Lara Greden is a senior principal, strategy, at CA Technologies.
When it comes to driving value through data center operations, one of the prevailing challenges for facilities and IT alike is a lack of common management tools. In a survey conducted by IDC, 63 percent of respondents reported that they do not have a common set of management tools covering servers, network, storage, power, cooling, etc.
For those on the facilities side, what does it mean to not have an integrated tool set covering the complete data center picture? Likewise, what does it mean to not have the areas of power, space, and cooling visible and integrated with the tool sets that IT uses?
Lack of Tools Can Hold Back Productivity
It means more time spent on manual tasks. It reduces the ability to be agile. It also means a missed opportunity to provide value to the business, be it maintaining availability when it matters most or providing the data center capacity to meet the needs of new products and services that contribute to revenue generation.
By bringing together accurate information on power, space, cooling, network, compute, storage, and more, Data Center Infrastructure Management software suites help facilities and IT get an integrated picture of their data center environment. It makes information that was previously hidden in somebody else’s “black box” become transparent. Furthermore, the analytics that are possible when you have a DCIM system in place that truly integrates with your environment helps you address risk and capacity in new ways.
Beyond IT Management Tools: Benefits of Integration
Let’s take the scenario of integrating with the various physical systems supporting the data center and the analytics made possible. It allows you to see all relevant metrics for a Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC), battery, or circuit breaker from one place. For example, one organization that I work with was able to get early identification of the potential failure of circuit breakers before the Building Management System (BMS) notified them thanks to their DCIM implementation. Being able to make the repairs faster put the organization at less risk for a potential incident and provided immediate value.
DCIM Helps Manage Data Center Capacity
Providing and meeting the capacity needs of the business is often a major driver for investment in DCIM software suites. Another organization I know of had an extremely lengthy, manual, and costly process for finding space for new servers in the data center. Even a third party was involved, yet data was typically still inaccurate and not current. By looking to DCIM software as the technology solution to support a people and process change, the organization can significantly simplify their processes and greatly improve the agility of their data center operations. Analytics through DCIM can provide options for where to place devices with sufficient power, space, and cooling. No more tossing the information back and forth, or making guesses, and then dealing with the issues later. This is another tangible area of savings for DCIM software.
Integration with the equipment, devices, and systems in the data center is key for unlocking black boxes and achieving the benefits of transparency and analytics through DCIM. Integration capabilities play into the timelines of implementing DCIM software, and are one of the key areas to consider in looking under the hood of DCIM software offerings. When you can truly integrate the key data sources required, you will be able to stand behind your decision to invest in DCIM.
An upcoming blog post will discuss some specific questions that we see forward looking organizations asking as they build the business case for integrated DCIM software suites.
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