If you are among the data center managers who used first-generation physical infrastructure management tools but came away unimpressed, you owe it to yourself to take another look. Today’s data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools take a giant leap forward from their predecessors, enabling data center operators to identify and resolve issues with little human intervention, perform what-if scenarios and much more.
You can learn all about today’s offerings in the free Schneider Electric Energy University course, “How DCIM Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Costs.” The course explains how first-generation tools might provide a warning if a CRAC unit inlet temperature was too high, but you’d be on your own to figure out what to do about it.
DCIM tools, on the other hand, provide lots of correlation among power, cooling, racks and more to identify problems and help operators make more informed decisions. As the course makes clear, this kind of real-time awareness is especially important in highly virtualized data centers and cloud environments, where IT loads can switch in an instant from one physical server to another.
These more intelligent tools enable IT to inform lines of business of the consequences of their actions before provisioning decisions are made. Maybe a new server deployment will result in higher data center energy consumption, resulting in increased carbon footprint and a carbon tax. The tools also enable charge backs for energy consumption and can alter decision-making by aligning energy usage to business outcomes.
Through a graphical user interface, companies can use DCIM tools to illustrate the current physical state of the data center and simulate the effect of any moves, adds or changes. For example, you can predict the impact of a new physical server on power and cooling distribution and easily find the best place to install a new server from a power and cooling perspective.
DCIM tools will also alert you to situations that may lead to failures down the road. The course gives an example of a large manufacturing firm that consolidated its most critical business applications to a cluster of virtualized servers. The company used the failover mechanism of their virtualization platform to protect themselves against hardware failure. But the company failed to recognize that each of the servers was dependent on the same UPS. Should that UPS fail, none of the servers connected to it would be able to migrate the affected loads.
DCIM tools also drive efficiencies in areas such as energy use. Here again, this plays into highly virtualized environments, as DCIM allows companies to automatically shift virtual machines and workloads to different physical hosts when user-defined power thresholds are reached. That enables companies to consolidate VMs from two racks to one at night when demand is low, for example, and turn off power to the dormant rack to save energy.
With the challenges of higher-density computing, dynamic workloads, and the need for more efficient energy consumption, you need software that allows you to more effectively plan while operating at lower cost and with greater efficiency. Check out the free course, “How DCIM Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Costs,” to learn what this new generation of management software can do for you. You’ll find it in the College of Data Centers at Energy University.