Leaders Achieve Best Practice With DCIM

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LARA GREDEN<br/>CA TechnologiesLARA GREDEN
CA Technologies

Lara Greden is a senior principal, strategy, at CA Technologies. Her previous post was titled, Bringing DCIM Technology into Your Data Center You can follow her on Twitter at @laragreden.

When you look around at the people responsible for driving the use of DCIM software at their organization, you will find people with highly visible roles that are leading their organization’s to drive significant growth. Recently, I heard from a person in a DC Ops role about how DCIM is part of their tactical plan to help the company meet a goal of nearly 50 percent growth over the next three years on today’s $30B revenue base. Those are not small numbers.

Implementing DCIM software, to drive best practices in data center operations and services to help an organization grow, requires leadership. Here are three key principles of effective leadership demonstrated by true stories of how DCIM software is helping real people lead change for their business.

Data-driven Decision Making

One of the main drivers for adopting DCIM is the need to get data to help make better decisions. In this day and age, leaders expect decisions to be data-driven. For example, is there enough power, space, and cooling to meet the upcoming rollout plans? Which data center is the best choice given the expected workload profile for a new app? And not only do executives expect such decisions to be data-driven, but they expect the underlying data to be high quality and increasingly real time, not just nameplate values. Thus, understanding how easy is it to acquire data into a DCIM system and be able to use it to make decisions is a key aspect that organizations need to focus on during vendor selection processes.

Data center operations are dynamic by nature, but lack of an accurate view of power and cooling introduces risk as new devices are provisioned.

DCIM offers a way forward by providing data collection, visualization in the context of the power chain and 3D views of the environment, and analytics to make data driven decisions. A manager of critical infrastructure for a global financial institution recently summarized it well in saying that by having accurate power, temperature, and other environmental data, they are able to make better decisions on using the capacity in their infrastructure without putting customer experience at risk. This data also enables the organization to more easily plan for future capacity needs.

Anticipate the Future

In order to lead the adoption of best practices in your data center, you need to be able to anticipate the future, communicate it clearly, and craft it into reality.

The future is DevOps, and part of that future means being able to access data from all parts of data center operations so that Development can use it to improve the quality of product releases. Likewise, data center op’s knows all too well that increased speed is the marching order in today’s world. However, leadership is about crafting the vision for speed and reliability into reality.

Tools such as DCIM help the organization get there. Imagine a future in which no servers are placed on breakers that would trip because of insufficient power, and one in which you don’t have to waste significant investment on over provisioning or over building data center space because safety factors are set unnecessarily high.

DCIM software can help turn that vision of the future into reality. It gives a consolidated view of real time data across power, space and cooling, across one or many data centers. Couple it with a view across other sources of machine data in the data center, such as compute, memory, and I/O, and you have an even more powerful tool to help anticipate the future and craft it into reality.

Make Meaningful Commitments

Leaders need to make meaningful commitments, and hold themselves and others accountable with systems for measuring success.

When speaking with people across various sectors – including manufacturing, retail, financial, government – as well as the leading colo providers and service providers who use DCIM in serving their customers, their key focus is on excellence. They are using DCIM for monitoring and intelligent alerting to save costs; as well as to make commitments when planning for future infrastructure needs. Above all, DCIM technology is helping them break down siloes so they can intelligently manage power, space, and cooling to deliver business needs.

When it comes to making commitments for driving data center best practices, don’t make the mistake of viewing the major commitment around DCIM as being about cost cutting. While important and part of overall continuous rationalization efforts, cost cutting is not the type of bold commitment that demands CIO attention and thus the best, most capable leaders will not be assigned to such projects. Rather, if you are looking to drive best practices in your organization’s data center operations, you need to view DCIM as a means of achieving the ultimate customer experience, speed, agility, and growth.

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One Comment

  1. Jim Leach

    Lara presents excellent insights in this posting. The most important part about DCIM is the data. We are using CA software as critical components in our DCIM platform called N-Matrix. As a colocation provider, we want to get the best DCIM tools in the hands of our customers -- and with CA we're making that happen.