Every data center is unique and, regardless of similarities, needs to be treated as such. While looking at Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solutions to implement into your data center, data center managers will be looking at very different solutions depending on the needs of their particular data center. Before deciding on a DCIM solution, you have to know what you expect from your solution and how you expect your DCIM to work into your overall management solution – DCIM can’t be expected to manage your data center on its own.
Selecting a DCIM
When you look to choose a DCIM solution, it’s important to remember than these tools are about providing information. That said, before making your decision, ask yourself what kind of information you need to manage your data center. Knowing the answer to this question will allow you to create a profile against which you can measure the different solutions you’re analyzing.
When defining the information you need to manage your data center, start with your primary goals – things like increased availability, service level standards, increased efficiency and management reports. After that, decide what information you need to accomplish your higher level goals, questions like:
- What information do I need to measure availability?
- What information do I eed to measure compliance?
- What information do I need to measure efficiency?
- What information do I need to forecast our critical resource capacity?
- What information do I need to report to management?
Setting Your Requirements
As these questions help you define the scope of your DCIM requirements, it’ll help you narrow the focus of your search. For example, “real time monitoring” is a vague specification so you need to ask additional questions to do so. For example:
How Do We Define “Real Time”?
There’s a big difference between a system that measures data points once an hour versus one that measures thousands of data points every second. unless you know how you’re planning to use the data that you collect, you could very easily end up purchasing the wrong solution.
What Equipment Do You Want to Monitor?
This could be the question that has the biggest impact on your buying decision. Knowing what equipment you plan to monitor will help you and your DCIM vendors determine what solution will work best for you. If some of your equipment communicates with protocols that differ from the protocols that your other equipment uses you’ll need a solution that speaks both languages. Before you sit down with your vendors, make a list of equipment from which you’ll be collecting information to make sure that nothing is left out.
Make sure to ask these types of questions for each aspect of your DCIM to form a list of your requirements and then prioritize those requirements so that you can focus on the DCIM solutions that address your highest priority requirements.
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