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Schneider Electric: Cutting through the DCIM noise

01 Jul 2014

DCIM suites offer contextually aware monitoring. Schneider Electric's Andrew Sylvester offers tips on how to begin.

Our need to process and store data is increasing exponentially.

Globally, we’re moving into a period termed ‘the internet of everything’. This means by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices – nearly seven per person.

The trend means that in today’s IT environment, businesses are looking to grow and scale their IT operations.

As a result, solutions such as data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) are becoming increasingly popular with businesses looking to meet these challenges. While there are a lot of organisations offering DCIM, many are not able to provide the benefits that a full suite of solutions can provide.

DCIM is not about point-solution products such cable management and IT monitoring software that monitor only singular aspects of data centre operations.

Proper DCIM solutions cover the full suite of monitoring, automation, management and analytical capabilities.

The confusion on DCIM solutions can be compared to the analogy between the dashboard of 1967 VW Beetle and Toyota Prius.

A 1967 VW Beetle only has information like speed and fuel, while the Toyota Prius can provide information like how many kilometres can be done on the current tank and when an oil change is needed.

Point-solutions run on device-level monitoring similar to the VW beetle.

By contrast a full suite of DCIM solutions marks a fundamental change towards contextually aware monitoring – similar to what’s found in a Toyota Prius.

Getting on the road to DCIM

For organisations looking to take advantage of DCIM solutions, it’s important to start by determining what areas need to be focused on – availability management, capacity management, change management or solutions optimisation, etc.

Organisations should then look at modelling the outcomes of implementing DCIM before deploying it across the system, as this will ensure they have full insight into the benefits and potential ROI.

Modelling is particularly relevant for managers who have limited visibility on their IT and data centre equipment and its performance, as DCIM can help reduce these concerns by providing a greater overview of the data centre operation.

When considering DCIM solutions organisations should also take a combined view of data centre, facilities and IT ecosystems – this approach is called a ‘data centre management system’.

This view considers organisational relationships, and the impact of how people work and the processes they use across the organisation.

When properly deployed, DCIM provides invaluable insights into key cost areas within the data centre, providing information to managers on operational performance and day-to-day activities.

The end result is that DCIM allows executives to make better decisions and manage IT operations more effectively.

This results in improved management of resources in key areas such as power, cooling, space capacity management, energy cost management and business value.