How to select the right DCIM solution

How to select the right DCIM solution

A reliable DCIM solution must be vetted before deployment.

Data centers are complex facilities with many moving parts. When they are poorly managed, it leaves ample room for costly downtime, or worse, a data center disaster. These may take the form of fires, floods, electrical hazards and more.

Therefore, mitigating the risks of a catastrophe or an equipment malfunction is a basic part of the daily operations of data center managers. Data center infrastructure management solutions that are comprehensive but easy to use make this task far less daunting.

Tailor DCIM to the data center

DCIM can serve as many or as few functions as a given data center requires. Just as different brick-and-mortar retailers will vary significantly in the amount of space they need to run the day-to-day functions that reap ROI, data center environments can be extremely diverse. One-size-fits-all solutions are not necessarily feasible, which means the first step in choosing a DCIM solution is to consider the needs of the data center in question. 

This is not to suggest that one data center will demand a less vigilant solution than another. However, DCIM solutions vary in functionality, and it's important that data center managers consider the needs of a facility. For example, larger data centers that generate massive quantities of power and climate information may demand greater flexibility from DCIM. Metrics about cabinets and row-based cooling components for low-density wings of the facility and data about high-density, rack-based hot spots might need to be simultaneously displayed on the same screen. 

Conversely, a smaller but higher-density facility may exclusively need rack-based DCIM. Likewise, finely tuned remote monitoring capabilities are essential for a larger facility. On-site or outlet level monitoring may be enough for a small facility. The takeaway here is that data center management must identify the specific facility's needs before deploying DCIM. 

Look for scalability

The data center market is constantly in flux. According to TechNavio, the global data center IT equipment market, which includes servers, storage, network infrastructure and more, will likely see a compound annual growth rate of 9.79 percent from 2015 to 2019. As this market experiences growth, the data center solutions market will also see big gains in the coming years. Research from MarketsandMarkets forecasted that the data center solutions space to witness a CAGR of 11.7 percent from 2015 to 2020

Not every data center is in a position to be a part of this growth, but the possibility of expansion should always be on the minds of data center operators. An effective DCIM solution provides some room for growth, and helps identify trends that may signify a future need for more resources. A business that detects potential for data center growth must therefore look for scalability in its DCIM. It's worth reiterating that DCIM is by no means a one-size-fits-all solution; however, the metrics gathered by DCIM should act as a roadmap for expansion, and should provide enough flexibility that it can continue to perform as equipment is occasionally added, removed or altered. 

Monitoring and asset management are key

Vendor research will play a significant role in helping data center managers decide on a DCIM solution. During this research, it is important to keep an eye on monitoring and asset management capabilities. Important information about the data center's assets and factors that can affect these assets should be accessible in a single pane of glass.

Visualization of the data center is an important capability, as it can supply data center management with a bigger picture of the operation. This bird's eye view is just as important as granularity because it helps data center mangers procure a more holistic understanding of the data center environment.

This is also true when applied to climate and power monitoring, both of which are essential to a facility of any size. Keeping equipment at the right temperatures and taking steps to prevent surges as a result of sporadic voltage spikes are important parts of protecting data center assets. Cooling components and PDUs supply the features that help secure assets, but DCIM provides the intelligence needed to manage these features.

Thus, in many ways, data center equipment is only as useful as DCIM allows it to be. Picking the right solution is therefore of the utmost importance. Browse Geist's DCIM offerings to get a better idea of the options that are currently available to data center managers.