Data Center

DCIM and the Prefab Data Center

Whilst visiting Schneider Electric’s European Technology Center recently, I met with Soeren Jensen, Vice President of Enterprise Software. There’s been a great deal of activity going on in the prefabricated data center space and I wanted to know if and how this is impacting on software and tools development.

Soeren told me that he felt that this has created a great way for his team to re-think the way management systems are written for prefabricated modules, whether they include IT in a full stack or are simply a power or cooling module. Soeren said that they’re looking for new ways to simplify the management systems and that for a long time, these have been built around separate power, cooling and IT management systems. Now, a new era is coming, a new way of thinking about how we build, design and enable our customers to interact with these modules.

Prefabrication brings a way of simplifying infrastructure and this applies to the approach to software as well as it enables a way of masking away complexity. This means abstracting away the details and elevating up the system level of understanding where vendors like Schneider Electric make choices on your behalf as to how to interact with these modules in terms of data presented back via management tools. All of the detail is still there if you wish to get it but instead of starting with a blank screen and having to consider all of the potential data points to measure and how to present them we give you an opening suggestion that we hope will make things quicker, easier and ultimately less expensive to get up and running. With software we can quickly describe the unique configuration of a module that still allows further access to any detailed aspect of the data being gathered.

I was then interested to know how this in turn will impact and affect DCIM deployments and usage. Soeren explained that the first question customers might well ask is “Do you even need DCIM?” Prefabricated systems are being built to be stand-alone easy to use modules, so perhaps you won’t even need DCIM if you’re simply choosing specific modules to deploy as you could simply decide to use their built-in management software.

However if you do have DCIM and these new prefabricated modules are part of a bigger infrastructure then Soeren believes this should be a plug and play aspect of your module. That is, your management system should automatically subscribe to the key data from any new module and populate this into your DCIM application without a lot of custom engineering, design or programming input.

This means that customers should be looking for management systems to be absorbed and integrated into DCIM and begin subscribing and delivering data automatically. So just as if you simply plug a new UPS in, there should be no difference from a management structure point of view. The big difference is that with a UPS you just have UPS information but with a gateway you have hundreds of data types and sources that again need to be captured and managed in a simplified manner.


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