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on365 guide to DCIM

Overview

Today’s DCIM tools are designed to identify and resolve issues with a minimum amount of human intervention. By correlating power, cooling and space resources to individual servers, DCIM tools today can 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.

These more intelligent 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.

Newer planning software tools illustrate, through a graphical user interface, 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.

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 also 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 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

As a result this has led to the need for more intelligent and automated IT infrastructure management. DCIM is the superset of infrastructure monitoring tools which provide 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.DCIM includes management of the datacentre infrastructure layer (power, cooling and the physical space), the IT infrastructure layer (compute, storage and communications equipment) and the gap between the two layers.

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