3 foundational elements of a well-structured DCIM deployment

3 foundational elements of a well-structured DCIM deployment

DCIM built on a weak foundation is a solution waiting to fail.

We're no architects, but it's safe to say that builders need to construct a foundation before they raise a skyscraper. Doing it the other way around seems a bit backward: Just imagine trying to retroactively root a new monolith into already existing infrastructure.  

Unfortunately, if you've been burned by a shoddy data center infrastructure management (DCIM) implementation, you don't have to use your imagination. 

Yes, DCIM has extraordinary potential to streamline core data center functions, including:

  • Real-time facility monitoring
  • Asset management
  • Capacity planning

But like a new tower needs to be carefully and deeply rooted into the earth, your DCIM deployment must be built upon three core foundations, or your investment will almost certainly cave in on itself.

1. System integrations

DCIM's core competency is its ability to aggregate large quantities of data into a centralized point of truth, where that data can be parsed and structured to drive better operational outcomes. In other words: no data, no DCIM. 

In fact, Stack contributor Venessa Moffat cites poor integration as among the top challenges to successful DCIM implementation. It's fair to say that the depth of you DCIM's functionality leans entirely on its integrations with internal hardware and software protocols, as well as existing third-party applications. 

Long story short? If you actually want to see ROI on DCIM, you'll need a solution that rests on an open API, or shall we say, a REST API. Every open protocol in your facility – SNMP, Modbus TCP, Modbus RTU, BACnet, LONworks, Niagara, Hardwired I/O and oBIX – needs to be supported, or your DCIM deployment risks collapsing into a money pit.  

DCIM that doesn't let you down.DCIM with these core features is DCIM that doesn't let you down.

2. Strong user interface

Some say form follows function, but our approach to DCIM is more in line with Frank Lloyd Wright's idea that "form and function are one."

Consider, for instance, the visual form that your data center takes when transposed onto a single pane of glass. These digital interpretations of your facility need to be rendered in such a way that the functions they represent are clear. Moreover, the minute details of those functions need to be transparent to whoever monitors them, so that even the slightest changes in your operations are apparent at a glance.

For example, what better way to visually map rack temperature throughout your entire facility than with a heat map that uses warmer, deeper hues to identify hotspots at a glance? If strong integrations are how your facility hardware and software communicate with DCIM, strong data visualizations are how your DCIM communicates with you.     

3. Attentive customer support

"Who you work with is as important as what you work with."

The idea that all DCIM instances share a fixed path to implementation is as daft as the notion that every building can be constructed with the same blueprint.

The fact is, each DCIM implementation will be influenced by a unique set of facility circumstances (location, size, function) and business requirements (flexibility, scalability, number of clients, etc.). The "one-size-fits-all" approach to implementation support is really just another way of saying "one-size-fits-none." 

That's why who you work with is as important as what you work with. We'll be the first to tell you that even the best DCIM solutions will require some fine-tuning upon implementation. Make sure that your vendor is also willing to take on the role of a partner who can help you cultivate return on investment. They designed the solution, after all. Expect them to help you get the most out of it. 

Speaking of which: On Wednesday, Feb. 14, we're hosting a webinar at 9:00 am MST. The topic du jour will be how our new 4.8 Environet software – scheduled for release Feb. 28, 2018 – optimizes users' abilities to make intelligent decisions in the data center. Some of the big benefits of our latest software include: full HTML compatibility, Tenant views and Maintenance updates. Simply click the button below and you'll be directed to a short and sweet registration page. We'll send you a confirmation email containing an invite for the live webinar. 

Register here.

Anyway, where were we? Oh, that's right. We were just saying how the best DCIM providers will actively, if not proactively, help you make the most of your investment.