Mark Gaydos is the Chief Marketing Officer for Nlyte Software, the leading developer of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software focused on the management and optimization of data centers.
The data center today looks very different than it did just 10 years ago. Massive shifts in how companies conduct business have increased the importance of applications, IT and the data center, and as a result the pace of change inside data centers has massively increased. New trends are causing organizations to maintain more data centers across varying geographical locations.
In the past, companies managed data center infrastructure and the processes surrounding those resources using spreadsheets. This approach, albeit cheap and easy, was a stopgap for using a real enterprise management platform. It is to fill this need that data center infrastructure management (DCIM) materialized.
What is Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)?
A DCIM solution allows an organization to plan, manage and optimize the physical elements and processes that exist in a data center. But the key to DCIM is its capacity to help a team plan and to operate disciplined processes around management of their assets and environmental resources, while tying this information seamlessly into their ITSM systems.
Although DCIM solutions have been around for more than a decade, there are five worldwide trends that have rapidly increased its adoption in recent years.
1. Software is Eating the World. Apps Define the Enterprise.
In 2011, Marc Andreessen said in The Wall Street Journal, “Software is eating the world.” He discussed how new software services are threatening well-established businesses across a wide variety of industries. You don’t have to look far to see how Amazon completely re-invented/devastated the book buying industry or how Pixar revolutionized how movies are made. Most companies throughout the globe have taken notice and are trying to adapt by developing their own software applications.
Thus, organizations are investing in new applications and the underlying infrastructure to support those applications. CIOs have made investments in virtualization, CMDBs, service management software, and a variety of other IT service management (ITSM) technologies to automate the technologies on top of their data center infrastructure. Yet while they have automated and implemented new technologies in the layer between the data center and the applications (application infrastructure), their data center resources are often being under-managed with antiquated approaches.
As a result, many CIOs are finding their ability to deliver service levels to the business are hampered by the weak link in the chain – the management of their actual physical data center infrastructure. They are now implementing DCIM in order to manage this infrastructure more efficiently.
2. The Data Center Boat May Get Swamped. Mobile, Big Data and Internet of Things.
Another trend worldwide trend is the adoption of mobile and handheld, virtual desktop, big data and the Internet of Things initiatives. The growing use of these technologies is generating massive increases in network traffic, data processing, data storage, and data analysis. These new demands are causing such an increase in all data center resources that they threatening to swamp the “data center boat in a sea of information.”
DCIM solutions not only provide the ability to perform more effective capacity planning and cost reductions through tech refreshes around resources, but also enable organizations to extract efficiencies from limited systems and personnel so organizations can stay ahead of these new applications.
3. What Are We Buying With All this Money? Increasing IT Budgets Forcing Financial Discipline.
With the increased emphasis on new applications and technologies, overall spend on IT is growing for many organizations. CFOs are now compelled by their stakeholders and shareholders to understand how past investments are being used before they approve future purchases.
A DCIM solution not only enables data center professionals to more efficiently plan and manage data center infrastructure, but the use of these systems empowers and drives more discipline around all aspects of managing data center resources. This enables the data center manager to know what systems are supporting which business initiatives, where those assets are located, what resources the assets are using and answer a myriad of questions that finance may have in order to see efficient use of IT spend.
4. We Don’t Want to Be on the Front Page of The Wall Street Journal! Security Breaches Drive Data Center Compliance.
You don’t have to wait long to hear about the latest major security breach in the news. It’s every CIO’s greatest fear that their company will end up on the front page of The Wall Street Journal because of a data breach.
The strength of any data security strategy is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. Thus, organizations are starting to examine their entire technology stack; from the data center floor all the way up through their applications and Internet connectivity.
An enterprise-level DCIM solution will not only allow an organization to implement discipline and rigor around how assets are added, refreshed, and decommissioned, but they will also provide a comprehensive audit trail of what is happening to these resources.
5. We’re Buying Yet Another Company? Acquisition-mania Demands Improved Data Center Processes.
Acquisitions are now a way of life amongst large organizations worldwide. This typically leads to CIOs being asked to integrate and manage new IT assets, some of which may be in entirely new geographical locations around the globe.
With DCIM in place, an organization can effectively absorb new assets while also directing changes to existing assets, as required. As changes are requested and approved in IT change management systems, these changes can then be pushed into a DCIM system, which can then direct personnel worldwide to perform a multitude of specific sub-tasks.
DCIM, Keeping Up With the Times
In the past, organizations could keep up with change by using server automation and virtualization technologies while the underlying infrastructure of the data center remained relatively constant. DCIM adoption is on the rise around the world, as organizations realize if they are to keep up with the pace of change, adhere to corporate policies, stay agile and keep the finance department and auditors content, they need to also automate processes around the management of their data center infrastructure.
Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.