data center infrastructure planning and design. It typically replaces Excel, Visio, and home-grown databases.

Maximize Uptime

Constantly monitoring critical facilities infrastructure, DCIM software polls equipment, collects, trends, and reports on data, and monitors for threshold violations. With built in alerting, you can react before failures impact users and services.

Drive Efficiency

Automatically collect data from building feeds, IT loads, and non-IT loads for immediate calculation and trending of PUE across all your data centers to ensure corporate energy efficiency initiatives.

Increase Productivity

Reservations, moves, adds, and changes are easily accomplished through fully integrated and automated workflow management. Process assurance, tracking and audit trails dramatically increase employee productivity and morale.

What are the components of Data Center Management?

Data center managers require tools that provide resiliency, improve uptime, and reduce risk across the data center infrastructure – including network, power, IT equipment, applications software, and applications services.

Tools and processes that enable

Typical tasks in data center management

Upgrading hardware and software/operating systems

Managing data distribution and storage

Backup processes

Emergency planning

Technical support

What problems are encountered in daily
Data Center Management?

1

Management of multiple vendors & associated equipment, applications and operating systems with different contracts, warranties, process, licenses, patches and upgrade processes.

2

Management of multiple data centers with different maturity levels, diverse equipment, processes, and procedures.

3

Maintain SLAs in complex environments where there are different requirements for application availability, data retention, speed of recovery, and network availability.

4

Monitor change where there are poor or no change control processes, antiquated equipment, and inability to keep infrastructure up to date.

5

Manage data center cost and reduced budget, where resources are procured based on “best-cost” – regardless if it is deployed at the “edge”, virtualized, or housed in a colocation. Additionally, energy and cooling costs remain a high percent of the budget.

6

Deploy new services and applications faster with limited understanding of resource availability – capacity, power, and space, as well as inconsistent policies and structure.

What are the Benefits of DCIM?

The benefits of a DCIM solution can be found in time savings, people productivity, and cost savings. Employees no longer need to be on-site to identify what assets are in the data center and what space, power and cooling is available. Data Center Managers can have access to accurate data in real time at a click of a button. Understanding asset details and their physical power and network connections enables highly accurate capacity planning, down to the single port or 1 rack U level. Critical path capacity points are automatically and easily identified, reducing risks of failures. Reservations, moves, adds, and changes are accomplished with ease. Employee productivity and morale dramatically increases as processes and workflows are implemented to ensure high quality changes in the data center.

In his report, “Datacenter Infrastructure Management Software: Monitoring, Managing and Optimizing the Datacenter,” Andy Lawrence summed up the impact of DCIM by saying “We believe it is difficult to achieve the more advanced levels of datacenter maturity, or of datacenter effectiveness generally, without extensive use of DCIM software.”

Here are some specific examples of before and after DCIM software.

Issue

Before DCIM

With DCIM

Asset Management
  • What do I have in my data center?
  • How is it connected?
  • Who owns what

  • Spreadsheets or Homegrown tools
  • Need to physically go on site to determine space availability and position
  • Inaccurate and incomplete records

  • Instantaneous visual and textual information on the equipment in the data center reduces troubleshooting time
  • No need to send someone physically on site.
  • Centralized database enables accurate record keeping and processes
  • Capacity Management
  • How much space, power, cooling, and connectivity do I have?
  • Where is the best place to deploy new equipment?
  • How do I manage my power chain?

  • Information contained within multiple systems with no way to integrate the data

  • Quickly model and allocate space for new servers, manage power and network connectivity in a single view or a few clicks
  • Change Management
  • How do I manage the work? Are there approval processes?
  • Who does the work?
  • How do I know the work is done correctly?

  • Delays in processing work orders
  • Inability to ensure processes are followed

  • Fully integrated workflow management including automation of work orders and workflow activities for process assurance, tracking and auditing trails.
  • Power Management
  • How much is being consumed?
  • How much is available?
  • How do I ensure uptime and availability?

  • Proprietary monitoring systems or sneakernet to the data center to manually take readings

  • Constant monitoring with alerts before circuits fail Locate stranded capacity to avoid costly build outs.
  • Environment Monitoring
  • How can I better manage hot spots?
  • Am I over-cooling my data center?
  • How do I maintain a safe environment for IT equipment?

  • Wasted capacity due to inability to understand cooling requirements
  • Overcooling
  • Unknown hot spots

  • Identification of Hot Spots with thresholds and alerts
  • Know whether you are overcooling and wasting energy
  • Energy Management
  • How can I save energy?
  • What is the cost of it?
  • Who’s using it and who is meeting their saving goals?
  • Information contained within multiple systems with no way to integrate the data
  • Intelligent PUE analytics and reporting tools provide the capability for bill-backs and management decision making
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