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Redefining Data Center Operations with DCIM Tools

By CIOReview | Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Of late, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution has gained a great value in terms of facility management. As it encompasses a broad gamut of functionalities that involve hardware as well as software, its role play has grown in scope and utility. Conventionally, the facility managers used to rely on Building Management Systems (BMS) that offer a limited set of functionalities and limit their utility to management of temperature and power usage. As data center management is totally different ball game that involves monitoring of hundreds of parameters, BMS are bound to fail in undertaking gargantuan task.  

The data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution nullifies the traditional notion that monitoring electrical usage is the only requirement to achieve data center operational efficiency. These solutions give an in-depth idea of data center performance that involve tracking computer parts and storage capability and calibrate their performance against numerous operational parameters. DCIM transcends the barrier in terms of scope of application and facilitates capacity planning, asset lifecycle management, data center consolidation and energy efficient practices.

DCIM tools enable data center owners to ensure resource availability and their reliability. They help enterprises to cease the conventional practice of deploying more equipment in order to fulfill network and storage demand. Though they incorporate few elements from BMS, when it comes to performance, the difference is evident. These tools perform asset management related tasks such as power consumption monitoring, heating, and cooling planning and present a clear view of equipment state. Data center administrators can deduce essential parameters like heating, cooling, and manage equipment accordingly. These tools provide the granular view of processes. For example, if data center manager wants to analyze and restrain the expenditure on power consumption, information such as sources of power, power distribution, and the current consumption. A power failure will also be notified to the manager and a point of failure can be detected in the real time.

After sifting through the voluminous data, if a manager realizes the need to deploy more equipment, he can anchor his decision with the insights given by the resource advisor. In the set up of conventional BMS, the data center managers have to rely on guesswork without any resourceful information. Capacity planning can be the additional offering that can help the data center managers in controlling functions related to power, space, cooling and network capacity. Few solutions also offer process manager, which can be used to correct the process workflows and anticipate the changes in the data center environment.

As the cloud has become an imperative in business, on-premise solutions are embracing a slow death and this gives rise to SaaS solutions. DCIM is no way behind in catching up this trend and data center managers are harnessing the power of cloud based tools. The usage not only gives them the ease of accessibility but also power to fix the data center problems irrespective of the geographic location.

In a nutshell, asset management, network connectivity management, energy management, and computational fluid dynamics are the services offered by these DCIM tools. These services empower the data center managers to cut operational cost and gain more visibility into data center operations. Though all DCIM tools do not offer all features listed here, they definitely trump the traditional BMS on all counts of efficiency and accuracy. The modern centers are no longer the hubs that merely store and they provide necessary computer and networking prowess to the businesses, DCIM tools with all their holistic features and functionalities remain as the only choice in the fray. IT leadership needs to re-strategize if they are still relying on the age old BMS. At the end of the day, sheer visibility into the data center operations can help businesses to find the lacunas in numerous business processes.