Insight and analysis on the data center space from industry thought leaders.

Key Questions to Ask Your DCIM Vendor

As companies look to adapt a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool, many DCIM vendors are asked to complete a proof of concept to the buyer. The Proof of Concept phase should not be quick and sweet but take as long as necessary to understand the tool, writes Ryan Devine of Visual Data Center.

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Ryan Devine is currently working with Visual Data Center as a Software Implementation Consultant. Ryan is a recent graduate of the University of Tampa with a degree in Management Information Systems.



Visual Data Center

A proof of concept is where methods or principles are demonstrated to show a product's validity. As companies look to adapt a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool, many DCIM vendors are asked to complete a proof of concept to the buyer. These sessions are used to filter out vendors and narrow a list down to a select few. One of the most prominent questions being asked of vendors is, “At what point do I get my money back?”  Return on investment (ROI) is a major measuring stick as to whether a tool is adopted by a company. ROI plays a large role in determining whether the DCIM project's funding proposal makes its way up the chain of command, but there are many questions that the everyday users of the technology need to ask themselves before procuring a tool.

Adaptability: How Well Can a Tool Adapt to My Personal Needs/Goals?

In the very early stages of discussion with a DCIM software vendor, it is important to grasp their understanding of adaptability through their work with past andpresent clients. Most DCIM vendors have many facets to their tool, but it is important to understand that no one tool meets every demand. A tool’s naming convention could differ from your practices, and some companies have unique methods for doing everyday tasks. It is important to know that a DCIM company can take your road map and desired features and make them a reality for your company.

Ease of Use: How Easily Can This Tool Be Learned?

Whether you have 12 employees or 1,500 workers spanning 20 countries, the ability to adopt the tool and hit the ground running is a high priority. With smaller organizations looking to integrate their daily activities into a DCIM tool, there may be no room in the budget to hire specialists to maintain their data center management tool. Current users will need to be able to pick up the commands is a reasonable time frame, while continuing to maintain their current role in the company. No matter big or small, learning a tool takes time and time is money.

Scalability: How Well/Fast Can This Tool Move Parallel with the Company’s Growth?

A major push behind the DCIM movement is to gain greater insight into one’s data center. This will lead to greater utilization of current assets through consolidation, and soon to the acquisition of new assets – whether building a data center expansion or acquiring new racks for more servers. As the company takes on more assets, the DCIM probe must be able to gather and analyze more asset information. With expansion it is important to note how well/quickly a tool can adapt to those changes.

  • At what point will the tool require more assets to handle certain workloads?

  • What type of redundant systems does the DCIM tool provide?

In conclusion, all three of the above questions should be addressed before making a decision on a DCIM vendor. Yes, ROI has the greatest importance to the individuals in the company signing the check, but something as simple as failing to ensure that the DCIM user knows how to properly connect all the devices could set the project behind leaving the company over budget in return delaying the break-even point. The Proof of Concept phase should not be quick and sweet, but take as long as necessary to understand the tool. The process should include making sure the buyers leave with insight and the tool is unproblematic and capable of achieving the buyers' business goals.

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.

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