This is the third entry in a Data Center Frontier series that explores the ins and outs of data infrastructure management, and how to tell whether your company should adopt a DCIM system. This series, compiled in a complete Guide, also covers DCIM key functionality considerations, and moving beyond the physical aspects of a facility.
There are no perfect solutions; it will take teamwork and coordination with your own staff and the vendor’s installation team to set up a data center infrastructure management system properly. In most cases, vendors will offer different levels of technical services to do the initial system set-up, such as importing existing drawings or mapping-out the rack layout of the room and even taking inventory of the IT equipment within the racks. There are often extra costs that should not be overlooked or underestimated.
Rather than paying for services during the initial setup period, the customer’s own staff can be trained on the basics and then enter IT details at their own pace and availability. The best DCIM platform will not be effective if the interface is not user friendly, or if it takes to many steps in too many windows to enter information originally, as well as when new IT equipment is added. There are a variety of ways to address this, such as the ability to import data or auto-discovery of devices during a new DCIM installation. In some cases, these are options which should be discussed with each vendor.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The best DCIM platform will not be effective if the interface is not user friendly. #datacenter” quote=”The best DCIM platform will not be effective if the interface is not user friendly. #datacenter”]
Consider a phased approach, as you deploy. For many data centers, just getting a basic visualization of the rack intake temperatures in a row or rack is a huge improvement over an ad-hoc walk around to find hotspots or responding to server over-temp alarms (or thermals shutdowns), while other areas in the room are over-cooled. Just being able to poll real- time power from PDUs in the racks will also be a huge step forward in optimizing equipment distribution and capacity monitoring and planning.
Ease of use is important, but a solid training program is also key to a successful implementation and ongoing effective system usage. While DCIM has many potential benefits, implementing DCIM,
like any other project, takes the commitment of internal staff resources to learn and make effective use of the system. Regardless, which system or vendor you select, operator and administrator training, support and ease of use can make or break the DCIM project by enhancing or diminishing its effectiveness and value.
When evaluating the product offering, also consider the additional cost, time and resources needed for training (formalized training or independently on your own system). The scope of training may also provide insight into the required ongoing personnel resources required to manage the DCIM system once it is operational. Caveat, in effect if the product requires more resources to manage those tasks it purports to optimize or automate is this product a worthwhile investment? Therefore, choosing the right solution and the vendor that is focused on ease of use and customer success is an important aspect of the evaluation criteria.
Over the next few weeks this series on DCIM systems will cover the following:
- Are You a Candidate for a DCIM System?
- Key DCIM Functionality Considerations
- Moving Beyond the Physical Aspects of a Facility
You can also download the complete report, “Data Center Management Infrastructure: Strategic Investment or Unnecessary Expense?” courtesy of Sunbird.