In simple words, DCIM is a software solution that delivers the processes and tools required to manage a data center environment in a structured manner. The DCIM tool can be the focal point of your data center management. The DCIM initiative aims to provide administrators with a holistic view of data center performance in order to use energy, equipment, and floor space as efficiently as possible.
Data center infrastructure management began as a component of building information modeling (BIM) software, which is used by facilities managers to generate digital schematic diagrams. DCIM tools bring similar capabilities to data centers, allowing administrators to collect, store and analyze power and cooling-related data in real-time. Most equipment allows diagrams to be printed—a useful feature when maintenance is needed or data center administrators need to install new equipment.
DCIM tools can help administrators locate and identify the relationship between a building and its IT systems. Energy-monitoring sensors and auxiliary hardware can be installed at all points of the power infrastructure so that DCIM software can accurately collect and analyze power use effectiveness (PUE) and cooling system energy efficiency. Some organizations will combine DCIM with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to optimize airflow and system placement to further reduce cooling costs. This type of approach is called continuous modeling. Continuous modeling allows the administrator to see and measure the engineering cause and effect of a proposed IT or infrastructure change before any money is spent.
Let us know about the components of DCIM –
DCIM solutions are made up of several components. These support a variety of enterprise IT functions at the infrastructure level.
Physical architecture :
The floor space of a data center is planned according to :
- The dimensions of the equipment
- Airflow and cooling
- Human access
- Other geometric and physical factors
Here, DCIM technology helps you visualize and simulate the representation of server racks deployed in the data center, so you can determine if the physical space is satisfactory.
Rack design :
Typically, you’ll use standardized cabinets to install server and networking technologies in your data center. Understanding the specifics associated with rack design can help data center organizations to plan for capacity, space, cooling, and access for maintenance and troubleshooting.
DCIM can help optimize the selection and placement of server racks based on these factors.
Materials catalog :
DCIM technologies contain vast libraries of equipment material. The information ranges from basic parameter specifications to high-resolution renders. With new technologies introduced rapidly in the industry, these libraries are updated and maintained regularly in coordination with the vendors.
Change management :
Data center hardware must be replaced periodically, due to a few reasons :
- The inherently limited lifecycle of hardware
- A malfunction
- The need to upgrade to a better product
This change, however, can affect the performance of other integrated infrastructure technologies. DCIM allows a structured approach to managing such hardware changes, allowing IT to change or replace hardware by:
- Following predefined process workflows.
- Reducing the risks associated with the change.
Capacity planning :
The data center should be designed to scale in response to changing business needs. That means your capacity planning must account for :
- Space limitations
- Weight of equipment and racks
- Power supply
- Cooling performance
- A range of other physical limitations of the data center
The DCIM tool can model a variety of future/potential scenarios, planning future capacity based on these limitations.
Software integration :
DCIM solutions are integrated with existing management solutions that are designed to track and coordinate data center assets and workflows. Integrations can include :
- Protocols such as SNMP and Modbus
- Complex web integrations
Data analysis :
Real-time data collection and analysis is a critical feature of DCIM technologies. With a DCIM tool, you can :
- Track a variety of asset metrics.
- Transfer data between DCIM solutions using web-based APIs.
- Analyze data using advanced AI solutions.
Looking at the real-time performance of the metrics can help you mitigate incidents such as power failure, security infringements, and network outages—ahead of schedule.
Reporting & dashboard :
A good DCIM tool transforms vast volumes of metrics log data into intuitive dashboards and comprehensive reports. Automated actions can be triggered using the reporting information and studied for further analysis.
What are the benefits of DCIM What problems does it solve?
DCIM helps customers with four key pain points :
- Preventing downtime.
- Lack of remote monitoring and management.
- Managing equipment from multiple vendors.
- Dealing with a large number of sites with limited or no IT staff.
Next-generation DCIMs, in particular, can help with proactive incident management by enabling facility managers to gain insight into both the current and future state of their surroundings. For both local and distributed sites, they can get full visibility and real-time recommendations on how to proactively handle any incidents.
Schneider Electric’s EcoStructure IT specialist monitoring solution enables monitoring of critical physical infrastructure from multiple vendors. Therefore, facility managers get centralized monitoring of all network equipment, including any configuration changes, from anywhere in the world.
Eco structure IT Specialist also enables managers to optimize performance by comparing their infrastructure performance with peers around the world and receive data-driven recommendations on how to improve.
Another component of Schneider Electric’s next-generation DCIM solution, Eco structure IT Consultant, offers additional benefits, including capacity optimization. It helps managers decide where to place additional servers and other IT equipment in terms of optimum operational efficiency from a power and cooling standpoint.
EcoStruxure IT Consultant helps reduce downtime by analyzing data center infrastructure and using simulation to uncover areas that are suffering from redundancy or lack of capacity.