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Data Center Infrastructure Management tools monitor everything and ease capacity planning and operational support

Mark Harris, VP of marketing and data center strategy, Nlyte Software | Sept. 19, 2013
One of the industry's newest technologies to address data center capacity planning is the Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Suite. DCIM Suites enable the monitoring and modeling of everything in the data center for the purpose of capacity planning and operational support.

Many of the industry's largest commercial data centers have embraced the facilities components of DCIM in a big way and are rushing to deploy it today. The likes of eBay, Facebook and Google all realized early that investing in their IT future starts with an actionable plan for cost-based capacity management.  

They also quickly came to the same conclusion: that the means to cost-effectively manage capacity has two major components: managing the structures themselves (including all of the facilities components) and managing the lifecycle of all of the data center's IT components and their interconnectivity. And each of these major components has a handful of sub-components which can also be effective at managing one or more pieces.

Commercial operators will choose which path to start their pro-active management journey, but they are keenly aware that BOTH of these major components will be implemented over time.

Since DCIM Suites offer so many capabilities, many mega-centers are already deploying DCIM, and some are already realizing highly successful DCIM-enabled results. Many of these mega-centers address their structure related management needs first, with facilities-style commercial or homegrown monitoring and alarming fabrics. Facilities professionals have been modernizing their control logic and data center designs over the last few years and many of the most visible DCIM solutions at these mega-centers can be looked at as the next generation of Facilities Management Systems.

At some point in time, the IT professionals who are chartered to populate those mega-centers with processing capacity will have an entirely different view and list of needs from DCIM Suites. These IT professionals focus on the lifecycle management of their specific IT assets (like servers, switches and storage) over long periods, and solutions which manage operational change will be paramount to their success. DCIM Suites support their need for increased Availability at a cost structure that is in line with the business.

These IT professionals are painfully aware that the data center assets change all the time. A conservative estimate of the amount of change may be 25% of all data center mounted devices per year (based on financing, service and warranty schedules). An IT professional in these mega-centers will be looking for DCIM solutions that view all of these discrete changes as miniature projects, and which understands how to plan and manage dozens or hundreds of these mini projects which overlap over the course of any given year.

They would also likely want to understand the impacts of failures, support service desk trouble ticketing processes, and also look at how virtualization can affect their overall service delivery. Clearly the IT professionals have a different set of needs than their Facilities counterparts.


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