Tim Hazzard serves as president of Methode Electronics – Data Solutions Group, which provides Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM), active energy, cabinets, cabling and customized data center solutions throughout North America and Europe.
For mid-size data centers, a custom DCIM solution might seem out of reach.
“Sure, the ‘big boys’ have the resources to install and maintain smart cabinets, but surely DCIM is too complex for our company. Plus, do we really need all that data?”
The truth is, mid-size data centers stand to gain considerable benefits from DCIM information and efficiencies. In fact, we’ve heard testimonials from mid-size customers reporting major savings after utilizing DCIM intelligence. One customer in the United Kingdom recently reported to our team that it saved more than a million pounds by turning up the data center’s temperature by five degrees – based on information from its DCIM solution.
The current market provides mid-size data centers with affordable custom options that are turn-key, requiring little installation time and providing analytics that allow managers to make real-time operating decisions.
There are a lot of myths that could convince managers that their mid-size data centers are too small for such a significant tool. I’d like to clear up a few of the most common DCIM misperceptions that keep companies from implementing DCIM into their data center operations.
Myth #1: DCIM is too expensive.
Data center managers of mid-size companies may believe that custom DCIM solutions are reserved for Fortune 500 companies with well-funded IT budgets. In reality, effective DCIM solutions can deliver smaller data centers the same benefits while remaining within financial constraints.
DCIM is a broad application. Getting involved in DCIM can be as much as you want it to be. There are a lot of suppliers that will provide various features and functions based on what your company needs. It just depends on what you want to accomplish.
In order to keep costs manageable, review your data center’s needs and implement pieces of DCIM that will yield the biggest returns for your unique setting. Be sure to select tools with enough depth to provide the desired information without going overboard. For example, choosing applications that are manually updated might save money up front, but those initial savings could be lost, in the end, to expensive errors and miskeys.
Next, align and enforce standards that support the DCIM applications you choose. This will ensure quick integration, saving considerable time and money.
You also can save by looking for suppliers that offer more turn-key solutions. By going with a pre-integrated product, you can save on integration fees. Plus, some suppliers will design, install and service your DCIM solution, ensuring your needs are met every step of the way.
Myth #2: DCIM is too complicated.
DCIM implementation doesn't mean you need a hoard of internal resources. Mid-size data centers need a complete toolset and the assistance to install and maintain the tools with minimal effort.
Yes, DCIM can appear complicated. One system monitors temperature, humidity, air flow, server capacity, security, asset tracking. . .that’s a lot of moving parts. But, when you break the processes down to finite pieces and tackle each individually, it’s not as daunting. It’s important to approach it comprehensively from a facilities point of view. Work down to the core aspects of each feature of a DCIM solution. That’s how you break apart the complexity. After that, it’s simple.
Good service can help with the complexities, too. Find a provider with a robust tool that integrates the hardware, software and service support to set you on the right track. Full-service providers will make sure it pre-integrates with your existing systems, and service technicians will ensure that the hardware and software are in synch. So, you’re not in it alone.
Myth #3: DCIM can't scale.
Data center cabinets aren't "one size fits all." Each company has unique infrastructure and information needs, which can be accommodated through a custom DCIM solution. No matter the size, each data center can have resources that fit its own business requirements.
Scalable assets are important. Hardware companies often offer multiple pricing models based on the tools selected and can scale to smaller facilities. Find a solutions provider that will work to understand your data center’s unique needs and match the functionality level you’re looking to leverage.
A fully functional and effective DCIM solution allows human resources to be more productive. Employees will spend less time analyzing data and instead can repair equipment and provide other internal services. In addition, DCIM equips data center managers with more predictive analysis so they can resolve potential failures before they happen. For example, a server may get too hot due to lack of sufficient air flow. Proactive maintenance responds and alleviates an issue before it becomes a critical situation.
These benefits aren’t just for large data centers, though. Mid-size data centers can utilize custom DCIM solutions to improve efficiencies and effectiveness of their operations, particularly with less space, fewer resources and smaller staffs.
Take Your Data Center to the Next Level
DCIM certainly is within reach for mid-size data centers. But, when considering your options, evaluate the features and services that best fit your company’s needs. Look for a customized solution that includes the features that will enhance real-time monitoring and deliver actionable metrics.
The idea is to equip mid-size data centers with just the right amount of information – enough to make fast, smart decisions to better allocate resources, but not too much that it can’t be easily digested and used effectively.
With the right DCIM solution and provider, you can take your data center to the next level, no matter what size it is.
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