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What is Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)?

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) refers to the discipline of managing and optimizing the operations and performance of your data center infrastructure. A vast subject, DCIM emerged in response to the growing complexity of IT infrastructure systems.

What is Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)?

Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is the convergence of IT and building facilities functions within an organization. The goal of a DCIM initiative is to provide administrators with a holistic view of a data center‘s performance so that energy, equipment, and floor space are used as efficiently as possible.

DCIM software is used to measure, monitor, and manage the IT equipment and supporting infrastructure of data centers. This enables data center operators to run efficient operations while improving infrastructure design planning. DCIM software can be hosted on-premises or in the cloud.

Data center infrastructure management tools can help administrators locate and identify relationships between a building and its IT systems. For example, energy-monitoring sensors and supporting hardware can be installed to measure and manage the energy consumption of IT equipment and infrastructure components such as power distribution units (PDUs). The same system can then analyze power usage effectiveness (PUE) and cooling system energy efficiency.

data center infrastructure management

Benefits of using DCIM

Improve Uptime

Constantly monitoring critical facilities infrastructure, DCIM software polls equipment, collects, trends, and reports on data, and monitors for threshold violations. With built-in alerting, you can react before failures impact users and services.

Improve Capacity Planning & Utilization

Quickly model and allocate space for new servers, racks, IT, and facilities equipment. Manage relationships between IT equipment and critical facilities infrastructure in a few clicks with power and network connectivity diagrams.

Increase Data Center Energy Efficiency

Automatically collect data from Building feeds, IT loads, and non-IT loads for immediate calculation and trending of PUE across all your data centers to ensure corporate energy efficiency initiatives.

Improve People Productivity

Reservations, moves, adds, and changes are easily accomplished through fully integrated and automated workflow management. Process assurance, tracking, and audit trails dramatically increase employee productivity and morale.

Why invest in Data Center Infrastructure Management solutions?

Simplify Operations and Improve Productivity

Centralize your device data repository and leverage attribute tracking to ease the management of distributed locations. Reduce time to deploy and increase the accuracy of implementation with fully integrated software capability to generate projects, tasks, and work orders.

Optimize Data Centre Utilization and ROI

View 3D renderings to identify problem areas at all levels of the data center and across the enterprise (power, space, environment, IT networking, virtualization). Monitor and manage every aspect of your operation from utility entry down to your virtual machines.

Avoid Outages and Improve Uptime

Create real-time thermal imaging profiles of your environment using temperature, humidity, leak detection, door closure, and air pressure data. Set up customized reports and role-based dashboards, and leverage predictive analytics and automatic escalations for real-time remote monitoring and management.

Improve Data Centre Capacity Planning

Digitally deploy your projects using “what-if” scenarios to forecast and assure sufficient capacity for upcoming projects.

data center infrastructure management

What are the components of DCIM?

The components of DCIM surround the architecture and support IT functions and infrastructure. These components include the following:

  • Physical architecture. This includes floor space consideration for hardware components like servers, network switches, airflow, cooling systems, and PDUs.
  • Materials catalog. DCIM technologies contain libraries of material lists. For example, these could include basic specifications, servers, storage, networking equipment, or PDUs. These libraries are updated and maintained regularly by the vendors.
  • Capacity planning. Planning for future capacity includes estimating space, computer hardware, software, and connection infrastructure resources. DCIM software can construct models for future scenarios based on specified limitations.
  • Change management. DCIM must take hardware replacement into account to avoid risks like downtime or malfunctions. DCIM must also take process changes into account and can be used to maintain an audit trail of requests and work orders.
  • Software integration. DCIM software may also be able to integrate with existing management software to better track automated and integrated data center workflows.
  • Data analysis. DCIM software also collects real-time data, such as hardware metrics, which helps to mitigate outages or other incidents.

Challenges in Data Center Infrastructure Management

Data centers are tasked with collecting, storing, and processing large amounts of data along with backup and recovery and running business operations; for this reason, it’s essential to correctly monitor a data center environment, a complicated task. The task of managing data center infrastructure comes with a list of challenges.

Maintaining availability and uptime

Ensuring the availability and uptime of your infrastructure components is at the heart and soul of any DCIM solution. For a data center to experience infrastructure downtime is a revenue loss, and it should be quickly identified and acted upon to ensure maximum uptime.

Discovering assets and monitoring performance

Any new device waiting to be added to a network within your data center should be quickly discovered and accurately identified, and its relationship and interdependencies understood. An inventory of various components connected to your data center infrastructure should be maintained for easier asset tracking.

Monitoring the performance of the data center components is a crucial activity for any data center manager. The various parameters of your network devices such as availability, CPU utilization, disc utilization, memory consumption, etc. should be accurately monitored for enhanced DCIM services.

Protecting data against emerging threats

Data centers (such as colocation data centers) contain and manage the IT infrastructure of a large number of clients, making them viable targets for cyber attacks. To combat this, the DCIM solution should have a robust security system in place 24×7 or risk a breach.

Threats can also occur in the form of misconfigurations resulting from human error, attacks from rogue devices, unauthorized access to data center elements, etc.

Maintaining deployment efficiency

IT admins nowadays over-provision resources to avoid downtime, which can result in wasted resources and the under-utilization of infrastructure components. More importance should be given to capacity planning, which begins with identifying all the under-utilized or idle resources. By shutting down or diverting the load to these resources with the help of the DCIM tool, you can save on energy, cooling, and space occupied.

Data centers contain finite space, and to make the most out of it, a careful plan is needed to better provision resources for maximum utilization of floor space and rack density.

Creating and compiling advanced reports

As data centers gather enormous amounts of data daily, finding the relevant data from this data pile is a challenging task. This is where advanced reports such as forecast reports, capacity utilization reports, etc. come into play. You should be able to quickly create sophisticated yet accurate reports containing the exact information you are looking for. These reports play a crucial role in presenting data to upper management for forecast management and greatly assist in making business expansion measures.

Gaining in-depth visibility

One of the biggest challenges data centers face is addressing visibility blind spots. Availability and health are not the only aspects of an infrastructure component that demand visibility; changes such as device configurations, updates on scheduled downtime, notifications when your devices exceed their bandwidth allocation, etc. also translate as visibility, and to better manage your data center, it’s imperative that you are presented all this information on a single screen for easier understanding.

data center infrastructure management

Conclusion

Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) plays a critical role in managing and optimizing data center operations in the digital era. It comprises several key components, such as asset management, capacity planning, power and cooling management, environmental monitoring, and network management, which work together to ensure the smooth operation of a data center. Implementing DCIM can bring several benefits to an organization, such as increased efficiency, enhanced security, cost savings, and improved compliance. By understanding the importance of DCIM and its key components, organizations can ensure that their data center operations are reliable, secure, and optimized for maximum performance.

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