DCIM Best Practices

15-05-2014
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In 2014, many organizations will implement Data Center Infrastructure Management(DCIM) for the first time or expand or replace their existing implementation. Here are somebest practices based on experiences with our customers that would help organizations succeed.

Enable Users

Choosing a DCIM solution with usability in mind is a predominant factor in enabling users. The software should be role-based and meet your users wherever they are. Collaterals like allowing single sign-on access also increases usability. One of the key benefits of DCIM is its architecture that brings together a large, valuable data set. To enable users, you need to know how users can leverage data themselves. For e.g.,are they able to create their own metrics, or do new metrics require additional services cost?

Integrate where it makes business sense

Integration is at the core of DCIM. The first phase is integration with devices, power and cooling equipment and the BMS, i.e., the physical data center. Ultimately, DCIM can even replace some of the tools previously used to monitor and manage the physical data center.

But integration in the IT stack is also important. To identify what makes business sense for your first phase, evaluate the workflows you are supporting or enabling with DCIM. Then, map the IT systems that require data sharing to support accurate decision making and reducing manual efforts. For instance, if you are already using intelligent alerting and users receive alerts through a service desk, then you probably have a credible business justification for prioritizing integration of DCIM alerts with your service desk.

DISCOVER: The asset inventory presently may reside in ad hoc solutions, such as spreadsheets or Visio diagrams. This information should be imported into a database format and updated with current information.

VISUALIZE: The physical infrastructure of the data center, which includes floor plans, mechanical & HVAC components, cabinets, etc., can be imported from AutoCAD drawings as an initial step in datacenter design. Once your assets are accounted for, the data can be placed into a visual model.

MODEL: To manage the assets, the components of the data center can be placed within the Visual floor plan model and the cabinets can be populated with components, cable, powerand& cooling. Each item can be manipulated to create the best scenario to plan Move, Add and Change (MAC) initiatives, before committing to a change.

CONTROL: The Virtual changes/planning stage can now be implemented with a workflow process, which will ensure that all of your people are working together and using best practices to manage the data center.

REPORT: The changes have been implemented and results can be measured. Real-time collection of data specific to power and environment metrics are presented in different formats for review in standard reports and visual dashboards.

PREDICT: When it comes to data center capacity, the future can aid in forecasting trouble spots and predicting future growth for space, cooling and power.

2013 has seen an increase in the uptake of DCIM. Seeing a live implementation of the technology at peer organizations and having a frank conversation with those peers will be valuable for your DCIM acquisition and deployment process. It will help gaining insights for defining the critical requirements that need to be clearly spelled out as part of your the procurement process.

With December being a particularly critical time of the year for many in data center infrastructure and operations, use observations to plan for DCIM implementation and capitalize on the awareness building and early wins. Organizations that plan for their DCIM implementations with a focus on enabling users, integrating where it makes business sense, and learning from peers are all achieving greater business value.



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