Data center managers have been challenged to maintain or increase IT availability, server utilization and efficiency in the face of rising costs and demands. One strategy to help address these challenges is virtualization, which increases server utilization and enables greater energy efficiency. But virtualization also makes it more difficult to predict the demand on physical systems at any given time. As a result of the uncertainty in physical system demand, the data center manager is compelled to reserve a resource buffer against overload at peak capacity.
These are the questions Emerson Network Power recommends data center managers ask before deploying a DCIM solution:
1. What are the critical infrastructure assets in my data center and what are their respective mission interdependencies? An inventory repository can provide the data center manager with a “reality check” of today’s high-value assets, as well as context in the data center plan for tomorrow. This forward-looking insight gives a continual business-oriented view into these critical assets allowing better return-on-investment (ROI) on assets as well as freeing up data center budget for other compelling priorities—a top of mind concern for data center managers.
2. If asked by my management, could I quickly retrieve a comprehensive monitoring and analysis report of all the assets in my data center, and would this report identify bottlenecks? An effective DCIM solution should monitor all space, power and cooling attributes within the data center environment. To avoid an environmental-based operational failure, the DCIM solution should provide reports that enable the data center manager to take proactive action. The ability to report these data center conditions should be available on-demand to the data center manager.
3. Can my data center manage day-to-day workloads with flexibility while servicing on-demand needs as they arrive for my company? The DCIM solution should provide process workflow that can perform:
- Scenario development—the ability to model changes before they go into production,
- Nested processes that list steps that must be completed before an action is approved,
- Measurement against service level agreements (SLAs), which are standard or custom metrics for measuring success, and
- The ability to provision into underutilized space, power and cooling capacity. This function should recommend optimal placement for devices based on their unique requirements and the existing load/capacity in the infrastructure.
4. Does this DCIM solution provide the trend analysis and intelligence needed for my team to deliver a comprehensive capacity management plan? To gain control of the current and future usage of data center resources, DCIM solutions should provide data center managers with insight into:
- Projection pipelines—what projects are in various stages of approval and what the impact will be on the infrastructure, and
- Trending for current and projected utilization (curves based on historical usage). For example, data center management should be able to tell when capacity or cooling will run out, based on utilization trends.
5. What intuitive web-based executive summary and planning tools are provided in the solution? DCIM solutions should provide configurable web-based dashboards and analytics standard within the product. Automating the operational intelligence gathering and reporting through a comprehensive web-based dashboard enables an executive summary that becomes the single source of truth into DCIM and planning.
6. Will the DCIM solution align with IT and business services? Aligning IT service to address business objectives and needs is paramount. Any DCIM solution must enable data center management to align their respective resource consumption with their current ITSM, ITIL and BSM strategies.
“Data center managers are under more pressure than ever to achieve higher capacities with greater efficiency and less risk of downtime,” said Steve Hassell, president, Avocent, Emerson Network Power. “A holistic DCIM strategy is a data center manager’s best partner in meeting the stringent business demands in a modern-day data center environment. To successfully implement a DCIM strategy, data center managers must be on the lookout for the best family of hardware, software and services that allows them to address the critical infrastructure gap.”