Dhesi Ananchaperumal, SVP Software Engineering and DCIM Evangelist at CA Technologies.
DCIM systems are central to so many processes in the data center and beyond that integration is essential. Yet it can also be incredibly daunting. With some organizations using as many as 40 systems to manage the data center ecosystem, the potential for rationalization and retirement is considerable.
This level of integration should not be tackled in a single pass. Instead, organizations should start with the systems that will add the most value to their DCIM implementation and their business.
A requirements workshop at the beginning of the DCIM journey will help identify which integrations matter most. It will also identify where an integrated DCIM system can be used to replace aging, expensive or disparate tools.
DCIM integration opportunities can be split into four key areas:
- Data: This is paramount, and is usually the first area to tackle. For DCIM to deliver better visibility of data center operations and resources, organizations need to be able to integrate data from different platforms and in different formats.
- Service management applications: From building management systems and change management databases to service desk ticketing platforms, integrating DCIM with service management systems can simplify and unify common operational processes. For example, if a PDU rack fails an integrated DCIM system can not only raise a service desk ticket but also correlate other alerts to the same issue.
- Strategic planning: DCIM can be an enabler of business growth. I recently spoke to a large retailer that needed to better manage its power, space and cooling capacity to deliver on its corporate strategy to grow by nearly 30 percent. To be effective, DCIM needs to be integrated with enterprise capacity planning and management processes, which will help provide greater visibility of costs and performance.
- Process automation: With this kind of integration in place, organizations can tap into the next tier of operational efficiencies. For example, workloads can be automatically moved between data centers to take advantage of idle capacity and cheaper energy rates as well as in response to disaster situations. Not many data center managers are prioritizing automation yet, but as adoption of public and private clouds increases, I see this becoming an important opportunity for DCIM.
To realize the full potential of DCIM integration, organizations need to ensure they deploy a DCIM system that has been designed to do just that: integrate. With the right DCIM solution in place, organizations can establish an integration roadmap for the short and long term.
After all, DCIM integration is not a revolution; it’s an evolution. And the results will keep getting better over time.
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