Having had a few successful DCIM implementations under our belt now, a few lessons to share:
- Baseline your existing Data Center: document what systems and procedures are being followed today. For example, how do I keep track of my assets today?
- Map out your desired Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): mention desired state (wish list) and timeframe in which you can expect to implement the changes. For example: I would like to get real-time the PUE of all my Data Centers, starting 90 days from now.
- Why do I need DCIM? Will DCIM be able to keep track of all assets and maintain an up-to-date accurate asset register? Will DCIM be able to get the real-time PUE? This is what I could call “plugging the gaps”.
- Setting longer term objectives: Is there a corporate goal towards cost reduction? How can DCIM help to reduce annual capital and operating costs? Or, is there a corporate goal for Sustainability? Can DCIM help with less carbon emissions from my Data Center?
During the baseline exercise, review asset and space utilization in the data center as well as power consumption and costs. Also, review the utilization and performance of all equipment. Are there some servers which are heating up too fast? Are there some production servers which have less than 10% utilization?
As Data Centers form the core of a business function, DCIM software should be viewed as a business application that can contribute towards meeting your company’s business objectives.
- Has your company been spending too much money on power in maintaining its data centers? DCIM can help by accurately measuring power and cooling requirements and identifying ways to reduce power costs.
- Do you need to deliver higher SLAs to your customers at a lower price? By enabling proactive alerts and mapping inter-dependencies of all equipment, power and network maps of the entire Data Center, DCIM will be able to predict failures before they actually happen.
- Are you running out of space in your data centers? DCIM can provide you the tools to monitor and manage floor and rack space in a data center enabling you to take timely decisions when to invest in higher density racks.
Identify first the priorities and then implement the features of your DCIM solution in a phased manner. An attempt to implement all features at once will be a sure recipe for disaster, as many ERP implementations in the past have shown.
Keep in mind that DCIM introduces business process changes in the data center making it extremely important that you get the buy-in of all stakeholders at the outset. Since data centers form the heart of any business it is necessary to get management involved right from the start.
I would encourage Data Center practitioners to share what outcomes they would like to see from a successful DCIM implementation as well as get insight from customers who have actually deployed a DCIM Software.