Trying to plan a data center that can accommodate needs for 10 years has always been a challenge, with the classic fallback being to just overbuild everything to allow for any conceivable future.
But when the economy tightened, organizations began to re-think this practice and have become extremely conservative in bringing new capital-intensive future capacity online. Each in-progress project is being scrutinized for scope and priority, and existing data center structures are being studied to determine how they can be better utilized immediately.
At the same time, all professional IT organizations are spending a lot of effort to create a set of best practices and implement solutions which assure they understand their business computing needs and can articulate their computing capacity demands over longer periods of time. The goal is to closely align the supply of data center capacity to those needs.
One of the industry's newest technologies to address this business planning function for data center capacity planning is the Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Suite. DCIM Suites provide a set of capabilities that enable the monitoring and modeling of everything in the data center for the purpose of capacity planning and operational support. Every device, every connection, where they are placed and how much power they draw.
All of this information is modeled in a single data structure with an extremely high level of fidelity so any combination of devices (or even the data center as a whole) can be studied and actively managed using various planning scenarios. When implemented fully, users of DCIM Suites can manage all business aspects of the data center with a high degree of accuracy without the need to step foot in the data center with a clipboard.
As a data center modeling solution, DCIM Suites also capture the facilities-provided resources, such as power and cooling, to assure the computing needs are coordinated with the physical structure itself. For instance, moving a workload to a server that has plenty of CPU but is in a row that doesn't have additional power is worthless. CPU cycles and available watts (and cooling) must exist at the same location for dynamic workload management to be possible.
DCIM Suites can lower costs associated with mismatched supply and demand, can improve operational efficiency through more accurate remediation support, and can reduce downtime by quickly understanding the impact of each device and everything else.
DCIM can be deployed in stages, starting with either the facilities monitoring components or the asset lifecycle management components, depending on which organization is driving the project. It is important to remember, however, that in the end, both sides of the DCIM picture will be painted. Regardless of where any forward-thinking organization starts, DCIM Suites will be deployed to manage both the data center structure and the housed equipment.
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