Oct 29, 2021
By Steven Brown
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is a good idea for any organization wanting visibility 24/7, insights, and automation into its critical infrastructure to minimize downtime, mitigate risks, and maximize efficiency. But which version of DCIM you should deploy depends on your IT environment and business requirements.
Traditional DCIM vs. Next-generation DCIM
Any organization running critical infrastructure should consider leveraging DCIM. At its most basic level, traditional DCIM delivers important data about infrastructure availability, airflow, power consumption, temperature, humidity, and security. If something is awry with any one of these critical indicators, unplanned downtime can occur. Depending on the size of your company, downtime can cause losses of thousands or millions of dollars, not to mention short- and long-term negative effects on customer experience.
Traditional DCIM provides users with an on-premises monitoring, planning, and modeling solution that helps administrators to manage changes, capacity, and assets while mitigating risks and avoiding any downtime, and sends alerts to a dashboard so administrators can troubleshoot a problem. The response is accelerated, but there is a limitation to this approach. Once the alert is issued, downtime may be unavoidable — it’s probably already happening. Still, having the ability to respond quickly is certainly a positive — and saves lots of money.
Next-generation DCIM performs the same basic functions as traditional DCIM. However the software can be hosted in the cloud instead of being deployed on-premises and solve some of the pain points experienced by traditional DCIM as noted in this recent blog. However, the differences don’t stop there.
Next-generation DCIM adds convenience by unlocking the power of the cloud, delivering functionality that isn’t available on-premises. For starters, it’s easier to deploy. It delivers seamless, automated firmware updates and security patching without interrupting operations. Security patches and software updates are critical because they enable high performance and help protect your environment from cyber attacks.
Next-generation DCIM also features a disaster recovery cluster, which is available by default through major cloud service providers like Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Another distinct advantage is that the cloud-based solution supports mobility, allowing data center and IT professionals to access data across all their IT sites anytime, anywhere, from any device however remote those might be. We live in a mobile world, after all, so this functionality is especially welcome for data center and IT professionals. Much like online banking, all you need is an internet connection to gain access to the cloud-based DCIM console.
The Intelligent Approach
Not only does next-generation DCIM offer enhanced visibility and benefits because it is a cloud-based solution, it also becomes more intelligent over time. This yields another robust set of benefits in managing both centralized and edge data centers.
Next-generation DCIM offers machine learning and real-time analytics. Schneider Electric’s solution, EcoStruxure™ IT, collects data and pools it with data from other organizations in an anonymized manner for benchmarking. This process improves performance and enables predictive maintenance. As such, it can prevent data center outages by flagging capacity shortfalls and other issues before they happen.
Next-generation DCIM is ideally suited not only for centralized data center environments, but also for edge deployments, which are essentially impossible to monitor unless you have remote visibility capabilities. It makes it easier for companies to extend their monitoring and management capacities as they add edge sites in distributed environments. While it requires software to be installed on-site, the software is super light, meaning it uses minimal compute resources because most of the processing happens in the cloud. Next-generation DCIM also has local storage, so if there is an outage, the system stores data and transmits it as soon as power is restored.
Over time, next-generation DCIM will add more functionality and its machine learning capabilities will improve as more machine data is collected, analyzed, and used to refine the software’s capability to drive recommendations and planning.
Explore Data Center Infrastructure Management Options
Which DCIM approach works better for you depends on your organization’s needs and goals. Data center and IT professionals are under pressure to meet business needs while also managing complexity. The right DCIM implementation lets you optimize data center operations, prevent unplanned downtime, and also free up staff. Learn more about your options by visiting our EcoStruxure IT site and access our new White Paper titled “Essential Guidance on DCIM for Edge Computing Infrastructure.”