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Guest View: Manage services, not just data centre infrastructure

Eric Barbaender | Jan. 23, 2014
In the future, data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) must place greater emphasis on facilitating the provision of IT services.

In order to remedy this deficiency, a DCIM software application must cover the following layers: facility management, IT and data centre management, and business services management. Each of these layers requires specific information from a DCIM system.

Facility managers need data relating to management systems, including the access control system, power supply, air conditioning systems, and the physical network equipment. IT administrators require information about the use of IT resources and available space in the data centre. In addition, they should have access to 3D representations of the components in the data centre, including temperature and power consumption data. This information is essential for optimising rack and component layout.

At the services/business process management layer, DCIM solutions should provide data about the existing physical and virtual servers and the applications running on them. Functions that help to provide and bill IT services are also useful.

Next-generation DCIM
A next-generation DCIM solution should be based on a comprehensive data model that brings together information from all areas, from building management systems and the logical and IT system layer through to business processes. With regard to the facility layer, it should provide true-to-scale plans of the data centre buildings, power outlets, climate control zones, air conditioning systems, and monitoring systems.

At the physical layer, the DCIM software should provide data about power and data cabling, patch fields, switches, and server and storage hardware. This information forms the basis for managing components throughout their entire service life.

The logical network and system layers should also be taken into account. In addition to details about network connections (local and wide area networks), it should also provide information about servers and their operating systems, wireless LANs, storage systems, and storage volumes. It is also important to take virtualised systems into account. Only by doing this is it possible to obtain realistic data on power consumption and cooling requirements.

Monitoring server systems is an essential function of a DCIM platform at the system layer. Solutions such as Data Centre Management (DCM) Integrator powered by Intel measure power consumption and CPU temperature in a server system or other network equipment in real time.

This information makes it possible to draw conclusions about overall power consumption and possible ways to save energy. DCM Integrator brings together relevant monitoring aspects of a server infrastructure in the data centre, including the creation of workload diagrams and forecasts of future utilisation and power demand.

Among the benefits provided by newer DCIM solutions is the ability to track down ghost or orphaned servers that are under-utilised or not used at all. An additional application area is analysing rack density in order to populate racks with more components if appropriate.


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