With more than 75 companies now offering tools under the wide umbrella of DCIM, it isn't easy for a new player to make a splash. Unless that new player is global electronics and electrical engineering powerhouse Siemens, which has focused its ambitions on the data center and heading into DCIM in a big way.
Datacenter Clarity LC is the company’s foray into the world of DCIM (data center infrastructure management), a suite that combines management and facilities management functions. The company has thrown its muscle into this effort, boosted by a broad existing portfolio of data center solutions, a history in efficiency, as well as a global talent pool of engineers in support.
Meeting point between IT and Facilities
The DCIM solution unveiled last month, Datacenter Clarity LC, consists of engineering and lifecycle management software tools that ensure uptime while optimizing energy and operational efficiencies to accommodate the rapidly changing needs of today’s data centers. It integrates information from both IT and facility assets, workflows and work orders, and conducts "what if" analyses.
"Datacenter Clarity LC can help you optimize capacity planning while driving operation and energy efficiencies," said John Kovach, Siemens’ new Global Head of Data Centers.
Datacenter Clarity has an open API architecture facilitates interoperability with other systems. “Our vendor neutral solution supports more than 400 protocols from both the IT and facility perspective, giving customers total visibility of their data centers,” said Kovach.
Siemens Ripe for DCIM Play
Siemens’ DCIM power play wasn’t out of the blue. Siemens has an established track record in facility/enterprise infrastructure development, separately providing different aspects of data center infrastructure to customers over the years. The list of what the company provides isn’t short:
- Medium Voltage gear that connects the building to the utility grid.
- Low Voltage gear that distributes the power throughout the building.
- All the interconnecting controls to enable the Emergency Generators and UPS equipment.
- Complete Power Monitoring system that provides detail on the usage, power balance and consumption of the entire facility.
- Building Automation and temperature controls for the cooling of the facility.
- Fire and Life Safety systems to protect the people and equipment within in the building.
- Perimeter and physical security of the building to control access to the building, CCTV systems to provide visual images of the critical locations within the facility
The company sees a formal DCIM play as the logical evolution of its data center strategy, and is setting out to bridge the divide of IT and facilities management.
"The exponential growth and importance of data centers was leading to a need to bridge the growing “silos” of IT and facilities’ management of data centers,” said Kovach. "Having the two areas collaborate and work together was a constant challenge requiring a central system that would eliminate the inefficiencies that were developing from those separate silos. This is the purpose of DCIM – and Siemens’ existing expertise in the different infrastructure areas, coupled with our established leadership in energy and operational efficiency, seemed a perfect fit."
A history of diverse data center products combined with the growth of the data center market prompted the company to build a unifying product
"The data center market has been rapidly growing and evolving, and quickly becoming one of the most important, mission critical areas of any business," said Kovach. "Traditionally, data centers were usually dealt with from either an IT or facilities perspective. But with its growing importance, the nexus between IT and facilities became its own area, requiring a unique solution that would help manage and control the data center as a central control function, and not simply as ‘storage areas for electronic files’ as they had first started out."
Siemens believes it has seen a strong handle on what the market has been demanding. The key areas of concern:
Uptime: “Data center operators today want to proactively respond to potential threats to the data center’s uptime,” said Kovach. “A DCIM tool can do this with real-time.”
Data center alarm and event notification: “With real time monitoring, you can predict outages and take proactive steps to correct problems before they become critical,” said Kovach.
Scalability: “This is an area with rapidly changing needs,” said Kovach. “With advances in cloud computing, mobile computing and social networking, data center managers are being asked to respond to a number of questions, uch as, ‘Can our data center grow with our organization or clients’ changing needs -- from physical layout, server capacity, power usage and cooling requirements?’ and, ‘Will we be able to reduce the cycle time for data center consolidation or expansion with limited impact on availability or operation?’ The ability to quickly answer these and other questions provides the efficiency and service levels demanded of today’s world class facilities.”
The Growing DCIM Market
Several DCIM vendors have cited market confusion as a major hurdle to adoption. There are many players who all tend to blend together. So how does Siemens seek to differentiate itself in this increasingly crowded market?
"DCIM providers are all eager to differentiate themselves in this market," said Kovach. "But Siemens is particularly strong in several areas."
The company believes it has a cohesive and integrated platform, a history of efficiency, and global scale.
“Siemens has the broadest infrastructure solutions portfolio in the market, from BMS to power distribution to fire & security and the ongoing services,” said Kovach. “Not only do we have the broadest portfolio, but Siemens has the unrivaled ability to integrate these various solutions through the proven foundation of our Siemens PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software which has been utilized by over 7 million licensees in key industries such as automotive, aerospace, high tech and the like.”
Experience With New Frontiers
Siemens PLM has beyond global experience. Kovach mentions the Curiosity Rover that NASA successfully landed on Mars in August and the “7 minutes of terror” just prior to landing where no adjustments or corrections could be made. “This fully automated portion of the mission had critical aspects designed and supported by Siemens Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) software,” said Kovach.
So after navigating a Mars landing successfully, Siemens feels confident in its ability to navigate the DCIM sector.
"We provide the local, advanced integration expertise needed to execute and implement and maintain these solutions in the data center environment – almost anywhere in the world," said Kovach.
"Datacenter Clarity LC is designed to enable future proof business growth as well as the extraordinary scalability demanded by the world’s largest companies for their most critical business needs," said Kovach. "All of this, coupled with the fact that we are using a proven platform already utilized by millions of licensees in critical applications in a number of industries, provides the assurance of a robust platform required for a mission critical building such as a data center."