The Road to Acquiring DCIM: A Q&A Primer

What are compelling business activities at the strategic level that make Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) technology essential? Business cases for supporting investments in DCIM are often a combination of hard and soft costs, writes Lara Greden of CA Technologies.

Industry Perspectives

September 16, 2013

4 Min Read
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Lara Greden is a senior principal, strategy, at CA Technologies. Her previous post DCIM Integration: Are IT Management Tools Enough? appeared in August 2013.

LaraGreden-tnLARA GREDEN
CA Technologies

What are compelling business activities at the strategic level that make DCIM technology essential? Business cases for supporting investments in DCIM are often a combination of hard and soft costs. They include the ability to free up OPEX, avoid CAPEX, replace other systems and improve productivity. But the successful business cases for DCIM always recognize that it is essential to the organization’s business goals. Here are responses to questions often asked by forward-looking organizations on the road to acquiring and successfully deploying DCIM technology.

• How do we meet new service demand quickly and efficiently?

When it comes to meeting new service demand quickly and efficiently, the traditional approach is to throw more capacity at the problem, be it physical capacity or labor capacity. Many organizations are recognizing the problems with this approach: namely, that it is expensive and/or not fast enough.

Many organizations align DCIM to the strategic imperative of agility in IT operations. The software-defined data center is helping data center operators in both facilities and IT improve agility at the data center level, and DCIM is a fundamental component of that approach. Due in part to its data federation capabilities, DCIM helps organizations efficiently manage the power, space and cooling capacity of the data center, and efficiently and confidently provision and decommission devices. Because increased automation means that applications are often moving and configurations can be changed easily, data center operators on both the facilities and IT side are finding that the visibility provided by DCIM is a necessary link in the chain. For longer term needs, DCIM provides the analytics necessary for capacity planning.

• Should we build or collocate?

Capacity constraints are a major driver for investment in DCIM technology. When organizations are looking to expand or consolidate their data center infrastructure, DCIM technology is an essential tool. First, in situations where capacity constraints on power, space and cooling are projected to limit the organization, DCIM helps identify and prioritize the opportunities to free up capacity. Likewise, when consolidating data center resources, DCIM helps organizations carry out the consolidation efficiently and accurately. This starts with using DCIM analytics to identify the best locations, equipment and devices to maintain going forward.

Perhaps more importantly, DCIM technology helps organizations uncover situations where capacity constraints may compromise uptime and availability. Knowing when power circuits are reaching higher than desired demand levels, or where hotspots are occurring is essential to maintaining the health of the data center. Data center operators have known this since the beginning, but it’s often easier said than done–unless you have the visualization, normalization, and integration capabilities of a DCIM software technology.

Organizations will increasingly have a portfolio of data center resources, including owned and colo space. DCIM technology helps provide remote insight across a variety of indicators, including efficiency, available capacity and operational status. It helps organizations drive best practices across their data center portfolio by providing insight and transparency.

• How can we create competitive advantage?

For colos and managed service providers, DCIM technology goes beyond helping them run efficient and modern data center operations–it helps them create competitive advantage by offering transparency to their customers, and thus, differentiating themselves in the market.

In a case study on the ROI achieved through the deployment of DCIM software technology in one of their Tier III+ data centers, Logicalis identified top-line revenue as one of the major benefits due to the ability to differentiate their managed services offerings and help customers achieve energy and sustainability goals.

Transparency on various elements such as power consumption, the thermal environment, and other elements in SLAs can even lead to further revenue generating opportunities. These include consulting services and remote operations to help customers reduce their overall costs.

The End Result

Meeting service demand quickly and efficiently, confidently supporting decisions to build or colocate, and creating competitive advantage for colos and service providers share the commonality of attention at the strategic level for data center infrastructure. Because DCIM technology provides the means to execute in those areas with confidence, more and more forward looking organizations are turning to DCIM technology. We expect to continue to see organizations place importance on DCIM as they innovate and evolve their data center strategies.

An upcoming post will discuss essential elements of a roadmap for DCIM strategy in the data center.

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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