Data centre managers are under increasing pressure to support 3rd Platform technologies and IT projects, yet many are doing so with limited visibility and control over the critical facilities as well as the physical IT and connectivity equipment that supports these workloads.
Data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions have emerged as an essential tool to develop more efficient data centres. As the software-defined IT environment evolves, the underlying physical resource management has evolved to support it.
However, the DCIM solutions on the market today are varied in their approach to improving management of data centre resources. To help data centre managers, facility managers, and CIOs understand and evaluate the DCIM vendor landscape, International Data Corporation (IDC) has published a new report, “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Datacenter Infrastructure Management 2015 Vendor Assessment”, that evaluates 15 DCIM vendors, including ABB, CA Technologies, CommScope iTRACS, Cormant, Device42, Emerson NetworkPower, FieldView Solutions, FNT, Modius, Nlyte, Panduit, RF Code, Schneider Electric, Siemens, and Sunbird Software.
The vendors evaluated in the report approach DCIM from a number of angles: some are focused on addressing IT asset management and connectivity challenges in managing data centre resources, whereas others are more focused on the critical infrastructure and building controls. Some are software-only, others are highly oriented toward services. Selecting the most appropriate solution requires an honest assessment of internal skills and clear goals for the DCIM project.
Considering the increasingly distributed nature of data centre resources, with buildouts at the edge and equipment in both on-premise and co-located sites, IDC recommends that data centre managers consider the following in choosing a DCIM solution:
* Ability to integrate and interact with the many other management tools in the data centre. From disparate and legacy building management systems (BMS) to cloud-based IT service management (ITSM) solutions, the ability for the DCIM solution to either feed data into another management solution or serve as the aggregator for disparate sources of data will enhance the usefulness to the entire organisation.
* Scalability of the solution to encompass very large sets of data from many data centre types (on-premise, edge, and colocated). As the data centre evolves to become a distributed array of data centre resources, the ability of the solution to reach across physical borders and aggregate real-time data in a secure way will be a competitive differentiator.
* Investment in predictive analytics and automation technologies to enable the lights-out data centre. Monitoring capability is table stakes in DCIM, but running an agile and efficient data centre requires the ability to analyse large amounts of data to drive proactive decisions on management and maintenance of resources.
According to Jennifer Koppy, research director: Datacenter Management at IDC: “To date, the most successful DCIM vendors have been those that have worked closely with end user customers to ensure accurate and complete collection of data in the deployment phase. As DCIM deployments continue to mature, IDC expects that a competitive differentiator will be the DCIM providers’ ability to automate maintenance and management processes to support remote management and lights-out data centres.
“The goal of a data centre is to deliver IT service to end customers, and data centre managers are under increasing pressure to deliver this service quickly, wherever and whenever needed, without compromising uptime and reliability,” Koppy adds. “When implemented well and supported across the enterprise, DCIM can be a critical step in delivering data centre resources in a highly service-oriented way to customers.”