Data Center Infrastructure Management: What You Need to Know

Stay Informed

Increasing efficiency in the data center can be a challenge, but it’s possible with facility-wide collaboration. Bring together the skills of your IT and operations personnel with an infrastructure management strategy that meets your facility’s needs well into the future. Learn how data center infrastructure management (DCIM) can benefit your facility and how to start implementing your strategy today.

What is data center infrastructure management?

DCIM is a relatively new term that encompasses a variety of IT and facility-based solutions used to optimize your data center. This business planning for operations and IT support can cover anything from servers and storage, to the facility’s heating and cooling systems, or even the square footage used. It is ever-evolving and can be customized to fit each business’ needs, often with the input of the IT and facility managers and their respective teams.

Implementing a DCIM solution can give insight into data center performance metrics such as power usage effectiveness (PUE), which is often used as an indicator of a data center’s efficiency. A high PUE indicates that the supporting infrastructure of a data center  such as its UPS, PDUs and cooling  is not performing to its potential and can be targeted for energy-efficiency improvements.

Why is it important?

The biggest advantage of a good DCIM is efficiency: cost, energy, space and equipment. It provides optimal control over your data center, helping you find redundancies, gaps, or other opportunities to downsize or upgrade. Best of all, your costs are easily managed. Equipment can be consolidated or even physically moved to take advantage of energy settings.

Data center assets change constantly. Estimates say 25 percent of your equipment or devices need to be replaced each year. A good DCIM system not only helps keep track of these changes, but also prevents downtime when a replacement needs to be made. The data provided can also be used to track trends and forecast future device or energy needs, leading to even more cost savings. Gartner reported that DCIMs reduce data center expenses by as much as 20 percent while extending device life by up to five years.

What do you need to know to get started?

If you’re considering a DCIM solution for your business (or looking to upgrade your current one), determine what your priorities are. Is IT management or facility optimization most important? Many businesses find it easier to address facility needs first. Professionals often recommend deploying your strategy in stages. Keep in mind that DCIM should not be a one-stop, set-it-and-forget-it implementation.

Before you get started, get input and buy-in from your IT and facility or operations management. Both teams will benefit from these solutions and provide valuable input on priorities. In addition to your current system needs, DCIM should take into account needs five to 10 years into the future. After all, you don’t want to risk over-planning or purchasing irrelevant (or soon-to-be-irrelevant) equipment.

Finally, be aware of any costs. To start, there will be costs for devices. You will also need to take into account any facility upgrades or retrofitting that may be required, equipment licenses and renewals, and mandatory personnel training.

A Long-Term Advantage

While it may involve a lot of upfront work, a DCIM solution can ultimately save your business time and money. Head off any small problems before they lead to downtime, repairs or other inconveniences. With IT and operations management working hand in hand, you can be assured that your equipment and facility are performing at their peak.

FREE WHITEPAPER: Energy-Efficient Data Centers