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Datacentre Infrastructure Management or DCIM is one of the industry's hot topics but what eaxctly is it and why is it so important now?


Data Centre Infrastructure Management or DCIM is one of the industry’s hot topics but what exactly is it and why is it so important now?

Today’s datacentres are more complex, more interdependent and more critical than ever before. Datacentres have always used massive amounts of energy but predicted price rises of over 20% per annum combined with expanding infrastructure, rapid change, more focus on operations and in depth scrutiny of return against investment require IT managers to go beyond performance management of IT equipment to manage the entire datacentre infrastructure.

With intense budgetary pressure IT Managers must now do more with less, drive increased efficiency in the datacentre and provide meaningful and reliable information on performance and costs. IT and business executives have realised that hundreds of thousands in energy and operational costs can be saved by improved physical infrastructure planning, by minor system reconfiguration and by small process changes. Not only that but IT staff are now being challenged to convert datacentres from cost centres into producers of business value.

However, you cannot manage what you do not measure and you cannot save money until you understand where it is being spent. Legacy reporting systems, designed to support traditional datacentres, are no longer adequate for the new “agile” datacentres that need to be proactive rather than reactive managing constant capacity changes and dynamic loads. In addition, the first generation physical infrastructure management tools were limited in scope and involved considerable human intervention

This has led to the need for more intelligent and automated IT infrastructure management and this is what Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) delivers, providing visibility into the datacentre physical infrastructure within and across both the IT and facility domains enabling the datacentre team to effectively and efficiently operate this complex environment optimising datacentre resource utilisation, efficiency and availability.

By correlating power, cooling and space resources to individual servers, DCIM tools proactively inform IT management systems of potential physical infrastructure problems and how they might impact specific IT loads. Particularly in a highly virtualised and dynamic cloud environment, this real-time awareness of constantly changing power and cooling capacities is important for safe server placement.

DCIM tools also enable IT to inform the lines of business of the consequences of their actions before server provisioning decisions are made. Business decisions that result in higher energy consumption in the datacentre, for example, will impact carbon footprint and carbon tax. Charge backs for energy consumption are also possible with these new tools and can alter the way decisions are made by aligning energy usage to business outcomes.

Furthermore, through a graphical user interface DCIM tools graphically display a complete inventory of the datacentre's physical and logical assets. Effective DCIM provides not only full access, control and management of these devices in the physical infrastructure but also a true insight into how that equipment is being utilised, what capacity is available, where it’s residing and how much power is being used. This can also illustrate the current physical state of the datacentre and simulate the effect of future physical equipment adds, moves, and changes. This capability provides answers to some common planning questions

In summary, DCIM  provides IT Managers with full knowledge-driven control of their datacentre and gives the insight required to drive performance throughout it including datacentre assets and physical infrastructure. With effective DCIM implementation IT Managers can plan, monitor and execute datacentre management strategies which improve financial and operational performance through the most efficient use of power, cooling and space achieved by optimal placement of datacentre assets.

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