Choosing the Best-Fit DCIM Toolset

By CIOReview | Friday, May 19, 2017

In the current age, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools empower organizations with needed insights into performance of their IT infrastructure as a whole. It plays a key role in the uninterrupted running of data center operations. However, DCIM is susceptible to change where the vendors and the business needs are influenced to a great extent. DCIM itself is a vast collection of software that includes a wide range of applications, features and capabilities. As optimizing computing resources and maintaining reliability in the data center becomes increasingly important, enterprises should embrace more technology—from a cost perspective as well implementation aspect. Hence to implement the right solution, organizations need to investigate properly before deploying DCIM tools.

Before purchasing a toolset, it is always advisable for enterprises to research for DCIM vendor’s product development, their strategic alliances, and the stability they offer on their products. This is important as having deep knowledge of DCIM vendors and their offerings would provide an overall idea about the investments to be made. For instance, a new merger might decide upon a product’s long-term availability, interoperability, maintenance and support. Add to this, acquisitions incorporate innovative technologies into the offering which also means that there could be inevitable resets of the product’s future laterals with different functions or applications. Else, there could be another scenario where the newly acquired product may stand alone as a feature without much contribution to a data center’s particular need.   

Furthermore, organizations should decide upon the role of DCIM tool in data center management to best select solutions. For instance, the role of a particular DCIM tool may be to manage power and environmental monitoring. In this case, the role of the DCIM system is to collect energy information including power consumption, total power spent, and reporting other energy data requirements. Therefore, enterprises that need either managing power or improving cooling efficiencies can install DCIM solutions that are exclusively capable of managing it. Enterprises need not spend on other packages where vendors offer combined DCIM solutions which might also include tools like predictive analysis or modeling. Further, while selecting power management systems, IT decision makers can again categorize selecting products according to different requirements at the individual rack level or individual servers or section wise. This can save a lot of unnecessary spend on capital. 

Sometimes, in contrast, vendors supply functional products coupling complex and expensive DCIM frameworks including multiple modules. This can cause overlaps with other dedicated products, which again can lead to additional spending and loss. IT department also need to communicate constantly with the vendors to confirm whether the future editions will support the existing protocols and requirements. Organizations implementing DCIM systems should be updated with vendor news without fail and precisely evaluate vendors' product roadmaps. To quote an example, if an IT organization is using BACnet where the DCIM tool’s roadmap embraces Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), it is always productive to replace systems accordingly. The good news is that it is easily possible for enterprises to foresee DCIM roadmap concerns. Thereby, they can map business requirements to the current DCIM tools, its future status and best alternative products—there is no point in keeping products that cannot be expanded to incorporate scaling features and capabilities.

Bottom Line

As the fact remains that each group or department has different purposes and expectations from their DCIM packages, it is wise to narrow down on dynamic DCIM tools which can scale according to the computing needs and IT requirements. Understand well a DCIM platform's strengths and weaknesses before finalizing on any products from a vendor.