We should always be evaluating the tools we use and their effectiveness in our environment, as well as maintain an understanding of new tools that become available on the market and their capabilities. The data center continues to evolve as a lifeline for any corporation and is a very costly enterprise which is even more reason that companies should be looking for ways to make their data centers and associated processes more efficient.
When Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools came on the market, they were a way of keeping information in a repository for facility related infrastructure (power, cooling and space) and then in time added 3-phase power, networking, workflow and reporting capabilities. These tools have evolved to also include workflow, enhanced reporting, productivity metrics, and real time power monitoring, which in turn have brought the IT and facilities organizations closer together over the past few years. Most of the tools on the market attempt to do too much and only do a handful of tasks well; very few are used to their full capability.
To that end you should evaluate what you seek to accomplish when purchasing a DCIM solution and have a clear understanding of what it is going to take to implement and maintain it. The cost of implementation could be up to 30% to 50% of the original software purchase price and to implement and maintain a tool of this type can sometimes take months. None of it will work without fully understanding what your goals are and ensuring you have the process and resources to support it long term. Without a good inventory process that ensures your inventory is updated and accurate these tools will have minimal impact. For most implementations the lack of a solid inventory and strong process in place are reasons why these tools fail in the workplace. Many data center managers would love to create a virtual model of their environment before physically placing anything in them and in turn understand the impact on space, power and cooling but it’s not possible without having the asset inventory in place and a strong process to support this.
Now is a good time to ask yourself “are the tools I am using doing what I expected them to do?”
Are they saving me time, money or improving efficiencies and providing the ROI I had intended? Do you plan to refurbish or build a facility in the near future? Do you plan to move equipment between data centers in the future? These are great times to plan and justify the tools you are using or look for new alternatives of which there are a plethora out there that can satisfy your needs. The question is what are the right for me?
We would be happy to assist you with your evaluation and selection of the right tools for your situation. If you are interested in a free assessment please contact us.