Preparing for DCIM in 2014: Best Practices for Getting It Right

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Lara Greden is a senior principal, strategy, at CA Technologies. Her previous post was DCIM Makes A Difference for Colo Providers.

LaraGreden-tnLARA GREDEN
CA Technologies

In 2014, many organizations will implement DCIM for the first time or expand or replace their existing implementation. Several critical factors will help organizations succeed. Here are recommended best practices based on experiences with our customers.

1. Enable users
First and foremost, when it comes to enabling users, is choosing a DCIM solution with usability in mind. The software should be role-based and thus meet your users where they are. Seemingly small things, such as allowing for single sign-on access, increase usability. One of the key benefits of DCIM is that its architecture brings together a large, valuable data set. To enable users, you need to know how users can leverage the data themselves. For instance, are they able to create their own metrics, or do new metrics require additional services costs?

2. Integrate where it makes business sense
Integration is at the core of DCIM. The most common first phase is integration with devices, power and cooling equipment and the BMS, i.e., the physical data center. Ultimately, DCIM can even replace some of the tools previously used to monitor and manage the physical data center.
But integration in the IT stack is also important. To identify what makes business sense for your first phase, evaluate the workflows you are supporting or enabling with DCIM. Then, map the IT systems for which data sharing is critical to supporting accurate decision making and reducing manual efforts. For instance, if you are already using intelligent alerting and users receive alerts through a service desk, then you probably have a solid business justification for prioritizing integration of the DCIM alerts with your service desk.

3. Talk to others
Implementing and making use of DCIM technology is not a one-off project, as discussed further in this white paper on DCIM implementation success. Having trust in the underlying technology is key to success, but so is confidence that your team will be successfully up and running in the expected time frame. That’s why talking with other organizations with DCIM experience is so valuable.

2013 has seen an increase in uptake of DCIM. Seeing a live implementation of the technology at peer organizations and having a frank conversation with those peers will be valuable for your DCIM acquisition and deployment process. It will help you gain insights for defining the critical requirements you will want to clearly spell out as part of your procurement process.

With December being a particularly critical time of year for many in data center infrastructure and operations, use your observations to plan for your DCIM implementation and capitalize on the awareness building and early wins you’ve achieved. Organizations that plan for their DCIM implementations with a focus on enabling users, integrating where it makes business sense, and learning from peers are all achieving greater business value from their DCIM implementation.

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One Comment

  1. Jim Leach

    Great insights Lara! We're finding that DCIM can become the linchpin for data center operations. RagingWire is working with CA and others on our N-Matrix DCIM platform, which we use to run our data centers and report to our customers. CA has been a great partner for us.