Like most emerging technologies, data center infrastructure management — DCIM — has many entrants, varied approaches, and a confusing proliferation of market definitions. As a result, there is little common understanding of the problems DCIM solves. There is also a substantial gap between customer expectations and solution vendors’ promises. In my opinion, this is the key roadblock to the advancement of the DCIM industry.
DCIM can be very complex, often crossing different functional domains. Today’s point tools, such as homegrown databases, spreadsheets, and diagramming software—can only take you so far in the direction of asset, capacity and change management.
When sites get larger, work processes get more complex.
They quickly become ineffective at helping facility managers
make informed decisions about additions, moves,
consolidations, and relocations.
If data center operators are to remain competitive in the future, they will have to recognize this problem and allocate resources toward its solution.
A key step is education. Data center operators should clearly understand that DCIM solutions are more than tools or widgets that you simply procure and turn on. Like CRM or ERP deployments, they are process solutions, requiring the alignment of problem s, processes, and people. Successful DCIM deployments often call for fundamental changes in organizational work processes. So companies like Raritan need to educate and provide the tools that help data centers assess their operations and identify the key problems that they want to solve.
I also recommend a phased implementation. Experience tells me that by taking incremental steps, experiencing success and realizing value, customers gain confidence in further deployments.
We at Raritan help customers take a practical path, first starting with addressing the most pressing need in an initial project -learning and extracting value. For example, our DCIM software suite, called dcTrack, helps a typical data center professional answer questions faced everyday:
- How many servers do I have and where are they located?
- How are they physically connected to the power line and network patch panel?
- Can I place these servers in those racks?
As users dig deeper into DCIM’s capabilities, they can combine power chain and network connection management with workflow to get answers to more sophisticated questions, such as:
- “What is the impact on my power chain?” and “Do I have available power and network connection capacity?”
The answer to these questions is found in Raritan’s DCIM solution. It knows exactly which devices are connected from the UPS to the rack outlet. Additionally, implementing a change management function, combined with a ticketing system, can help customers better manage equipment moves, adds, and changes.
With DCIM you can measure the exact capacity of space, power, and cooling—at a building level, room level, or down to the individual port level in a rack — in order to improve operational efficiency and productivity.
Raritan DCIM solutions provide the information data center and facility operators need to solve complex problems and make informed decisions regarding asset, capacity and change management. If data center managers are to remain competitive, Raritan’s DCIM solution can certainly help guide them.
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